Monday, January 03, 2011

Power Use Report Card 2010

Before we get too far into 2011, I have some unfinished business from 2010 - disclosing what my power use, and therefore carbon footprint, was.

I used to disclose this every quarter but I didn't at the end of Q3 because I completely forgot! It strikes me though that it's not of too much interest to anyone but myself. So I think in future I'll keep it until the end of the year so that I don't bore you too much.

Gas Stats:

Total Usage This Year: 392 kW/h

Total Usage Last Year: 476 kW/h

Average Per Day: 1.07 kW/h

Average Yearly UK Household Gas Use: 19,000 kW/h

CO2 Emissions From My Gas Use This Year: 74.48 kg

CO2 Emissions From Gas Use Last Year: 90.44 kg

Difference in Emissions: -17.6%

I'm extremely pleased that I've managed to reduce my gas use by so much this year. I was aiming for 10%, in line with my 10:10 commitments, but I feared that two extremely cold winter spells would put paid to that. As you can see from the graph, my gas use has increased earlier than it normally does simply because I turned the heating on earlier than I normally do! I have managed to reduce it this past week, with my shifts coinciding with the thaw meaning that I could switch the heating off completely every second day.

Can I reduce this even further in 2011? As I'm always saying about the Scottish Government, you won't achieve anything unless you're ambitious and set targets that at first appear impossible. So I'm going to attempt another 10% cut in my gas use this year

Electricity Stats:

Total Usage This Year: 2,131 kW/h

Total Usage Last Year: 2,239 kW/h

Average Per Day: 5.84 kW/h

Average Yearly UK Household Electricity Use: 3700 kW/h

CO2 Emissions From My Electricity Use: 916.33 kg

CO2 Emissions From Electricity Use Last Year: 962.77 kg

Difference in Emissions: -4.8%

I'm not as pleased with my electricity consumption in 2010. Although it dropped from 2009, I didn't hit my 10% target.

The year started out well but then my power use started to follow my shift pattern. I didn't go away on holiday as I had done in 2009 so there was no big summer gain as all the electrics were turned off for the week. I also had plans to do things like switch the PC onto standby when I was watching the TV - that started off well but fell by the wayside after a few weeks.

So, getting ambitious again, I'm going to go for that elusive 10% this year. This may be a bit trickier - I've volunteered to do some "online" campaigning for the Scottish Greens in the run up to the elections in May so my power use may take a hit then. If it does, then I'll just have to make sacrifices at another time to offset the extra electricity used!

Car Use

Disclosing my car use is always quite painful to me. Once a week I take a 130 mile round trip to the wilds of Perthshire. In the car it takes 75 minutes. By public transport it takes 3 hours. So I take the car. It's used very rarely outside of that trip, but I'm aware that because of that one trip I use it more than some commuters who only go a couple of miles.

I also scrapped one car and bought a newer one towards the end of the year, so these are combined figures.

Petrol Used This Year: 614 litres

Petrol Used Last Year: 672 litres

Miles Travelled: 5,115

Average Miles Per Gallon: 39.82

CO2 Emissions From My Petrol Use This Year: 1,418kg

CO2 Emissions From My Petrol Use Last Year: 1,552kg

Difference In Emissions: -8.6%

Rail Use

Since I work on the railway, I don't include my emissions from my job - that would see them go through the roof, and they're outwith my control anyway! But without me there, other people would not be able to reduce their emissions by taking the train instead of their car, so I can sleep soundly at night!

What I will include, though, are the two train trips I took for leisure purposes - both to Glasgow. That's a total of 180 miles, or 8.82 kg of CO2

Unlike last year, when I took a ferry trip to Shetland, there were no other journeys taken. Which is quite sad now that I think about it!


Gas: 74.48 kg
Electricity: 916.33 kg
Car: 1,418 kg
Rail: 8.82 kg

Total CO2 use for This Year: 2,417 kg, or 2.41 tonnes.

Total CO2 use for Last Year: 2,721 kg or 2.72 tonnes.

Difference in Emissions: -11.17%

The average person in the UK directly produces 6 tonnes of CO2, and if we're ever going to get climate change under control then we need to get this down to 3 tonnes per person. Although I don't have any figures for food consumption above, my figures show that getting our emissions below that 3 tonnes per person figure can be done!

Figures for average UK energy use and CO2 figures are taken from the book How to Live a Low-carbon Life by Chris Goodall

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