Reducing our energy footprint
Updated: Mar 22
Reducing our electricity consumption became something of an obsession, but reducing electricity consumption is only a quarter of the story. Looking at our footprint in detail will drive the quantum change that we’re looking for.
I first started recording our energy usage in 2006 when we lived in a 1 bed room flat in Sydney Australia, and have continued to this day where we now live in a 2 bed cottage in Prion, North Wales. We left Sydney in 2015 and spent a year 2016 living with my parents
At both properties hot water was heated by electric immersion heater, and we have used fully renewable tariffs. Currently with Bulb.
What this shows is that there was a general trend downwards whilst we were living in Sydney and since moving to Prion we have significantly reduced our consumption, to a level that I think we will plateau at which is under 2000kwh per year (energy bill of £70 standing charge and £250 per year electricity bill approx) This does also include running an electric hot bed for 24 hours for 2 months for germinating seeds for our business!
The difference between 2017 and 2018 was getting rid of Electric Storage Heaters.
The difference between 2018 and 2019 was getting 1.7kw Solar panel system.
In 2020 we have increased the quality of our lives by installing a thermal store (mains pressure hot showers) and central heating in our daughter’s bedroom and bathroom powered by a 1kw back boiler on a log burner and electric immersion including solar.
I think we’ve always known that we can save on our energy footprint by reducing the amount of driving we do, but it was only when I started recording our energy consumption in total that it really became evident:
In 2019 our total fossil fuel usage including our business was 28,990 kwh which included 450kg coal, 1375 litres of fuel and 76kg Gas. This was 15 times what our electricity usage was!! In 2020 our total fossil fuel usage was 20,757kwh - a reduction of over 8000kwh
This reduction was achieved through a 20% reduction in the amount of fuel we used, assisted by the pandemic lock down, but also by cutting coal usage to 50kg and gas usage to 56kg. Interestingly our fuel reduction for both our runabout car and our company van was the same.
I share this information, because I think making massive sacrifices at home on things such as heating when trying to drive energy usage down can all be undone with an additional trip into town in the car through lack of planning! It is important to look at our energy usage as a whole and to be mindful that everytime we get in our fossil fuel powered car that we are undoing the good work we do in growing trees, reducing electricity consumption etc. etc.!!
Can I pluck up the courage to invest in one of these? (from http://www.icenicycles.co.uk/)