Thursday, June 05, 2008

World Environment Day

If you're one of those who's not sure about climate change or not sure what to do next, have a look at this site, and be prepared to laugh. There's a drawback of course - you've got to sign up to do something first, but that's painless and they do offer advice on how to keep your pledge.
On the other hand, if you really want to see how much Carbon Dioxide your home and lifestyle is responsible for, there's a very handy and easy to use calculator here. Just make sure you've got your gas and electricity consumption figures handy before you start. Like all these things it's a rather blunt tool. For example, it doesn't allow the chance to say that one door has draught-proofing but the other doesn't. It suggests that I should install underfloor insulation, which might be a tad difficult in a house with a concrete floor. But at least it gives some idea of where I stand in relation to the national average and some sensible ideas on what to do next to lower my emissions. I have to confess that the biggest single contributor to my carbon footprint is visiting my daughter on the other side of the world and since I'm not going to give that up if I can help it, I'll just have to carry on with contributing to carbon offsetting programmes which sound as if they'll help. Not a cure, but a treatment which delays matters until the cure is implemented.
One of the things I'd really like is someone to work out and publish in an easily understood form, the relative costs in carbon and money of keeping a fairly elderly but still functional appliance or scrapping it and buying a new energy efficient one. It goes against the grain to scrap something that still works but if I could be absolutely sure that the carbon footprint of scrap and replace is really less than that of keep going till it drops then perhaps I'd do it.
I know that these calculations have been done on housing stock - demolition and disposal of the debris from our old housing stock followed by rebuilding with more energy efficient stock means that the new houses have to last over 50 years before they start saving carbon! That's something which I'll be factoring in to my considerations of planning applications in future.

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