Blog entries on CO2 footprint

Things I've done to reduce my CO2 footprint

Please let me know if I'm mistaken in doing these things.
  • Changed electricity supplier to one that uses 100% renewable energy. I chose Good Energy as my electricity supplier. I did a very rough calculation and I think I'm paying something under £5 / month more than I would have done with brown (fossil fuel) electricity.
  • After reading Heat I've given up flying. There's no way to fly without causing CO2 emissions.
  • Growing ivy on the walls of my house to give shade in summer and some insulation in winter. Thanks to my friend Emily who suggested this.
  • Sold my petrol powered car.
  • Using an 'organic box' scheme to deliver fruit, vegetables and fish.After reading Heat I've realized that a delivered organic box is the best way to obtain food. I've put in an order with Abel & Cole. My friend Andy Dolman recommended Riverford but being a contrarian I've ignored his wise advice. He'll be proved right of course. If you go with the right company the organic box idea has the following advantages over a supermarket in terms of climate change:
    • No air freight, meaning greatly reduced CO2 emissions
    • Mainly local produce reduces road travel
    • Supermarkets themselves waste a whole lot of energy on heating / cooling
  • Water softener to make gas boiler more efficient. Also would presumably help when moving to other sources of heat. Found out from a plumber that this is possible with my boiler.
  • Insulated loft.

Things I intend to do to reduce my CO2 footprint

Please let me know if these are bogus.


  • Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV). This seems to be the next step. The things is, I don't want to go around filling in all the draughty gaps before I've got HRV, otherwise the house will get really stuffy. I've had a quick look at the following HRV systems:
  • It seems a good idea to use Earth Cooling Pipes to pre-heat the air for the HRV.
  • At the moment I burn gas in my house for space heating and water heating. I'd like to stop this as it produces CO2. I've got a number of options:
    • Use electricity directly to heat the space and the water. This has a low initial cost, but high running costs. It may well cause more CO2 emissions, even though it's 'green' electricity. This is because of difficulty about where the greenness of electricity lies.
    • Use a ground source heat pump. This means that for every unit of electrical energy, I get 3 units of heat energy out. This has a high initial cost (~£12,000), but lower running costs.
    • People keep telling me that a solar water heater on the roof is a good idea.
    • Emily said do these things:
      • Do you have cavity wall insulation?
      • Do you have thick loft insulation?
      • Do you have draught proofing in the house?
    • I'm pretty sure I've got cavity wall insulation. I've got a room in my loft, but the sides could probably do with insulating a bit more. Draught proofing: I kind of don't want to make the house too stuffy. I need some sort of heat recovery system where fresh cold incoming air is heated by stale hot outgoing air.
    • Worcester do interesting heat pumps and solar water heating (combined) . Worcester say ok to use softened water for hot water, but not in the closed system. Ok to use with solar heating, not sure about groundsource.
    • Look at the PassivHaus standard.
    • Good Energy seem to think that the Shuco Solar Thermal panel is a good idea.
  • Insulating wall. Someone wrote:
    Internally ... if you have room, try glued-on 100mm Kingspan slabs ("seconds" are available at 20% of the normal price and thirds at 2-3%) then Carlite bonding plaster, painted as required. To hang shelves you'll need a more robust variant. Note the extreme risk of thermal bridging/condensation at masonry cross walls and follow the German advice in order to reduce it.
  • Hemp lime. http://www.lhoist.co.uk/tradical/hemp-lime.html#TRADCONS
  • Heatkeeper Radiator Insulation Pack
  • Have a look at the house using an infra-red camera.