In the UK about 30% of national energy use, and 28% of greenhouse emissions, come from domestic energy consumption (figures for 2000, see Mayer Hillman’s book).
Some people feel nothing can happen unless the government makes us reduce our emissions. Our experience is that because we waste so much energy without even realising it, the changes pay for themselves in the long run. They also mean that energy shortages and rising prices will affect you less. Here is a link to the RCAS website for a really useful article written especially for our draughty Victorian Redland houses. This also covers the issues around planning consent for solar panels because of conservation area status and listed buildings. The picture above is of panels on a house that is both listed and in a conservation area, so this need not be a barrier.
We have also made a list of the changes that various group members have made, some are small things and some involve investment: home energy changes.
The main thing we have found is that you have to become a bit more carbon literate or else it’s impossible to know which changes are making a worthwhile difference. We have been sharing information on how many kilowatt hours of gas, and electricity, our households are using, and how much this equates to in terms of CO2 emissions. This prompted us to set up our own local carbon group.
Here are two case stories, based on our experience, to give you an idea of what is high/low/medium in terms of household energy.