Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Carbon Footprints

Dear all (mostly to the Lower Sixth this time!)

Todays lesson was the start of sustainability, and you discussed four different areas of our modern lives and how we could make them more sustainable. The lists you created are repeated here with a small amount of editing from me:

·         Ventilation to replace air conditioning - use natural systems rather than build electrical ones
·         People would rather stay on and play xbox rather than go outside, they also would close blinds and turns lights on so they can see the screen.
·         Energy efficient light bulbs
·         Solar panels on roofs, wind turbines in the garden etc
·         Triple glazing to keep in heat, also timing your heating
·         Recycling rain water to flush the toilet, have a water butt to capture water through the wet season for watering in the dry months
·         Taking shorter showers to reduce water use
·         Turn off appliances by the plug - don't leave things on standby
·         Grants for insulation for elderly or cheap insulation at B&Q for lofts

·         Unnecessary car journeys - try to combine the purpose of journeys and avoid making short trips by car
·         Inefficient vehicles - make use of schemes like the vehicle scrappage scheme
·         Empty buses/ trains - these could be made more user friendly, better routes, run on time and more affordable to low income households
·         Single passengers - start a car pooling scheme for work and schools
·         Stopping/starting at traffic lights
·         Flying - try to avoid unnecessary flights, ie domestic flights, take the train instead.

·         Putting computers on standby instead of leaving them on, turning them off at the end of the day
·         Automatic lights instead of leaving on all the time, install motion sensor lights in less frequently used buildings
·         Timers on heating systems - consider when people need heating and then try to conserve heat.
·         Solar panels on roofs.
·         Recycling paper other than wasting it.
·         Not using disposable pens - or use pens made of materials other than plastic.
·         Electrical equipment turned off if not in use.
·         Not automatic doors or escalators.
·         Insulation – cavity walls.
·         Eco bulbs.
Mobile phones -very efficient postal system
                                -carrier pigeons.
                                -yogurt pots with string.
Driving to things like cinema and other social/ entertainment activates
-          On green public transport
-          Trains.
-          Make more efficient and integrated

Use more traditional forms of entertainment such as board games and sport like cycling and cricket,
Bikes can be used to generate power to computers. The energy stored in a cookie can power a person for enough time to charge a laptop for 4 hours.

Use green energy to power homes so entertainment appliances are powered by green energy.
Solar, wind etc.
In reality, not many people are willing to give up what we currently see as a high standard of living, the idea of not being able to fly cheaply to Europe or beyond is contrary to our idea of a modern lifestyle. How many of us are willing to give up mobile phones, Ipods, laptops, education that uses these developments etc, and where would we be without google???

We aren't going to change our lifestyles that considerably over any short period of time, and there is of course one great big obstacle to any change, we don't yet have a suitable alternative for oil. Without this we cant make any of the more significant changes, but in the meantime we can look to alternative forms of energy like nuclear/wind/wave and tidal, and we can make changes on a small scale. The phrase to remember comes from Agenda 21 "Think Global, Act Local".

What does this mean? take small steps on a local level, and with enough people taking part we can make a significant impact. The first step towards doing this is to understand our own, individual impacts on the environment at a household level, and the last homework you have for this module it to look at your own houses and lifestyles, and calculate your carbon footprint.

You will need your parents help for this, but

My Household - 2.15 Tonnes
Appliances - 1.13 Tonnes
Travel - 1.95 Tonnes

So my total is 5.25 Tonnes per Year, for a three person household. I am fairly energy conscious, and this is how my results compare to the UK Average

And now how my house compares to other similar properties:

So I'm feeling pretty virtuous about now! How does your house compare? Use this link to do your own energy survey and calculate how much carbon your household emits.

Act on CO2

Make sure you select the household option, and bring in your results. You will need some help from your parents on the size engine of your cars, the amount you pay monthly for fuel and electricity, and you need to find the energy rating of the big appliances in your homes, this is normally displayed on a sticker on the side, if not google will have the answers!

Please try to complete this by Fridays lesson, and see what recommendations the website makes for improving your efficiency, are any of them realistic? For instance, by most carbon heavy appliance is my boiler which is over 10 years old, and i could replace it to save money and fuel, but there is a significant cost associated with it.

Any problems let me know, this took me 15 minutes, so with a little research at home yours shouldn't take you much longer!!

1 comment:

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