Making Change in How We Live, Where We Live, in Light of Climate Change

Friday, 3 July 2015

Carbon Conversations - Energy at Home

We're into week 2 of Carbon Conversations and this week, workshop attendee, Robin Dru, gives his report on the session focused on Home Energy.

This week's session on Home Energy was fascinating, full of tips and new technologies. Over the course of the evening we:
  • discussed what is important to us in making a home comfortable, 
  • played a game based around reducing a family’s carbon emissions (oh yes we did!) 
  • and had the chance to learn from Susan, a green architect who has set out to reduce the carbon emissions of her home by 80%. 
We all left excited, with some practical tips and new ideas to implement in our own homes.
First off we thought about the important things to each of us in our own homes. This ranged from practical things like bike storage and south vs. north facing through to things like positive family/house dynamics.

The discussion hovered over the issue of how to get other house members on board with making changes. Several ideas were thrown up, like making things easy e.g. clear signs for what can be recycled, making things fun e.g. smart meters to monitor energy consumption and making things comfortable e.g. draught-proofing your house.

After this we moved into playing a game based around a family with a limited budget trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Whilst the game was perhaps a little one-dimensional, it helped to expose us to different ideas, divided into good housekeeping, weekend jobs, appliances and building jobs. A flavour of things mentioned: housekeeping changes like regularly defrosting your fridge and freezer and monitoring your monthly bills; weekend jobs like draught-stripping windows and doors and bigger changes like triple-glazing windows and various types of insulation.

How much energy do areas of your house lose?
Finally we had the pleasure of listening to Susan, an inspiring architect who has managed to reduce the carbon emissions of her family home by over 50% in 3 years for ~£25,000. Whilst obviously she has the advantage of construction being her bread and butter, she offered us some a couple of key tips: 1) the importance of awareness and monitoring and 2) the importance of comfort (and how the vast majority of times carbon reduction goes hand-in-hand with this).

We left excited and energised from the session, equipped with knowledge and greater understanding of energy consumption in the home. Right, now to find a smart meter!

For more comprehensive information on changes you can make, please visit the Energy Saving Trust.

If you'd like to find out more about the Carbon Conversations series of workshops, please contact us. We hope to run another series in the autumn.

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