I have just spent a fascinating hour calculating my personal carbon footprint. I used the calculator provided by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) on its CarbonLimited website supporting its campaign for all of us to take responsibility for our personal carbon emissions and then find ways to reduce them. The website link is www.rsacarbonlimited.org , and I commend it (and the RSA) to everyone.
The Walkington family lives in an old and quite large listed building with original 150-year-old windows which leak heat when the shutters aren’t closed at night.
Worse, we have three children who pay lip service to environmental concern but never switch lights off or shut down their computers when not in use and believe baths are there to be filled to the brim. On the plus side, we don’t have a tumble dryer, my children either walk or bus to school, we walk to our local shops and I walk to the station. We have a very efficient condensing boiler, a fair amount of loft insulation though it probably needs to be upgraded, and I drive a little green diesel car when I am not walking or cycling.
Taking our actual gas and electricity bills, and assuming a personal annual car mileage of 9,000 miles and no family flights (we drove across Europe last year for our annual holiday, and I only made two short-haul business trips), I ended up with a carbon footprint of just under 10 tons – divide this by the 5 members of the Walkington household and it comes to under two tonnes per household member.
We can also point out that the house serves as my wife’s and my joint office so we are there with staff during the day which will add to the heating and lighting bill. But I am sure there is far more we can and should be doing to lessen our impact! I am going to audit myself once a year to assess progress.