Energy consumption at home typically accounts for between 15% and 20% of your personal carbon footprint. Three reduction actions can be baselined and verified in line with the CarbonActionNow! Standard to help you reduce your home energy consumption.

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1. Reduce your grid delivered residential electricity consumption

You  can approach this through many small day-to-day actions that reduce your consumption and emissions,  further actions which require a small investment but can pay back quickly, and larger investments that may have a longer payback time.

Day-to-day actions

  • Switch off lights when they are not needed
  • Take shorter showers
  • Adjusting your thermostat level by a degree or two where you have electrical heating or cooling
  • Drying clothes on a line rather than using a dryer

Small scale investment actions

  • Use LED bulbs in the light fitting that are most heavily used

Larger scale investment actions

  • Improve the insulation in your house
  • Install residential solar panels or other forms of renewable energy such as ground or air loop heat pumps, micro-hydro power (if you happen to live beside a stream)

Of course, every action you take to reduce your grid supplied electricity will also save you money, by reducing your annual bill. For larger investment actions, like solar panels or other renewable energy installations, local suppliers will be able to help you to make a decision based on the economic costs and benefits specific to your location.

The end result of whatever actions you take will be a direct reduction in your utility bill, and this will be the basis of baselining and verification.

See below for baseline and verification requirements.

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2. Reduce your residential gas consumption

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See below for baseline and verification requirements.

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3. Reduce your water consumption

Baseline requirements

Baseline requirements are largely common for the three actions described above. A baseline can be established by presenting utility bills (including meter readings) to establish your consumption over the last year. An extended period is required because, in most locations, monthly consumption will vary through the year (for example for air conditioning, space heating, or garden irrigation). If a ‘typical’ annual cycle can be established from the baseline data provided by the other members of your group, it may be possible to verify a baseline with a shorter time record (for example, in case you have recently moved to the area, or changed house within the area.)

For electricity and water, the carbon emissions attributable to your consumption will be determined with reference to the carbon emissions produced by your supplier (in kg of CO2 per kWh for electricity, or kg of CO2 per cubic meter of water for residential supply.) In many cases this information is immediately available from regulatory sources but, if this is not the case, an appropriate average value can be used for your state or location.

Verification requirements

After 12 months a reduction in overall consumption can be demonstrated by presenting a year-end meter reading. Again, it may be possible to verify a reduction over a shorter period, perhaps 6-months, if a reliable annual cycle can be defined from your group’s input data. Naturally, if you demonstrated a reduction in the first half year which was negated in the second half you would not receive any overall reduction credit!