Article for December Parish Magazine
How Good is Insulating your Loft?
If you’ve ever measured your carbon footprint you will know that keeping your home warm in winter makes up a large chunk of it. So pretty much anything you do to cut down on heating fuel will make a big difference to your contribution to climate change.
What is CO2e?
It is short for carbon dioxide equivalent which is the overall contribution to global warming of carbon dioxide plus all the other global warming gases emitted such as nitrous oxide and methane.
a) A banana is 80g CO2e and a return flight to Hong Kong is 3.4 tonnes CO2e.
b) The average footprint of a person in the UK is 10 to 15 tons of CO2e, and it is necessary we reduce this to 2 tons CO2e. Half of the 10tons is "private" i.e. 5 tons -- that we can control ourselves - petrol, heating, food etc, and half is "public" e.g. shops, schools, road building, and needs laws to help reduce these.
Here are the numbers:
350 kg *CO2e outlay for a three-bedroom house
Minus 35 tonnes CO2e over 40 years
The energy used to produce the insulation material will be paid back by the energy you save in less than 6 months saving a whopping 35 tonnes over the life of the insulation.
Money-wise, even if there were no grants to help pay for you to insulate, it would still be well worth doing financially, with a £500 investment paid back in 4 years. However, grants are available, through your energy-provider (just phone them up and ask them what they pay for). These make it also worthwhile financially to top-up insulation to the maximum recommended (270mm) and put in cavity wall insulation.
Insulation is a no-brainer. If you do one green thing this year, this is the one to do.
And as well as insulating your house, why not insulate yourself and your family so you can’t help but turn down that thermostat a degree or two? Thermal vests make great Christmas presents!
Data and inspiration from How Bad are Bananas? – The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee