Climate Action NOW !!

5 Steps to Negative Carbon

We’ve been investigating local energy usage, and the opportunity to remove carbon emissions completely, as soon as possible.

We believe it’s possible to completely remove carbon emissions from your home and workplace.  We think it can be done very quickly; potentially within 12 months.  It’s a bold statement, so please bear with us…

NB: This page makes several references to the Agile tariff by Octopus Energy.  We have no commercial relationship with Octopus (except that the Author is a customer).  We just think they have some interesting, innovative products.  If you know of anything comparable, PLEASE let us know.

  1. Step One – Switch to Green Electricity and Gas Suppliers to avoid Carbon Emissions
  2. Step Two – Install a Smart Meter to understand your energy usage patterns
  3. Step Three – Install Battery Storage to use cheap electricity
  4. Step Four – Install a Heat Pump to replace your Gas Boiler – No more Carbon Emissions
  5. Step Five – Install Solar Panels to make Free, Green Electricity

You may like to read our guide to CO2 emissions, and why they’re bad.

Step One - Use Green Energy Suppliers

Clean Energy

There are two types of energy supplier:

  • Clean, that deliver energy that is carbon-free, clean, efficient, and surprisingly…cheaper to make.
  • Dirty, such as that coming from fossil based energy such as coal, gas, oil, etc.

It’s imprtant to know which is which.

Simply by switching your energy supplier, you could save the emission of 5 Tonnes of CO2 per year.

There are lots Green Energy suppliers, but beware of  suppliers that make thier product sound green, but in fact it’s not as green as other products (Green Washing).

For many people, who rent their property (for example) this will be as far as they can go…..but it’s pretty far.

If you’ve done this, and adopted a Green Electricity tariff, and Carbon Offset Gas Tariff, you’re doing pretty well….better than most people, and you can be proud.

The following steps are for people and businesses with a little more autonomy about their energy and heating systems.

Step Two - Smart Meters

 Ask your energy supplier to install a Smart Meter as soon as possible, to replace your current meter, and get the benefits soon.   

You will get an In House Display , and a web portal to your account that you can login to, and download your usage information.

You can then use the information provided by the Smart Meter to help you plan the following steps.  Don’t hang around waiting – suppliers are behind the curve with installations, and you may have to wait a while to get your installation !!

Step Three - Store & Save

This is will save you money, and helps you to maximise your benefits from Step-4 and Step-5.

You may already know when you use most electricity, but your Smart Meter will confirm this.

You will see that the price is highest in the evening (with high demand and dirty electricity).

If you can charge your battery before 3pm, and use battery electricity between 3pm and 8pm, your electricy price will effectively fall below 10p/unit….possibly falling to around 7p/unit depending on how clever your battery management system is.  

If we can shift our electricity usage outside the evening high, we can reduce the reliance on dirty electricity, and do ourselves a favour, by not paying the peak price.

Step Four- Heating & Cooking

In the few buildings we have looked at, on an annual basis we use 3 x more energy heating our property, than is used to power electrical devices.  Most of this heating uses a dirty gas supply.

Here’s a handy calculator to figure out how much CO2 we create when heating our homes: 

Annual usage:

(you should be able to find your annual usage from yout energy supplier)

Obviously, it would be great to find a way to reduce our carbon footprint to zero.  The answer is the “Air Source Heat Pump’.  The big surprise is that the government will pay for it !!!

Government Grants and Incentives

The UK Govenment currently offers a financial payment to householders and businesses that replace their Fossil Heating system with a Renewable Energy System.

Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP)

An Air Source Heat Pump would replace (or, sometimes work with) our gas boiler. and hot water cylinder..

Step Five - Negative Carbon

Previous steps have reduced the carbon footprint of our building to zero, and liberated energy that we were consuming, so that other people can use it.

Solar Panels generate a substantial amount of electricity each year, with no trouble, and they will do it for 25+ years.

Our final step is to generate electricity for ourselves, and for others. 

Using Solar Panels, we can either:

  • Use the electricity ourselves, in real-time, for our building and services.
  • Charge our own Energy Storage System installed at Step-2, and use it later in the day, ourselves.
  • Export any surplus electricity to the National Grid, to support green-energy, and get paid for each kWh we export.

Using our self generated electricity, reduces the amount of electricity that we import ot our building, and therefore reduces our energy bills (remember that we’ve also stopped using gas, so we have no gas bill to pay).

The reduced energy bills  compensate for the installation cost for the Solar Panels, ESS, and ASHP, thus reducing the time to our Return on Investment.

Conclusion

We’ve seen how we can use existing technologies, products, and financial incentives to deliver a negative Carbon footprint with some well timed, and cooperating installations into our buildings:

  • Green Energy Tariffs for Electricity
  • Carbon Offset Tariffs for Gas
  • Energy Storage System to make use of spare electricity, and avoid using dirty electricity at peak times
  • Air Source Heat Pump to replace Gas boilers, using less energy
  • Solar Panels to displaces dirty electricity on the National Grid, reduce our costs, and reduce our Carbon Footprint below zero

Every installation will have its own specific attributes, around physical space, available finance, timescales, and so on.  Your installation will be unique, but aligned with a common-good.

We intend to publish a checklist, programme of work, suggested suppliers, etc.

If you would like to contribute to this pool of knowledge, please register, and fill in the comment box, below.

Remember, the first step, is to take the first step.