For our second Cabon Conversations session we looked at home energy.
Before the meeting group members had monitored their domestic energy usage. Some had experienced interesting surprises. One member, having closely scrutinised her gas and electricity meters, became aware of exactly how much energy different appliances use. She was able to see how much energy was consumed by a light left on overnight, or a wifi router, or a computer. She said it has made her much more conscientious about turning things off!
We also shared ideas about how to modify our homes to make them consume less energy. Air source heat pumps and replacing open fires with bio ethanol heaters were both mentioned as effective ways to reduce energy consumption. One important point that came up was about the tension between wanting to make changes to your home, but not wanting to undertake too much in case you moved house in the near future. It made me wonder whether people move house more often nowadays and whether this makes domestic carbon reduction plans harder to undertake. It would be interesting to know whether our more mobile society has made people less inclined to plan into the future and therefore less inclined to make their homes more energy efficient.
The main activity of the evening was a game about domestic energy where we had to simulate being a family/group of tenants trying to reduce their energy use over a five year period. I think it made everyone aware of the many things one can do to reduce domestic energy consumption, but also the importance of long-term planning to make sure all your actions are well co-ordinated.
Like last time, everyone left in an upbeat mood – ‘fun and thought-provoking’ was how one member described the evening, and another said it had been invaluable sharing ideas with people.