Reducing Utility Bills
Q - We would like to reduce our carbon footprint but are uncertain on how to go about it. We use both electric for lighting and gas for heating and would like to know how to work out our CO2 emissions.
A - The average total CO2 emissions per household in UK is 9.5 tonnes per year and the world average is about 3.75 tonnes. Here's how to calculate your emissions.
Electricity. Look at your previous bills and add up the number of kWh you have used in the year (UK average 5,200). Multiply your figure by 0.43 to produce the kg CO2 emitted for the year and divide it by 1,000 for the number of tonnes. So if your total kWh is 5,000 the annual tonnage would be 5,000 x 0.43 ÷ 1,000 equals 2.15.
Gas. Carry out the same exercise for your annual gas usage to determine the total number of kWh your use (UK average 33,500). Multiply the figure by 0.19 and divide it by 1,000 to produce your total tonnage. If your usage is 25,000 kWh, your tonnage figure would be 4.75 tonnes.
So your total emissions for electricity and gas would be 6.90 tonnes but there are other indirect factors such as air flights and car fuel that would increase this figure towards the national average.
Energy Saving Advice
Q - We need some independent advice on energy saving. Every firm we approached so far seem too keen to sell their own products and we feel that their advice is based on their needs rather than ours. Is there such a thing as an independent energy consultant and where do we find one?
A - If you want independent advice on energy saving you may have to pay for it. Have a look in Yellow Pages under Energy Conservation Consultants - you should find what you want there. Alternatively, try Google.
Q - I understand that the rates for Landfill Tax have been increased. How much are they now and what are the types of materials affected by the increase?
A - There are two types of materials involved. ‘Inactive Waste' covers soil, stone, concrete, glass and plaster. ‘Other Taxable waste' includes timber, paint and other building materials excluding those defined as Inactive Waste'. The rates for ‘Inactive Waste' were increased on 1 April 2010 from £2 to £2.50 per tonne and is frozen until 2012. Other Taxable Waste' rose from £32 to £42 per tonne on the same date and will increase by £8 per year until 2014. To convert the volume of cubic metres to tonnage, multiply the volume by 1.9.
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