One change that can halve your household carbon footprint
Lowering your emissions with GreenPower
The average household in Brisbane emits 11.55 tonnes yearly from home energy, transport and waste. Brisbane City Council are working with champion households all over Brisbane to try and reduce their yearly household emissions by 50% as part of the Brisbane Carbon Challenge. While that may seem like a daunting task, you can achieve most of this with one simple action.
As you can see in the below diagram, transport and home energy are responsible for 95% of household carbon emissions from energy, transport and waste. While reducing household waste provides great environmental benefits, focusing on energy and/or transport will help improve household carbon emissions the greatest.
Investing in solar panels is the obvious choice to reduce home energy emissions as your home will be powered by renewable energy from the sun during the day, instead of relying on electricity from the grid which is still mostly generated from fossil fuels. If you also invest in a battery for storage, this will support your household to run on renewable energy all hours of the day. However, we understand that installing a solar system may not be possible for every Brisbane household for many reasons. These include the upfront costs, an unsuitable roof, too much shading, or the limitations of renting or living in an apartment block. Thankfully, you can still reduce the majority of your home energy carbon emissions by making the switch to GreenPower.
What is GreenPower?
GreenPower is a voluntary, government-accredited scheme that lets you replace your standard electricity consumption with certified renewable energy. As part of this scheme, your energy provider will ensure renewable energy equivalent to your household consumption is added to the electricity grid.
You can make the switch by simply calling up your energy provider and asking them to change your plan to a GreenPower product. While this usually costs a premium of 4 to 8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), you can choose what percentage of your energy consumption is renewable (10%, 20% or 100%), which can help reduce the costs.
As you may have guessed, switching to 100% GreenPower or zero-emissions renewable energy will eliminate any carbon emissions from your home energy consumption. For the average Brisbane household, this change would represent a reduction from 11.55 tonnes yearly to 6.55 tonnes, making the switch to 100% GreenPower one of the most significant carbon-reducing actions a household can take. All it takes is one phone call, so visit www.greenpower.gov.au to find a local provider and see if you can make the switch today.
Pro tip: some energy providers also offer carbon offset products, but this is different to GreenPower. Make sure you pay for a GreenPower product to ensure you are reducing your carbon emissions and increasing the demand and supply of renewable energy in Australia.
How Brisbane households are making the switch
Vicki Lorimer lives in Spring Hill and has taken the Brisbane Carbon Challenge so she knows that her household carbon emissions are 5.25 tonnes yearly. As a single-person household, Vicki’s footprint is much lower than the Brisbane average of 11.55 tonnes, but she still wants to do what she can to halve her household emissions to 2.63 tonnes. She’s working through an impressive plan with many carbon-reducing actions, and one of them is switching to GreenPower.
Vicki already uses solar power to help power her home during the day. However, she will also switch to GreenPower, entirely replacing her grid electricity consumption with renewable energy. This simple action will reduce Vicki’s household carbon emissions from 5.25 tonnes to 2.48 tonnes, exceeding her 50% reduction goal.
While GreenPower is a quick and effective carbon-reducing tactic, there are many other things you can do around your home to halve your household carbon emissions. Read our other posts on how families can lower their carbon footprint as well as budget-friendly tips on carbon-reducing around the home. Also, if you want a more comprehensive list of steps, the team at the Brisbane Carbon Challenge have compiled a full list of actions you can take to help you get there.
If you’d like to calculate your household carbon emissions and try to reduce them by 50%, take the Brisbane Carbon Challenge today.