Brisbane Carbon Challenge champion households

Are you interested in reducing your carbon emissions? Learn from Brisbane residents who aimed to halve their household carbon footprint in a year through the Brisbane Carbon Challenge.

Our inspiring champion households

Find out how a range of families, couples, single-person households and sharehouses have lowered their carbon emissions, all while having different lifestyles, budgets and dwelling types.

In 2021, the Brisbane Carbon Challenge supported 18 Brisbane households with tools and advice to reduce their carbon footprint. Overall, our champion households decreased their household emissions by 55% in 12 months.

The top carbon-reducing actions

The most impactful actions our champion households put in place to reduce their carbon emissions were:

Purchasing a 100% renewable energy plan (GreenPower)

Purchasing a GreenPower plan instantly reduces electricity emissions to zero and is something all households can do, even if you rent.

Reducing private vehicle use

Some opted for active travel (cycling, walking) while others rearranged their schedules to reduce the number of trips they took – and reducing their transport emissions was not the only benefit!

Composting food and garden waste

Whether they lived in an apartment or a house, the champion households found many ways to reduce the organic waste they sent to landfill.

To learn more ways to reduce your household carbon emissions, view our Brisbane Carbon Challenge carbon-reducing actions list.

What the champion households have achieved

Browse the case studies below to find solutions you can implement at home and learn tips from Brisbane residents with similar challenges to yours.

Families

The Braatvedt household

Original emissions: 10.3 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 2.3 tonnes
Total reduction: 78%

A family with a baby renting a townhouse in the inner Northern suburbs.
 
A busy working family, the Braatvedt’s were enthusiastic to adopt a low carbon lifestyle and share their story with others in their townhouse complex. They exceeded their target with a mix of one-off actions and new habits.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Replaced significant vehicle use with cycling.
– Switched to re-usable nappies.

The Morris household

Original emissions: 21.3 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 4.5 tonnes
Total reduction: 79%

A mum and two daughters living in their house in a house with a pool on a small acreage Brisbane’s North-west.
 
The Morris family had high vehicle and energy emissions. Heidi and her daughters successfully embraced positive shifts across energy, transport and waste to reduce their carbon footprint.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Reduced vehicle use (replaced with cycling and took fewer trips).
– Composted food and garden waste.

The Blumke household

Original emissions: 11.6 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 5.2 tonnes
Total reduction: 55%

A family with a 10-year old living in the their house in West Brisbane.
 
It didn’t come without challenges – needing to drive to school every day and having a pet that generates a lot of waste – but the Blumke family still found cost-effective ways to reduce their household emissions.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Replaced the use of one vehicle with cycling.
– Used a fan instead of the air conditioner.
– Recycled waste paper and cardboard.

The Boyd household

Original emissions: 11.3 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 5.5 tonnes
Total reduction: 52%

A family with three young children living in their house in North Brisbane.
 
With three children under five, the Boyd family is conscious their bills and carbon footprint will grow with their children. They looked for sustainable changes that aren’t time-consuming but can still have a significant impact.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Installed a solar power system and purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower) for the rest of their electricity use.
– Installed smart devices to help turn unused appliances off at the wall.
– Composted food and garden waste.

The Jackson household

Original emissions: 12.9 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 5.5 tonnes
Total reduction: 75%

A family with a toddler and a newborn living in their townhouse in North Brisbane.
 
As shift workers with two kids, Carly and Kent Jackson needed eco-friendly ideas compatible with their busy lifestyle. Willing to invest in home improvements that would save money down the track, not only did they reduce their household carbon footprint, but they also improved their family time and healthy habits along the way.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Significantly reduced vehicle use by purchasing an eBike for commuting.
– Replaced their electric hot water system with a heat pump system.

The Churton and McGarry household

Original emissions: 11.7 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 9.6 tonnes
Total reduction: 18%

A family with two young children living in their house in inner West Brisbane.
 
The Churton/McGarry family were already passionate about minimising waste so they turned their attention to reducing the household’s carbon emissions from home energy. After achieving a $12 electricity bill, they are now more conscious of their consumption and equipped for long-term emission reductions.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Installed a solar power system.
– Used a fan instead of the air conditioner.
– Reduced pool running time.

The Gittus household

Original emissions: 18 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 9.9 tonnes
Total reduction: 45%

A family with two teenagers renovating their 1970s home in West Brisbane.
 
Ian and Mandy have started their journey to make their recently bought house carbon neutral. They looked for the best ways to reduce household energy consumption and transport emissions by maximising the potential of Ian’s electric vehicle and a new solar power system.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Installed a solar power system.
Upgraded their electric vehicle and gained approval for a vehicle to grid energy system.
– Installed ceiling insulation.

The Hearne household

Original emissions: 7.7 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 6.2 tonnes
Total reduction: 20%

A family with a four-year-old and a teenager living in their house in West Brisbane.
 
The two working parents knew it would be challenging to find cost-effective solutions to reduce their carbon footprint, being already below Brisbane’s average. During their journey, the Hearnes learnt how to further reduce energy and waste in their household.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Used a fan instead of the air conditioner.
– Composted food and garden waste (achieved zero food waste).

The Lomas household

Original emissions: 7.6 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 3.5 tonnes
Total reduction: 54%

A couple living in their house in North Brisbane.

Greg and Jo Lomas already composted and recycled most of their waste. As a two-car household in the suburbs reducing transport proved a challenge, however, they focused on growing their interest in energy efficiency even further to lower their carbon footprint.  

Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Installed a ceiling fan to use instead of air conditioner.
– Reduced vehicle use (fewer trips).

The Grugeon household

Original emissions: 9 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 2.2 tonnes
Total reduction: 76%

A couple living in their townhouse in the inner Eastern suburbs.
 
Eco-conscious couple, James and Jo Grugeon, wanted to further walk the talk. Although they didn’t own a car, they still reduced their household transport emissions by using rideshare services less. They also found ‘set and forget’ actions to lower their energy emissions.

Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Reduced rideshare use (replaced with active and public transport).
– Reduced food waste.

The Debono household

Original emissions: 8.5 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 7.4 tonnes
Total reduction: 13%

A couple renting an apartment in South Brisbane.

Miriam Debono already had an eco-focused mindset and low waste emissions. Facing the challenges of being a renter and living in an apartment, she still found ways to achieve almost zero waste and reduce her transport emissions, and brought her husband along on the journey.

Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Reduced vehicle use (replaced with active and public transport).
– Used a fan instead of the air conditioner.
– Composted and reduced food waste.

The McAuliffe household

Original emissions: 14.2 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 4.9 tonnes
Total reduction: 66%

A couple living in their house in North Brisbane.
 
Recently returned from overseas, Karina and Brad McAuliffe were keen to make their newly purchased home as low-carbon as possible. They focused on a combination of building and appliance upgrades and shifts in their daily routines to reduce their energy, transport and waste emissions.

Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Switched to renewables by installing a solar power system and purchasing 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Reduced vehicle use (replaced with walking, public transport and increased working from home).
– Composted food waste.

The Wood household

Original emissions: 8.7 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 3.3 tonnes
Total reduction: 62%

A couple living in their house in East Brisbane.
 
Adam and Marina Wood highlight that a low-carbon lifestyle doesn’t need to sacrifice comfort. Swapping car use for public transport when socialising and installing solar at the same time as putting in a swimming pool were some ways they were able to enjoy and improve their lifestyle while still exceeding their reduction target!
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Switched to renewables by installing a solar power system and purchasing 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Upgraded their fridge and air conditioner to more efficient models.
– Reduced vehicle use (fewer trips).

The Hawken household

Original emissions: 3.6 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 0.6 tonnes
Total reduction: 83%

A single-person household living in her apartment in North Brisbane.
 
Eliza Hawken already identified as someone who was sustainable and had low emissions. Yet she was able to achieve close to a zero-carbon footprint by taking a series of small and achievable actions across transport, energy and waste, suited to apartment living and the long days working in her professional career.
 
Her most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Reduced rideshare and public transport use.
– Composted food waste by using a bokashi-style bin.

The Lorimer household

Original emissions: 5.3 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 1.9 tonnes
Total reduction: 63%

A single retiree living in her inner-city cottage.
 
At the start of the Challenge, Vicki Lorimer already had a solar power system and below-average carbon footprint. Jumping at the chance to learn from expert advice, informative webinars and one-on-one coaching, she adopted new low-carbon actions leading her to achieve zero energy emissions and close to no waste emissions.
 
Her most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Upgraded her solar power system.
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Composted food and garden waste.

The Sawers household

Original emissions: 9 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 6.6 tonnes
Total reduction: 28%

A single-person household living in his house in Brisbane’s Northern suburbs.
 
Most of David Sawers’ carbon footprint comes from transport emissions. Needing his car for work, he turned his attention to reducing his energy and waste emissions. Through behaviour change and one-off actions, he managed to decrease emissions in those two areas (energy and waste) by almost 90%.
 
His most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Composted food and garden waste and recycled waste paper and cardboard.
– Adopted eco-driving techniques.

The Ferris household

Original emissions: 13 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 4.1 tonnes
Total reduction: 68%

Students sharing a two-bedroom rented apartment in East Brisbane.
 
Laura Ferris and her housemate Finn thought it might be difficult to afford changes that would reduce their carbon footprint while studying and renting an apartment. They focused on actions that reduced their energy and transport usage (also saving on bills), and reduce their food waste.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Reduced vehicle use (replaced with cycling).
– Reduced and composted food waste.

The Shepherd household

Original emissions: 4.9 tonnes
Reduced emissions: 2.2 tonnes
Total reduction: 56%

Housemates sharing a rented apartment in East Brisbane.
 
Alexandra Shepherd already had lower than average emissions. Finding it difficult to encourage her flatmate to take low-carbon actions, she found budget and renter-friendly ‘set and forget’ solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.
 
Their most effective actions to reduce carbon emissions:
– Purchased 100% renewable energy (GreenPower).
– Upgraded their clothes dryer to a more efficient model and installed a low-flow showerhead.
– Reduced vehicle use (replaced with active travel and took fewer trips).

“The Brisbane Carbon Challenge helped us to strengthen our carbon awareness and how we can keep doing better. It’s also helped us to understand the difference that low emission appliances can make.”

Greg Lomas, champion household

Want to take the challenge and lower your carbon emissions? Start taking small steps today.

logo
Search page
logo
SHARE