The term “carbon footprint” has grown in popularity in recent years. But what does it mean? Each individual contributes to global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases. A carbon footprint corresponds to the whole amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support a person’s lifestyle and activities.
Did you know that the average carbon footprint of a household is directly proportional to its income? Well, let’s work with averages for now. According to national and EU emission reduction targets, Ireland is performing below par. That’s why every person and home in Ireland has the duty to reduce their emissions. One of the easiest solutions is to install Solar PV panels and an energy storage battery from SolarShare.
Estimated Carbon Footprint – How it Affects Climate Change
By making assumptions for common sources of emissions of two people in a typical Irish detached home, such as services, transport and energy consumption we can estimate the annual average carbon footprint. A typical two-person detached household with two cars in Ireland could be adding as much as 15 tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually.
Transport and Commuting – Effect on Typical Irish Carbon Footprint
A car in Ireland emits 3 tons of carbon annually on average. Based on this data, two cars from a detached home would produce about 6 tons of carbon. According to an SEAI statistics report on energy use in Ireland, transport has been by far the largest source of energy demand in Ireland since the year 2000. About 40% of the nation’s energy-linked carbon dioxide emissions come from this sector. Demand for travel is responsible for these emissions, but fuel type and vehicle efficiency also play a major part.
The average annual mileage of a privately owned petrol car in Ireland is about 17,000 kilometres (10,500 miles). The amount of CO 2 a car emits per km depends on the age and type of vehicle. New cars emit about 20% less than the average car currently in use. (The average car on the road emits 153.0g/km, whereas a new car only emits roughly 121.4g/km). Older vehicles can emit much higher amounts. Based on the average annual mileage of 17,000km, a vehicle emitting 180g/km produces 3.06 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year.
Land transport accounts for almost half of the average carbon emissions produced by a typical two car Irish household. Cycling to work, sharing a lift or using public transport are some lifestyle changes that can have a significant impact on your carbon footprint.
However, car ownership in Ireland is high, therefore another long-term solution to reducing your carbon footprint is switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle. AFV (Alternatively Fuelled Vehicle), such as hybrid cars, emit around 40% less CO 2 than the average car on the market. By switching to an electric vehicle, the 6 tonnes of carbon emissions for an average two car Irish household can be reduced significantly. SolarShare also provide EV charging products, alongside Solar PV so request a quote today to help reduce your carbon footprint.
Home Energy Demand in Ireland – More Greenhouse Gas Emissions
According to the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU.ie), the average annual usage of electricity for an Irish household is 4,200 kWh. The grid carbon intensity is roughly 400g CO 2/kWh. This means that for every kWh produced on the Irish grid, around 400g of carbon is used and emitted into the atmosphere. Based on these figures, the average Irish household emits nearly 1.7 tonnes of carbon annually just on their electricity needs.
Home energy use in Ireland contributes to roughly 4 tonnes of carbon emissions annually per household, as stated in the table above. As well as electricity use, space heating is also a major factor in this figure. In Ireland the average household consumes 11,000kWh of gas per year. The CO2 generated by burning natural gas is roughly 185g/kWh. This means that by using fossil fuels such as gas for you home heating needs, that the typical family is contributing over 2 tonnes more carbon to the atmosphere annually. If you calculate and compare the greenhouse gas emissions measured in a typical Irish household, Ireland’s figures are generally much higher per capita than most other countries in Europe.
How Can you Start to Reduce your Annual CO 2 Emissions?
By installing solar PV panels and an energy storage battery, you can make an immediate environmental impact, because as soon as you’re generating your own clean electricity, you pull less electricity from Ireland’s grid which is still highly fossil fuel-dependent. Get connected to SolarShare and join the SolarShare Virtual Power Plant to start reducing the carbon footprint of your home.