How low can you go? 3


I get my food from local, seasonal suppliers (including my own allotment).

I don’t eat a lot of meat, and I often eat food raw.

As for transport, I’ve got an electric car but usually cycle or take the bus.

(I work at home so don’t travel that much anyway – just as well because it’s hard to live the 2,000W life if you drive or fly much, or even at all).

So, home: a leaky Victorian terraced house in north London.

Hoping to make savings here I recently got my hands on several eco books.

These have much to say about the various ways we can save energy, including the suggestion that we install composting loos to save all the pumping and purification (to drinking standard) of water, that we simply flush away.

Thames Water, my own supplier, calculates a rate of 0.5763 watt-hours per litre.

The typical person in Britain uses 160 litres a day.

But rather than install a composting loo just yet, I buy two interruptible flush kits from Interflush and fix them inside my cisterns.

From now on I can flush just exactly what I need to clear the pan – a tiny bit, a bit more, or the whole lot.

(I never flush after wee, except if we’ve got visitors. Too much information!)

As for the heating: I turn it off when I’m on my own.

After all, the only thing that needs warmth is me, and I can always put on another jumper.

There’s statistics on the internet somewhere about how much energy you save every degree you lower the thermostat – but turning the whole thing off is a lot more effective than saving the odd degree.

To get to grips with my electrical needs, I recently acquired an Electrisave energy monitor and wandered around the house turning on lights and appliances to see how much they all used.

After a day or so I felt that I had got all I needed from it.

Now it was just another pointless gadget, I felt responsible for all the “embodied” energy that had gone into making it.

I decided the best thing to do was to give it away so that someone else could benefit.

Thus, I had discovered by myself the 2,000W Society motto, that “using, rather than owning”, is the way forward.

I didn’t really need the Electrisave anyway, because the electrical consumption (in watts) of any given item can be calculated by multiplying the volts by the amps.

(Sorry, have I lost you?)

The Carbon-Free Home recommends going through the entire house and making an inventory of every device, then recording every time you turn the appliance on and off.

You may be thinking, “Wow, that would take too much time!”

If that’s the case, you’re probably using way too many appliances, and your need for an energy diary is that much greater.

If the rest of your household refuse to participate, the Swiss advise, you can either try to note down their appliances or restrict the diary to yourself.

What a lot of domestic strife is concealed by that last sentence.