Issue 2 : October 2005  

Dear carbon based life forms! Life is sweet!

"Low carbon lifestyles are the sexiest, most fashionable, most 'now' thing there is." 
Neil Crofts – Authentic transformation: profit from authenticity

In this issue:

Read my latest letter to The Times
Uncover the benefits of speed coaching
Answer the question of when a low energy bulb is not a low energy bulb
Prepare for your latest emission mission
Check out the ten best petrol and ten best diesel cars

Humankind in a flat spin?

Sir, last week The Times filed a report entertainingly including the phrase "mankind in a tizzy about oil". If it's downstream climate mega-deaths we're facing – in our and our children's lifetimes – then a bit more of a 'tizz' from the media would surely be in order? Dave Hampton

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Did you get to complete mission #1 – green tariff ?  

(Mission 1 was to spend five minutes switching to a green tariff, and to invite a good friend to do so. Did you?? Do it now – so you don’t get left behind!)

Thanks for all your replies. "Yep, done that", or "hey, did that years ago" or "yep, did it, and got my Mum signed up too!" or "Dave – the site is brilliantly easy"

Please share with me any successes you have – every kilo of CO2 you save counts. Small is beautiful, and I'd love to hear about it from you. Here's one I've had already:

“Hi, you'll be pleased to know that, due to your influence, I've just offset this year's carbon emissions with Climate Care. Went for a fixed 15.5 tonne offset, at £100. Thanks!”
Investment fund manager, London.

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Speed coaching: carbon coaching the fast lane! 

I grabbed a coffee with the deputy CEO of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Michael Brown. In just three minutes I ran through all of Michael's principal (home) carbon dioxide tonnages, and what might happily be trimmed.

Michael, who drove a Mercedes A-class* from London to Ascot several days a week, was thrilled to hear about the Toyota Prius hybrid. (*The Mercedes diesel already had a good 'grams of CO2 per km' rating.) 

Now, less than three weeks since the coffee, Mike is the proud owner of that Prius car. No congestion charge. Lower tax bands. Higher mpg. Cleaner running. Says Michael:  

"Dave made it fun to save a tonne! I hadn't even heard of the Prius. One-on-one coaching made it real, and made it happen. I expect to save £500 a year and Dave tells me I'll trim off one tonne of CO2 each year too. But it's the message that the car sends to people that means most to me. It quietly says that I enjoy living a carbon-lite life."  

And all for the price of a cup of coffee! 

If you'd like a carbon coaching session of your own, drop me an email.

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When is a low energy bulb not a low energy bulb?

When it's a 'low voltage' spot damn spot! Don't be patronised. If you're having builders in and you're offered 'low voltage' lighting, you will most likely hear the 'low' (of low voltage) and think – yes please!

Daily, millions of these little low voltage spots are being installed. Sadly, low voltage doesn't equal low wattage, and it's the latter that clocks up CO2 emissions. A 50 watt low voltage halogen bulb uses the same amount of energy as a 50 watt mains bulb. Low wattage lighting is watt's cool! 

A room with 10 spots has a 'locked in for life' appetite of 500 watts per hour (at a cost of, say, £80 per year) when that room could be lit just as beautifully for a tenth of the cost! 

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YOUR special interest

One thing that's emerging is the awesome diversity of special interest among those of you choosing to sign up to this newsletter. 

I've heard from some amazing individuals, some of whom are into evolutionary consciousness: building hope and synergy across tremendous space. Other green-minded folk know they need switch to a green tariff etc, but haven't taken action yet (and yet assume that everyone else has!). Others switched a while back, and are now interested in the bigger picture – the impact of tens of thousands of people switching.
Some seem to enjoy the politics, and the rabble rousing, letters to the papers, etc. Others prefer the factual weblinks to sound technical data. 
But hopefully most of you enjoy bathing in the frailty of one simple person swimming around in the dark, trying to make sense of it all – me!!
In life 'stick to your purpose' always seems very good advice.  I am going to stand by my chosen simple subject:
• Practical action in the home - putting our houses in order - bringing it home.
• Local, practical, individual, personal... yes personal.

I think this focus on what we are doing at home may be enough to maintain an interest for each and every one of you.

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Emission mission # 2 – drive down your cost per mile

Save one tonne of  CO2. Carbon counts – think range per tankful. How low can you go? 
Many of us still need to drive – or feel we do. Do you know your car’s official figure for grams of CO2/km?

Find out here:
From your annual mileage you can roughly calculate the tonnes of CO2 that driving your car causes in a year. Say you average 12,500 miles (20,000km) and your car is 250gms CO2/km. That’s 5,000kg per year or five tonnes of CO2
Work out how you are going to shed one tonne:
• Use your car less. Is 10% less miles possible?
• Drive to maximise your mpg: 10% improvement is easy. 
• Check tyre pressures

Combined saving: one tonne of CO2 , which is worth £300 in petrol. 
To go further – you can either:
• Trade up/down to a different car, or
• Car share – it’s ‘people-miles-per-gallon’ that count

(Of course, you can also walk, cycle or use public transport.)

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Ten best diesels, and ten best petrol cars
The website mentioned in the last article also lists the ten best cars in terms of emissions:
Peugeot and Citroen – small and beautiful! The latest Citroen C2 (diesel) and the Peugeot 107 (petrol) both manage to scrape under 110 gms CO2/km – that's almost as good as the Toyota Prius!

But here’s the real whammy: the overall running cost per mile of these more economical cars can be massively lower than 'average' cars. With lower insurance, road tax, depreciation and service costs, you could easily save 20p per mile. So in the example above, you save three tonnes a year AND £2,500!
By the way, if you're concerned about the rights and wrongs of buying a new car, you're right. But the total energy used in making a car is a relatively small fraction of the energy the car burns over its lifecycle. 

If you ever have the privilege/responsibility of choosing a new car, chose well – carefully consider the carbon credentials. Even if you only plan to drive low mileage each year, it is still you who is choosing which car is manufactured, and which car will stay on the road until the end of its days. A small difference in gms CO2/km mounts up. Over a 250,000km lifecycle, a 40 gram improvement adds up to 10 tonnes – and thousands of pounds on fuel! 
So if you buy new, buy well.
Happy with (or stuck with) what you've got?

Don't despair. Official grams CO2/km figures can be misleading. What counts is the number of gallons you burn. See what improvement in mpg you can achieve by driving a bit slower when you can afford to give yourself more time.

It's amazing how good it feels to cruise in the slow lane sometimes, beating all previous fuel economy records (and avoiding speed points!).

Your car at 50mph may produce less CO2 than a shiny new hybrid at 70mph.
We get to hear about world record attempts for distance travelled on one litre of fuel. Wouldn’t it be more fun to have a top speed record – over a set distance – but powered by that same single litre of fuel. Over a ten mile track, the most efficient cars might average 80mph while any Lamborghinis, Range Rovers and Porsche Cayennes entered would have to limp along below 20mph if they wished to complete the course. At last the low carbon car gets there quicker!
Can you afford not to buy a hybrid?

The legendary Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic, and the original Honda Insight... The Prius is driven by some of Hollywood’s biggest names: Cruz, DiCaprio… you?! These are magic, and great in town – but not cheap. Having said that, they're exempt from congestion charge, and have other special perks!
Still want a big 4x4?

Well, there is one new hybrid 4x4 – the Lexus RX 400h. It does 35mpg. But I'm not really recommending it. Remember what they say about men with big cars. A prize offered for what they say about women, but for starters:

"How could someone so beautiful get out of something so ugly?!"

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Wishing you good green fun.
Don't worry be happy!

Dave Hampton
The Carbon Coach


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