Heat Pump Metrics

The UK Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme (GOV.UK, 2020) may have had some success in that it motivated some home owners to think about how they would make energy improvements to their homes if they could find a suitable contractor and received a grant.   One of the measures included in the scheme was the installation of a heat pump, of either the ground or air source type. Within the scheme these devices were classified as low carbon heat measures, and were subject to additional requirements. One was that a “minimum level of insulation is recommended to ensure the proper design and operation of the relevant technology in line with relevant standards” and another that all “heat pump systems must have a minimum Seasonal Performance Factor (SPF) of 2.5.” Ofgem (2021) defines the SPF as “a measure of the operating performance of an electric heat pump heating system over a year. It is the ratio of the heat delivered to the total electrical energy supplied over the year.” Ofgem explain

Carbon Tax and Emissions Trading

                                                                                 Some of the issues surrounding carbon tax are introduced in a short factsheet from the International Transport Worker’s Federation (ITF, n.d.). Carbon taxes are described as a ‘market solution’ intended to reduce CO2 emissions by making it more expensive to produce them. An example of how this might work is that fossil fuel companies would be taxed on the basis of their emissions, and would then pass the cost on to their customers, resulting in reduced consumption of the goods and services the companies provide. The main argument advanced against carbon tax is that the poor would suffer most from price increases, for example in the cost of heating, while the behaviour of wealthier people might well be unaffected; the tax is thus considered regressive. A fairer way to reduce CO2 emissions would be through government actions such as a program of house insulation. The article concludes that despite the un

Footprints and Offsets

    The term carbon footprint can apply to a single event, such as a journey, but often refers to the greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced by an individual or organisation in a complete year, resulting from factors such as travel, diet, and the use of goods and energy. Carbon footprints can be estimated using a carbon calculator, and the resulting figure is typically given in equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e). Many online calculators will also suggest that the user buys carbon offsets based on the size of the carbon footprint calculated; for example, informed of an economy return flight from London to New York, one calculator stated that 1.8 t CO2 had been produced, and that this could be offset by a payment of £42 to “carbon offset projects in developing and newly industrialising countries”. Carbon offsets for the individual will be the main topic of this post. Emissions of greenhouse gas depend not only an individual’s lifestyle, but on geographical and temporal location,

Carbon Offset, Carbon Reduction

  Paying for carbon offsets is sometimes represented as an easy way for those with sufficient means to keep a clear conscience while maintaining a life style that produces high carbon emissions. This issue is discussed by Bourban and Broussois (2020) in their constructive criticism of the Effective Altruism movement and its search for the most effective ways to benefit others. The paper uses carbon offsets as an illustration of attitudes to individual responsibility. The authors cite a calculation showing that “an American’s annual emissions could be offset for a mere $300/year”, so that if “you earn enough money, you can donate some of it, without having to make any sacrifice, and get off the moral hook.” They also quote a suggestion that ‘rather than reducing your own greenhouse gas emissions, you pay for projects that reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere’. This use of carbon offsets is contrasted with the view that personal integrity requires action to reduce one’s o

Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage

    Introduction The need to limit the harmful effects of climate change is a powerful motive for preventing carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere, and for removing CO2 that is already there, but there can be subsidiary aims associated with carbon capture, and there are many methods of accomplishing it. According to a definition published in 2014, “Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) encompasses methods and technologies to remove CO2 from … flue gas and from the atmosphere, followed by recycling the CO2 for utilization and determining safe and permanent storage options” (RCN-CCUS, 2014a). A definition of carbon capture and storage (CCS) used by Torvanger (2020) “refers to a group of technologies that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from coal-fired or gas-fired power stations, or from process industries." The term sequestration is also used for the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere or from combustion gases, and permanent prevention of its ret