Sunday, 9 October 2011

Counting Up The Miles

Well  I failed in my attempts to improve my wine habits this weekend. Although I looked carefully at the bottle I still ended up with a plastic cork and I chose a German wine as there weren't any Fairtrade ones. But I'll keep trying to get better and I'm definitely thinking about it more now.

I've been on a lot of trains this weekend. Preston to York, York to Leeds and Leeds to Preston. I definitely enjoy going by train more than driving. It does take longer but you get to see much more of the countryside, I love riding through the dales in all its different weathers-rain, sun or snow!

Preston to York is about 80 miles by train. According to the East Coast Carbon Calculator I produce 7 kg of Co2 on a train from Preston to York whereas it would be 15kg in a car. York to Leeds by train is about 15 miles and Leeds to Preston is another 65 miles. In total, according to the East Coast website, my journey by train saved 16kg CO2 compared to going by car. This is apparently equivalent to 371 hours of TV or 296 hours of boiling a kettle.

I don't really know how they work that out. The car values will depend on how many people in a car per trip and the train will depend on how full it is. But as a rough estimate knowing that you're using almost half as much energy to travel feels quite good.

A really interesting book about calculating energy use is Sustainable Energy- Without the Hot Air by David MacKay. I'm only halfway through reading it but it's very good so far. It discusses different energy supplies available and whether sustainable energy can meet our demands without changing our lifestyles. Having not got to the end I don't know the answer yet, but the graphs, facts and figures are very clear and it's a well written book with lots to think about. I've got a copy but I've just discovered it is a free book online here which means it's available to read and download. The information in it is also free to use and the author encourages people to  share the information in this book. For more information on the book look here.

More on this when I finish reading it!

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