Sunday 28 September 2014

Graeme Green-er

Our Lass and I do try to be as environmentally and ecologically aware as possible. At least for a given value of 'possible'. We have moved into a well-insulated home which, although heated by oil, has an efficient condensing boiler. The house isn't too big for our needs, so we are using and heating as little room as necessary. The garden is large by the standards of what we had become used to when living in a city and, whilst we no longer put food out for birds (there's loads of natural and farmed habitat where they can find sustenance), we do try to leave a bit of the garden as a wild area. Actually, that's a big fib... most of the garden is wild!

Yours Truly caught on camera by a visiting Second Born
We are able to recycle the majority of our household waste: glass, paper, cardboard, tin and some plastic through a fortnightly collection; and garden waste, clothing and beverage cartons by taking them to the local recycling centre.

When it comes to what we eat, our rules are as local as possible, as sustainable as possible and then as organic as possible.

Food waste is kept to a minimum by planning meals, freezing bulk purchases and creative use of leftovers (I'm quite proud of my 'sad salad drawer' stir fry!).

But I have to admit that I have an Achilles' heel that drives roughshod through all our good environmental works. 'Drives' and 'roughshod' being rather apt. For about fifteen years, my transport of choice has been a succession of 4x4 vehicles, all rather useful for transporting all manner of what have you and excellent for wildlife watching. However, they're a bit heavy on the juice and, consequently, on the pocket. What to do, eh?

Sometimes, you just have to stand back and look at the numbers. Lives change, time moves on, the shifting sands of technological advances smother the unwary and one day you wake up and realise that there is a different way.

So, those numbers...

Old 4x4
With some careful driving, I manage about 34mpg from the truck (which equates to about £2500/year in fuel), but those carbon dioxide emissions contaminate both the atmosphere and my bank account (£285/year). And it's not the cheapest thing to insure, even in Orkney.

The gas guzzler just has to go, to be replaced with a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. Perhaps all the re-appraising that has occurred during the past year has made this decision a little easier.
Newer replacement
Hmmm, this looks a bit healthier all round. Reducing fuel costs by more than fifty per cent at a stroke. With emissions below 100g/km, there's no road tax to pay, and I also make a saving of £100 a year on insurance premiums. Winner!

But I may have to invest in a trailer, for those occasional trips to the recycling centre with fourteen large bags of dock leaves and assorted other garden detritus. All of which should provide plenty of comedic potential when my reversing skills come into play.


laligalover said...

Bearing in mind that these are only VERY rarely true.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Well, my real mpg is only 2 out on the Kia data. If I'm a similar percentage out on the newer car that will still be 72mpg, which is better than double my current figure. Worth the risk, I'd say.

The road tax and insurance savings are confirmed (until such time as the Chancellor chooses).

biobabbler said...

Well, I, for one, am VERY proud of you & yours for going down that road, as it were. I had a floor guy come to our house recently for an estimate re: carpeting, etc. and he pulled up in a little car.

Mind you, I live in the sticks. In the USA, in California, in 1849-er country, the former wild west, pretty much. People out here LOVE their HUGE trucks. LOVE. And this man works in construction, so had the perfect excuse to have a huge truck. And he did. But finally decided all those fuel costs were killing him, and mostly he'd drive to places to make estimates which you can do in virtually any car.

Anyhow, I was very proud of that total stranger. As I am of you. Congratulations on the future $$$ savings. Woo-hoo! Next stop, a push mower! =)

Sarah Walker said...

What is the replacement car uncle G? I hope still as stylish :P

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Good move, Graeme. I traded in my honker 11 years ago and never looked back. Basically, I'm cheap and saw that the fuel prices were only going to increase. But, if you'd like, you could call me green, rather than cheap... Although, the occasional need to haul large items around does pose a challenge. It's interesting to see how the numbers are named over there. "Extra Urban"? Maybe that's equivalent to the US "Highway MPG"?

Imperfect and Tense said...

bb, you have carpets?! Isn't that a fire risk? :o) I suppose I always assumed that you walked on the fragrant petals of a thousand dahlias.

Thank you for your kind thoughts. They help to numb the heartache of giving up 2.5 tonnes of steel...

Imperfect and Tense said...

Sarah, If I'm still finance-able, it'll be a Ford Fiesta. xx

Imperfect and Tense said...

Katie, I sincerely hope that no-one ever calls you cheap! Thrifty, perhaps, but never cheap :o)

These days, with the fuel tax in the UK, thrifty/green is almost the same meaning. Which, I guess, is one of the reasons for the tax, to modify folks' behaviour to be more environmentally aware. And to fill the Treasury coffers, but let's not go there.

I looked up what the mpg tests involve (and I feel a bit of a numpty that I never thought to do that before you suggested it):

How is the fuel consumption test conducted?
The test is outlined in Directive 93/116/EC as amended by Regulation (EC) 692/2008, and provides results that are more than representative of actual average on-road fuel consumption than previous tests. There are two parts: an urban and an extra-urban cycle. The cars tested have to be run-in and must have been driven for at least 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometres) before testing.
Urban Cycle
The urban test cycle is carried out in a laboratory at an ambient temperature of 20oC to 30oC on a rolling road from a cold start, i.e. the engine has not run for several hours. The cycle consists of a series of accelerations, steady speeds, decelerating and idling. Maximum speed is 31mph (50km/h), average speed 12mph (19km/h) and the distance covered is 2.5 miles (4km).
Extra-Urban Cycle
This cycle is conducted immediately following the urban cycle and consists of roughly half steady-speed driving and the remainder accelerations, decelerations, and some idling. Maximum speed is 75mph (120km/h), average speed is 39mph (63 km/h) and the distance covered is 4.3miles (7km).
Combined Fuel Consumption Figure
The combined figure presented is for the urban and extra-urban cycle together. It is therefore an average of the two parts of the test, weighted by the distances covered in each part.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Fiesta club even though I'm Petrol!!!!
Cpt. Sundial

Imperfect and Tense said...

Hi Colin, where you lead, I follow? But the only solar dial I have is the western horizon!