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Key Findings

Domestic energy

  • Domestic energy consumption in the South West was 46,931 GWh with associated CO2 emissions of 12.6 million tonnes. The majority of this energy was for space heating and water heating.
  • The projected building of 280,000 new dwellings to Building Regulations 2002 would increase the annual CO2 emissions from housing stock by 7% (900,000 tonnes) in 2015.
  • The projected building of 280,000 new dwellings to current best practice would increase the annual CO2 emissions from housing stock by 4% (460,000 tonnes) in 2015.
  • The projected building of 280,000 new dwellings to Zero Emissions Development (ZED) standards would add no further CO2 emissions to the current levels.
  • Reducing the carbon intensity of grid electricity from 0.43kg CO2 / kWh to 0.36 kg CO2 / kWh by 2015 would reduce the annual CO2 emissions of existing housing stock by 2% (230,000 tonnes) even if consumption increased by 1% per year.
  • Significant energy efficiency improvements to existing housing stock could reduce CO2 emissions by 4.4 million tonnes (35%) by 2015.
  • A person leading a low-impact lifestyle in a ZED standard housing development would produce 3.2 tonnes of CO2 per year, compared with the UK average of 11.1 tonnes.

Renewable energy

  • The target of 15% electricity from renewables by 2015 will be a challenge for the South West, as it will require significant new plant.
  • The strategy of containing consumption growth greatly decreases the requirement for new renewable electricity plant. Maintaining current levels of consumption to 2015 reduces the potential plant required by 45%.
  • Different renewable technologies show varying strengths and weaknesses when measured against these criteria:
    • To reduce CO2 emissions
    • To provide most jobs (overall and within the region)
    • To meet the target at the lowest cost

Waste

  • Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) arisings in the South West in 2001 were 522 kg per person, projected to rise to 709kg per person by 2020 if there are no changes in management methods.
  • Commercial and Industrial waste arisings were 1030 kg per person, projected to rise to 1140 kg per person by 2020 if there are no changes in management methods.
  • Alternative waste management options such as recycling and composting can reduce the ecological footprint of MSW and C&I waste arisings, but much of this benefit may be offset by increases in arisings.
  • To bring the waste ecological footprint to within the per person earthshare would require a 56% reduction in arisings to 227 kg per person for MSW and 447 kg per person for C&I waste, combined with significant diversion of the waste currently going to landfill.

Transport

  • The transport ecological footprint of the South West could be reduced by 26% by halving air travel and reducing car travel by 25%.
  • If all cars operated at the best fuel efficiency currently available, while still travelling current distances, the transport ecological footprint of the South West would be reduced by 50% and CO2 emissions would be reduced from 1083 kg to 392 kg per person per year.
  • A sustainable level of transport could be achieved by reducing car and air travel by 25% and 50% respectively, and switching all vehicles to hydrogen fuel cells, powered by short crop rotation biomass.