Thursday, March 08, 2018

Carbon Loading at Wareham

This is not the first time I have attempted to get some handle on the amount of Carbon Loading created by the Wareham Forge - and my own personal life :
(7/7/2008) Carbon and the Forge
(12/4/2015) Carbon Loading

Please take it as a statement of principle that I consider *my* generation (end of Baby Boomer) has been mindfully negligent, self indulgent and irresponsible in terms of the impact of our collective lifestyles on the Environment. 
Although I have little alternative to the use of fossil fuels for my chosen profession as Artisan Blacksmith, I clearly know that I must pay some cost for doing so.

CARBON at Wareham

Forge Fuels:

Propane = 365 kg
Coal = 450 kg
Charcoal 135 kg

This is a typical amount for my year’s operations.
- Coal is bituminous coal, source is West Virginia. It is shipped via truck to Robb Martin’s in Floridale (near Kitchener/Waterloo) and I drive down to get it from there. Typically I purchase about every 18 months.
- Charcoal is ‘Maple Leaf’, which is maple, produced in Quebec. It is purchased at my local Home Hardware.
- Propane is purchased at my local Co-Op, loaded into my own 40 lb cylinders.

Gasoline :

Two vehicles :
1998 Honda Odyssey / 2 litre x 4 cylinder @ 14,500 km
2008 Jeep Grand Cheroke / 3.6 litre x 6 cylinder @ 16,900 km
Total Consumption ≠ 3000 litres

The total fuel consumption given above is honestly a bit of a WAG. I took the total dollar amount for the year and divided by 1.10 (as the rough ‘average’ cost per litre over last year).
- In 2017, there was a major trip out to northern Newfoundland. This amounted to over 6000 km on its own. This kind of distance only happens once every 2 - 4 years.
- With travel to the USA now eliminated, it is expected that consumption for 2018 will be sharply reduced.

Air Travel :

For the last decade, there have been several business related trips to Scotland. Roughly every second year. Last year the flight was Toronto to Edinburgh / Aberdeen to Toronto.
Total Air Distance = 10,700 km

Air travel is a huge greenhouse gas generator. These working trips have all relied on grants or travel costs supported by the hosting institution. There is no air travel expected in 2018. Hopes are strong for a return to Scotland in 2019 however.

Other Carbon Loading

Workshop Consumables:

Includes tools, sundry items, materials, research related 
Total consumables = $7300 *

I have no realistic way to assess the carbon impact of my purchase of things like raw materials (primarily steel) or durable goods (tools, books) or disposables (paint, sandpaper).


In the workshop, I have several major electric tools:
- Compressor - 2 HP / 220v
- MIG Welder - 220v
- Hydraulic Press - 2 1/2 HP / 220v
- Table Saw - 1 1/2 HP / 220v
At best any of these are operated for 'less than 50 hours' over any given year.

As mentioned above, the building at Wareham uses electric baseboards.
Only a small part of the workshop is heated (!), about 200 square feet, with temperature set at roughly 8 C.
The main residence is roughly 1800 square feet, on two levels. The construction is basically frame with exterior wood planking, with 6 inch Fiberglas in the walls. The second floor ceiling has been upgraded to 10 inch Fiberglas. The main heating is controlled by two separate set back thermostats. The lower (studio / entry / library is normally set at 12 C. The upstairs great room is set at 12 nighttime, 18 day time. Of course the wood stove used on most days increases that temperature past the electric setting.
In addition there is an electric water heater (admittedly now 30 years old), with extra thermal wrapping.
One big electric element is the well pump (easily the highest use after heating).
All the major appliances are electric.

Total Electric Consumption = 11,000 kwh

Note that in Ontario, almost all the electric generation comes from nuclear (60%) or hydro (30%), with natural gas supplying only 8% of the total.

Wood Heating :

My home, constructed in 1987, came equipped with electric baseboard heaters only. Living rurally, there is no natural gas available. I might be able to renovate for propane central heat, but the building would not easily accommodate this system, and the cost would be considerable.
I did install a air tight wood stove in the upstairs main living area, which easily cuts my yearly electric bill (seasonal heating aspect) by at least 50%.
I consume roughly 3/4 a standard bush cord (4 x 4 x 8) of hardwood each year to accomplish this.
Wood Consumption ≠ 1090 kg

'Administration' Costs:

Some fractional amount would apply to things like:
- Communications (internet & phone service)
- Bank service charges, mortgage
- Insurance (business / home / health)

I have no realistic way to calculate my small element of the operations of Bell Canada, my bank, or my insurance broker.  Some calculators place huge carbon loading on to things like mortgage payment amounts (??)

Personal Purchases:

Into late middle age, the number of personal purchases I make is extremely limited:
- Electronics are only replaced as they fail (as infrequently as possible!).
- Clothing as it wears out (mostly work clothes, typically second hand).
- I am almost legendary for ‘shopping at the dump’, the majority of household items are scrounged, second hand or self built.
- Food purchases may be an element here.
Typical monthly food expenditure is about $250 / $3000 yearly (and that is for two of us)
Total Personal Expenditures (all purposes) = $4700

One carbon footprint calculator placed my total amounts at consuming 35% ABOVE the average for other residents of Ontario. Others have suggested that my loading is considerably BELOW the average.

If any readers can suggest a useful - and realistically accurate - carbon footprint calculator - I would certainly appreciate a reference!

* 2017 figures used throughout

No comments:


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE