Living

How green am I – really?

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It was time for me to find out how big my carbon footprint really is – and in which areas I could improve.

How green am I – really?
Aurora Sustainability is hard at work making it easier for us to lower our carbon footprint. I took their carbon footprint quiz to see how well I fare on the sustainability scale. 

I became acquainted with the South African tech concept this spring, when they ran an interview with me about green living. Since then, I have been freelancing regularly for them about sustainability and interviewed inspiring people like Martin from New Movements and Anette from AWAN. As of today, we are also joining forces in my GreenHouse.

How green can you go?

I recently moved and have now spent almost two months in my new home. I was extra curious to see how green it (and I) are when it comes down to it!

The decoration is a work in progress, but it’s amazing what a difference a clean velvet couch and fresh wall colour can make.

I'm quite proud that I didn’t buy a single new item for my new house. The coffee table and the sofa, which everyone thinks are new, were in the attic living room of our old house, which we used far too rarely. In addition, it was recently cleaned by Nesodden's Polish magician, Lukasz, who with the help of environmentally friendly detergents, makes furniture and carpets look brand new.

Quiz time: The big test

Aurora Sustainability has received a completely new design in the past week and their test is intuitive and user-friendly. So, time to roll up my sleeves and be really honest with myself! Phew ...

One of the first things the test addresses is my average monthly power usage. It’s virtually impossible for me to answer since I have lived here for less than two months and only in the summer. I still haven’t needed to turn on a single electric heater (though I realise I will have to soon) except for the floor heating in the bathroom.

Fortunately, Aurora has a solution to this dilemma, and follows up with questions about how energy efficient my home is. Here I ticked " relatively efficient " (second best of four) since I obviously have a very conscious relationship with energy use. But don’t have a heat pump installed (yet) and have old windows that might need to be changed when I can afford it.

This sheltered green oasis needs a bathtub, right?

I love taking hot baths, but my new home doesn’t have a tub. I dream of finding a small, deep zinc tub for the terrace.

My boys usually shower only once a week, but the ten-year-old has recently become fond of showering one more time. He enjoys it so much that if I don’t pay attention he can go on forever. We all take hot showers (even though my healer tries to force me to start with cold ones). On the other hand, I don’t shower every day. There, I said it! When I work from home and only do yoga for exercise, I shower and wash my hair every other day. On the other days I’m stick to dry shampoo, a washcloth and soap.

Seasonal transportation and green investment

In the section on transport, my answers were a bit affected by the season we’re in as well as the pandemic. In the winter I do not bike and drive a little more, but only locally here in Nesodden. I very rarely drive to Oslo and mostly take the bus before my electric car. I’ve also taken the ferry (which recently became a hybrid!) less often than usual in recent months as I’m now only in town for meetings and socialising once a week. So far, I have been biking to the ferry and around town and have barely taken a bus since March.

When it comes to food, I probably I earned some points as I don’t eat meat and only eat fish a couple of times a week. On the other hand, my consumption of eggs and cheese (I looove cheese!) clearly took it down. I got a disappointing 13 out of 20 points in the diet section, even though I mostly eat plant-based food. Because of the fish, eggs and cheese I didn’t get the badge called " powered by plants". I wish they had asked me about buying local and organic produce and food waste as I do a pretty good job in those departments!

Giving out badges is a very cool addition, by the way. Who doesn't love a digital pat on the shoulder? 

Spinach and banana pancakes for brekkie and an overexcited me with biodynamic vegetables and my faithful ebike from Eltempo.

Strict but fair?

My result was 141.87 kilos of carbon per week. According to Aurora, my emissions should be down to 44.2 kilos per week, so according to this analysis I triple that! Of course, I know that I have potential for improvement and that no test can take every single factor into account.

I'm neither a saint nor an ascetic, but it's only natural that my environmental commitment permeates everything I do.

If I was to take the quiz again, I would put in my very low energy consumption this summer (the last two electricity bills have been down to 0 kroner!) or at least tick the “very efficient” box. After all, I'm the one who annoyingly turns off the lights in every unused room and have chosen to do without a tumble dryer.

Unfortunately, no test can be " foolproof " since we all want to show our best possible face to the world. Small changes can make quite big turnouts in a quiz, but that also goes for real life – when we take action for our planet! And it’s both interesting and effective to get an estimate of your own carbon emissions. In yer face...

I thought that the quiz could use a section on consumer spending – from clothes and interiors to electronic gadgets, as consumption is another key environmental theme. On the other hand, the quiz covers the other main categories – food, transport, travel and energy use – seriously and thoroughly. 

Aurora also has a section on green funds and investments, which is both cool and important. We definitely need to pay more attention to this!

Do you wonder how big your emissions are? I dare you to take the quiz at AuroraSustainability.com! You’ll find many great tips for lowering your climate footprint, regardless of its size.   

I'm excited to see your result. Will you beat me? Just remember – no cheating!

My result broken down into categories. For energy, I lost six points for not stating an average and ticking " relatively effective". It was cool to get badges for what I'm good at! Though the plant-based one is clearly reserved for vegans.

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