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  • Writer's pictureGraham Harris

Has my improved attic insulation actually reduced my carbon footprint? (A follow-up)

Last June I posted a blog about getting my attic insulation upgraded. You can read the full blog post here, but as a quick reminder, I upgraded from R30 to R62 in February 2019, and then created a model to predict my pre-upgrade gas consumption based on the weather.


My results from last summer suggested I’d seen a weather-corrected saving of around 4.5% of my natural gas consumption. Since then, I’ve been faithfully tracking my actual natural gas consumption and comparing it against my predicted results.


So, what have I found? Well, here’s the updated graph…



It’s the grey line you want to focus on. This is the cumulative sum of the difference between my predicted consumption and my actual consumption. You can see that at soon as the roof insulation was installed – halfway through the billing period 25 Jan to 28 Feb – the line dips down, meaning my actual consumption was less than it would normally have been.


What this shows is a total saving of 10.9 GJ over the last year. During the 12 months since my roof insulation was improved, I would previously have consumed 161.6 GJ of natural gas. However, I’ve actually only consumed 150.7 GJ. This is a 6.7% reduction that has not only has put money in my pocket, but has also resulted in me shaving 0.56 tonnes CO2e from my annual carbon footprint.


Simply put, this energy efficiency upgrade has made a measurable difference to my energy consumption and carbon emissions.


A more difficult task will be to decarbonize my heating system entirely. That’s something I’m planning on looking into this year, and I’ll share some thoughts on that in another blog post. In the meantime, any comments or questions are, as always, most welcome!

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4 Comments


Jeffrey Jones
Jeffrey Jones
Jul 14, 2021

Wow, this is such a great post


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Graham Harris
Graham Harris
Jul 14, 2021
Replying to

Thanks, Jeffrey, glad you enjoyed this. Although I knew this retrofit was going to make a difference, it's always good to see the data that proves it!

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Warren Brooke
Warren Brooke
Mar 05, 2020

I got my attic insulation upgraded under the Energy Efficiency Alberta program. It went from R15 to R64. The thing that has affected my savings calculation the most is that I got laid off after only a few months of having the new insulation and now I am home way more than I was during the baseline period. My "smart" thermostat senses that someone is home and sets the temperature to the "occupied" setting rather than the "unoccupied" setback.

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Graham Harris
Graham Harris
Jul 14, 2021
Replying to

Yes, untangling the influence of other parameters can be tricky - especially occupancy.

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