Our gas is now 100% carbon neutral — Bulb Community

Our gas is now 100% carbon neutral

edited March 14 in About Bulb
Since 2016 we’ve supplied our members with 100% renewable electricity and 10% green gas. But we think we can, and should, do more.

We’re proud to say that from today we're offsetting the emissions from the 90% of our non-green gas by supporting renewable energy projects in the developing world.

Head to our blog to read more about how we’re making our gas 100% carbon neutral. If you have questions or comments, post below - we’d love to hear from you.

What is Carbon Offsetting?

Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognised way for companies to invest in carbon saving projects across the globe to balance out their own carbon footprint.

From now on, for every tonne of carbon that our non-green gas emits, we’ll buy an offset to match that.

Currently, there isn’t enough green gas available in the UK to provide our members with gas from 100% renewable sources. But with more people switching to green suppliers, we’ll continue to increase demand for renewable generation here in the UK. Carbon offsetting is a fast way to reduce our emissions and reach carbon neutrality, right now.

Where will we be offsetting carbon emissions?

We’ve been working with ClimateCare to select a portfolio of overseas projects to offset our emissions. With so many to choose from, it was a tricky decision.

We worked closely with our partner and then gave team Bulb all the information they needed about each portfolio to make an informed choice on which projects they wanted to support. After putting it to a vote, we decided to help fund projects including solar and wind farms in India, bio-digesters in China, protection of the Gola Rainforest in Sierra Leone and clean cooking stoves in Ghana and Kenya.

The projects have been given the green seal of approval by the Gold Standard, the Verified Carbon Standard, or the UNFCC’s Clean Development Mechanism. These schemes ensure that we’re funding additional support and not deflecting carbon emissions to another time or place.

Not only will these projects have a positive environmental impact but they’ll have social and health benefits too

How we’re going to track our carbon savings.

Now that we supply 100% renewable electricity and our gas is 100% carbon neutral, the average member stops 3.5 tonnes of carbon entering the atmosphere every year.

And if you’re wondering, we offset our carbon emissions at Bulb HQ too.

We’re so excited to share this news with you. We’d love to hear your thoughts on carbon offsetting.

Have you offsetted your carbon emissions before? If so, how?

Comments

  • Quick question, is Bulb the energy supplier for your offices at Second Home?

    Good to hear about the carbon offsetting though, until now it's been one of the things that Good Energy had over you regarding the supply of gas.
  • Yes! Second Home is supplied by Bulb :3

    We've since moved offices which we're currently unable to supply due to being tied into long term contracts. However, we're currently getting that changed and in the meantime we're offsetting our carbon emissions.

  • Hi, nice to see bulb energy providing feedback and information to customers.. I was interested to see that bulb are providing funding to projects in India and China. Seeing as both these countries have a GDP far in excess of the UK, and looking at how their GDP income is allocated; for example on Health, Defence, and Education. and indeed India has stated clearly it does not require funding from the UK, why are you providing funding , when the countries have enough funds to support these projects? Would it be better to allocate funds to reduce the prices of low income customers in the UK? I would be pleased to discover my payments were being used in this way; to assist those in the UK first. Kind regards.
  • edited March 15

    Yes! Second Home is supplied by Bulb :3

    We've since moved offices which we're currently unable to supply due to being tied into long term contracts. However, we're currently getting that changed and in the meantime we're offsetting our carbon emissions.

    Oooh, I didn't know the move had occurred. I presume that may go some way to explaining some of the slower support response times of late.
    How many plants have you managed to fill the new offices up with? Who's missing the felt boob ceiling? :tongue:

    I see there are some nice roof gardens: https://www.charlesfunke.com/project/roof-gardens/155-bishopsgate

    Alan4_ said:

    Would it be better to allocate funds to reduce the prices of low income customers in the UK?

    That wouldn't provide any benefit in terms of carbon offsetting.
  • I am very excited at this and the philosophy of Bulb in general. I have always been reluctant to offer referrals to family and friends knowing that I will receive a £50 discount. Both our family home and holiday let have been with Bulb for both gas and electricity for some time now. With this latest announcement I will now forward your today's email to all of my contacts, with a promise that every £50 I receive will be donated to an environmentally based charity.
  • @Schey49, out of interest, which environmental charity are you considering donating to?
  • I'm generally in favour of this development.

    I would like to make clear, that this has to be in addition to your 10% green gas commitment, not instead of.

    There are a variety of social and environmental benefits to offsetting, but ultimately you can't 'offset' 100% of everyone's carbon output in this way.

    Example: your clean cook stoves (mentioned in the blog) may burn less charcoal, which is good for bio diversity, and good for peoples health. but charcoal is basically carbon neutral, so I'm not sure how reducing its use can off set my carbon use.
  • Alan4_ said:

    Hi, nice to see bulb energy providing feedback and information to customers.. I was interested to see that bulb are providing funding to projects in India and China. Seeing as both these countries have a GDP far in excess of the UK, and looking at how their GDP income is allocated; for example on Health, Defence, and Education. and indeed India has stated clearly it does not require funding from the UK, why are you providing funding , when the countries have enough funds to support these projects? Would it be better to allocate funds to reduce the prices of low income customers in the UK? I would be pleased to discover my payments were being used in this way; to assist those in the UK first. Kind regards.

    Heya @Alan4_

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. We've written a help centre article to help answer some of these questions.

    We chose to work with ClimateCare who select projects that will have positive impacts. The carbon markets are governed by the Kyoto Protocol. It was decided back in 1997 that it would not be justifiable to put carbon reduction targets on smaller economies which is why these projects take place in the developing world.

    That's not to say we're not doing things here in the UK to help reduce emissions. Bulb have products for our members to both cut their carbon footprint and save money on their bills. These include: @mowcius We are currently 'camping out' in our new office. This means currently we have very few plants (other than @Will at Bulb 's plant fortress around his desk) but this will change shortly!

    @Schey49 that's so great to hear. Thanks for the feedback. We have just released a new referral dashboard on your Bulb account that makes sharing Bulb even easier!

    ben281 said:

    I would like to make clear, that this has to be in addition to your 10% green gas commitment, not instead of.

    Yep @ben281 you're absolutely right. Offsetting is in addition to the 10% green gas we already provided our members.

    We know that offsetting carbon is not the perfect solution and cannot stop climate change alone. However, there is simply not enough green gas available in the UK to provide our members with 100% green gas right now. Rather than doing nothing, offsetting provides a quick way for us to take action. We'll continue to look for solutions for increasing the amount of green gas we supply as well as helping out members to reduce their emissions.

  • It is great that Bulb's gas is now carbon-neutral. Your low percentage of renewable gas has always been why I've only given you 8-9/10, even though I get why biogas, etc., is difficult.

    I'll still hold out for 100% renewable sourced energy, however. Offsetting is good, but can only be a short-term fix, though a valuable one, as global economies shift.

    Personally, I'm looking at reducing gas reliance as the way forward.

    We live in a 140-year old property. Our gas-fueled condensing combi boiler failed at the end of January. For various complicated reasons it took 6 weeks to get it fixed, during which time we heated our rooms with hastily purchased, cheap electric fan heaters. I though our February bill would be through the roof. But it wasn't. In fact it was far lower than January's bill. To be fair, it was an exceptionally mild February, and we put up with limited hot water (though our shower is electric).

    That got me thinking about efficiency. Every time we wash our hands in the bathroom, it takes more than a minute for the hot water to reach the tap. Although we can adjust radiators in each room, the weather is unpredictable, and often we don't. And in terms of cost we've paid around £650 to fix the boiler (new RF receiver/thermostat, two different gas engineers, replacement pump and boiler service).

    So I'm seriously considering moving away from gas by the time our boiler gives up the ghost in 5-10 years time. We'll look at electric on-demand hot water in kitchen and bathroom first. Then try slim, smart, thermostatically controlled electric radiators (portable or static) in a couple of main rooms.

    Sure, gas is cheap in terms of cost to the pocket. But it costs the planet. And has high servicing costs.

    I reckon the days of gas central heating are numbered. Especially if renewable electricity continues to get cheaper.

    So, my question is: What can Bulb do, if you see that as beneficial, to promote the move away from gas? Especially in terms of providing information and price comparisons, offering advice and help, and links to competent authorities.

    Thanks,

    Ian.
  • So I'm seriously considering moving away from gas by the time our boiler gives up the ghost in 5-10 years time. We'll look at electric on-demand hot water in kitchen and bathroom first. Then try slim, smart, thermostatically controlled electric radiators (portable or static) in a couple of main rooms.

    I think you and I have very similar views here. I hope that my current gas boiler is the last one I ever have installed, and I'll be steering clear of gas appliances for cooking going forward too.

    Wet central heating is pretty inefficient at heating houses in the way that most people use them. Yes, zoning is a potential solution, but all those pipes and all that work and cost for installation (and potential for issues), it does seem easier to keep water to just the areas where it's required and run local electric heating instead.

    Ideally I think I'd go whole house forced ventilation with heat recovery as well, which does add complexity but it keeps energy use down (as the alternative is uncontrolled passive ventilation or a controlled positive pressure system).
  • Electric radiators aren't the future, heat pumps are. Underfloor heating with a heat pump would be the best solution.
  • Hello, this is a great move, but I don't understand how you pay for this? How is it financially sustainable for you? Can you clarify please?
  • Electric radiators aren't the future, heat pumps are. Underfloor heating with a heat pump would be the best solution.

    In new builds or buildings where significant renovation is taking place I would agree to an extent, but we have a massive housing stock in the UK that needs modenisation and heat pumps and underfloor heating often aren't a viable solution there.

    I for example live in a 4 up mid through terrace house. I will likely put underfloor heating in the basement when I get it converted, but for the rest of the house, even with the significant renovation taking place underfloor heating is not really an option.

    In a really well insulated house with MVHR, underfloor heating is also typically overkill.
    You shouldn't need heating of any kind for the majority of the year in a well designed house.
  • mowcius said:

    Electric radiators aren't the future, heat pumps are. Underfloor heating with a heat pump would be the best solution.

    In new builds or buildings where significant renovation is taking place I would agree to an extent, but we have a massive housing stock in the UK that needs modenisation and heat pumps and underfloor heating often aren't a viable solution there.

    I for example live in a 4 up mid through terrace house. I will likely put underfloor heating in the basement when I get it converted, but for the rest of the house, even with the significant renovation taking place underfloor heating is not really an option.

    In a really well insulated house with MVHR, underfloor heating is also typically overkill.
    You shouldn't need heating of any kind for the majority of the year in a well designed house.
    Heat pumps and replacing the radiators with larger ones is the next best thing for existing houses. Heat pumps have lower flow temps so larger surface areas such as underfloor heating are better.
  • edited March 23

    Heat pumps and replacing the radiators with larger ones is the next best thing for existing houses. Heat pumps have lower flow temps so larger surface areas such as underfloor heating are better.

    Heat pumps are good for houses with a large thermal mass (ideally everywhere, but a massive concrete underfloor heating slab also works well). Larger radiators does help, but that can be tricky depending on room layout and if your radiator is under a leaky window, however large it is, it might struggle doing anything much at a lower temperature.

    Ground source heat pumps are very expensive to install and often almost impossible due to land issues, and air source heat pumps can also be tricky to install (due to the large heat exchanger unit that has to be somewhere outside your house) and are far less effective at actually doing something (https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2013/03/25/time-to-stop-promoting-air-source-heat-pumps-and-ask-why-they-dont-work-in-the-uk).

    I'm not convinced that heat pumps can work in houses with our modern way of economic heating. With people moving to having smart thermostats and only heating when they're there (and need it - not during most of the night), it's just not something you can do with a heat pump. Without using some kind of higher temperature heat store (think wet solar and tanked hot water), the instantaneous heat output just isn't high enough.
  • edited March 23
    mowcius said:

    Heat pumps and replacing the radiators with larger ones is the next best thing for existing houses. Heat pumps have lower flow temps so larger surface areas such as underfloor heating are better.

    Heat pumps are good for houses with a large thermal mass (ideally everywhere, but a massive concrete underfloor heating slab also works well). Larger radiators does help, but that can be tricky depending on room layout and if your radiator is under a leaky window, however large it is, it might struggle doing anything much at a lower temperature.

    Ground source heat pumps are very expensive to install and often almost impossible due to land issues, and air source heat pumps can also be tricky to install (due to the large heat exchanger unit that has to be somewhere outside your house) and are far less effective at actually doing something (https://www.carboncommentary.com/blog/2013/03/25/time-to-stop-promoting-air-source-heat-pumps-and-ask-why-they-dont-work-in-the-uk).

    I'm not convinced that heat pumps can work in houses with our modern way of economic heating. With people moving to having smart thermostats and only heating when they're there (and need it - not during most of the night), it's just not something you can do with a heat pump. Without using some kind of higher temperature heat store (think wet solar and tanked hot water), the instantaneous heat output just isn't high enough.
    People only have smart thermostats to help save money on heating costs. If it saved you money to keep it on for longer periods, then people would do so. I don't know what your link is on about really? It's some lady from Orkney 6 years ago that struggled to pay the upfront cost, had an installer take almost a year to do it because he didn't know what he was on about and ended up mis-configuring the system. The running costs would be significantly higher with resistance heaters.

    The heat pump industry in the UK is relatively young, and six years ago it would be even worse. More experienced installers and cheaper costs come with a more mature industry, it's a similar story as to electric vehicles. It's true you will need a hot water tank for hot water, and you should combine them with better insulation. The better your insulation the smaller the radiators can be.

    Gas boilers have to go for the sake of dealing with climate change, and resistance heaters and boilers simply aren't up to the task at doing it in a cost efficient way, and you would get marked down for it on an EPC. This is why the Chancellor has recently banned gas heating from new houses from 2025, and promoted the use of heat pumps. Germany is ahead of us, with heat pump installations now overtaking gas boilers.
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