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After this couple’s home was hit by wildfires, they vowed to pursue a zero-carbon lifestyle

After wildfires crept dangerously near their Wamboin property in 2020, Syd and Camille Goodman committed to changing their lifestyle.

Faced with the effects of climate change, they decided to drastically cut their carbon footprint.

“We felt a little helpless,” Sid said.

“We knew the problem was climate change, so we thought, ‘What can we really do to control it?'”

But Camille said trying to calculate the right amount of emissions they should produce actually led them to try a zero-carbon lifestyle.

“The more I looked into it, the more I realized there was no right amount,” she said.

“We just thought, ‘We have to aim for zero, to get as close to zero as possible.'”

Now they have installed solar panels on their property and are essentially living “off the grid” thanks to a rare source of recycled laptop batteries.

Syd says making solar cells from laptop batteries has been difficult, but it’s the most cost-effective method.(ABC News)

“[I] I had to buy old laptop batteries by the kilo, take them all apart, test every battery and clean out every bad cell,” he said.

“A laptop battery probably has 6 cells in it, and sometimes one cell fails and the rest are good, sometimes all are good.”

According to Syd, 800 laptop batteries effectively act as one large battery unit for the rooftop solar system.

“[It’s] 44 kWh, basically the same as three Tesla Powerwalls,” he said.

“This is definitely not the easiest way, but [it is] The cheapest way. “

The couple track their personal carbon footprint each year, but Sid says the biggest change in personal carbon footprint comes from switching to electric vehicles.

“I have always been environmentally conscious, but I never thought the environment was a problem. [long car trips] Absolutely,” Sid said.

Blue electric car charging in the garage.
The couple switched to electric vehicles as one of the first steps in reducing their carbon footprint.(ABC News)

In 2019, Sid said his carbon footprint was just over 10 tons, three-quarters of which came from his car.

“The next year we reduced that to 4.78 tons, reducing vehicle emissions to 1.8 tons,” he said.

“This year we have reduced to 2.26 tonnes, while vehicle emissions are 0.85 tonnes.”

“I did all the easy things”

Going carbon zero has presented some challenges for the couple, especially as they get closer to their goals.

They have succeeded in significantly reducing their carbon footprint over the past year, but they say they have done something fundamental that now makes it increasingly difficult to reduce emissions further.

A country house with solar panels on the roof.
Camille says going carbon-free has improved her quality of life.(ABC News)

“It’s hard because I’ve done all the easy things,” Camille said.

“We’ve got our cars done, we’ve got solar power here, we’ve made all our appliances electric, we don’t fly planes anymore, we’ve cut down on lamb and beef and dairy.”

Camille also started working in Wollongong, a few hours’ drive from Wanboing. This meant that the couple needed to quickly upgrade their newly purchased electric vehicle to one with a range that could travel longer distances.

But she said making costly changes in the short term improved their lives in the long run.

“This has not made our quality of life worse, it has definitely improved it,” she said.

When asked if she had any tips for others looking to cut emissions, Camille said the most important thing is simply to aim for something manageable.

“We do the best we can, but everyone is different in what they can do,” she said.

“Just do what you can.”

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-17/couple-uses-laptop-batteries-to-reduce-carbon-emissions/101414610 After this couple’s home was hit by wildfires, they vowed to pursue a zero-carbon lifestyle

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