Wednesday 28 April 2010
I try to make my website useful as a resource for others by sharing my experience of installing and using different environmental measures. This week I went a bit further, I invited someone to come and see technology we had had installed in our house. I think this can be really important with environmental technologies that are not commonplace and where it's not possible to properly demonstrate them in a showroom. How do people decide whether to commit their hard-earned cash unless they can see something in action and understand what's involved?
There was a Government report a few years ago that referred to quite an important principle in take-up of any new technology, called 'I will if you will'. Basically when people see that others are taking up a new technology and that they seem happy with it then they are more likely to take it up too.
So those of you who have installed renewable technologies, water harvesting sytems used for toilet flushing, or mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, etc I would encourage you to share your experience. It's good to talk through the pros and cons based on your experience, you get to meet some nice people, and there may be things they've done that you want to find out more about.
If you share your experience with others then maybe we'll get more take up of green ideas and technologies - well, the good ones anyway.
Monday 19 April 2010
Tuesday 13 April 2010
Good Energy have made available a guide for householders on how and why they should improve the energy efficiency of their home. There's a useful chart too showing the relative contribution of different uses of energy in the home.
This is a really useful guide as it starts with the very important first steps, such as draught-proofing and insulation, giving information on costs and savings from doing this. These relatively cheap and effective steps can sometimes be missed in the excitement of generating your own heat and power, for this chapter alone the guide is worth downloading.
The chapters on saving gas and saving electricity are packed with useful information to help you choose energy efficient appliances and use them most effectively. The tables at the back giving running costs and electricity consumption for various appliances just the type of information you can't often get hold of easily.
If everyone made use of this guide it would make a big difference to energy use in our homes. Why not start now?
If you don't want to go it alone with the guide, why not contact me for help to green your home?
Tuesday 13 April 2010
The 21st Century Living Project has been launched http://21stcenturyliving.edenproject.com/
a major new report from Acona, Eden Project and Homebase.
The study tracked 100 households over a period of one year as they tried to reduce their environmental impact. They were audited at the beginning and at the end; given £500 to spend as they wished; a few starter goodies such as energy monitors, shower timers, etc; and an on-call project manager. Various other activities happened during the year, such as thermal imaging some of the houses and an interactive website.
A really good outcome was that people were willing to act and make significant changes, including spending their own money on top of what was given to them. People expected techno-fixes to these problems, but by the end they had changed their behaviour and found it easier than expected to save energy.
A difficulty they had was working their way through the information that’s out there – the claims and counter claims – people are desperate for clear authoritative information. That’s the main reason I set up Hawthorn Environmental Services Ltd, to help people through that.
Ah, but now another difficulty – people don't know what they are consuming in terms of gas, electric and water. They know the cost but that’s different to knowing how much is being used, as cost per unit varies over time. Again, this is a difficulty we have had with our own house case study.
To measure change we need to know where we’re starting from, so how do we know whether we are meeting Government targets?
However, to me the more important issue is that we effect change and make it happen, that we know how to reduce our energy and water consumption, and waste production.
Monday 12 April 2010
The insulating properties of straw bale are such that there is need for central heating. There is a wood burner for the coldest days and this has a flue going through one of bedrooms. With the open plan nature of the houses this should provide plenty of warmth in the depth of winter, such as we’ve had recently.