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jethro

A Greener Future

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This is the place to share info on how we can all live a greener life, what new technology is available, how cost effective it is? Do Solar panels and ground source heat pumps really work, how realistic is it to install them in your home?

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I have been making an effort to live more efficiently and ignoring the whole 'save the planet' thing, it's actually remarkably simple to be more efficient and save some cash.

All my lightbulbs are now the low wattage ones and I've put standby saver devices on my computers, tvs, stereo etc and that's saved about £10 a month.

I've also insulated the loft using a special deal npower did for insulation - it cost me £12, ok I had to do it myself but on my reckoning this winter it saved about £50 in heating bills at least.

Another thing I've done is buy an aerating shower head for £20 - it uses a third of the water and therefore (as we have a combi boiler) a third of the gas, there's no difference in the quality of the shower yet it's going to save about £50 a year in heating and water..

It's amazing what you can do without vast amounts of money or effort.

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Guest North Sea Snow Convection

I have been making an effort to live more efficiently and ignoring the whole 'save the planet' thing, it's actually remarkably simple to be more efficient and save some cash.

All my lightbulbs are now the low wattage ones and I've put standby saver devices on my computers, tvs, stereo etc and that's saved about £10 a month.

I've also insulated the loft using a special deal npower did for insulation - it cost me £12, ok I had to do it myself but on my reckoning this winter it saved about £50 in heating bills at least.

Another thing I've done is buy an aerating shower head for £20 - it uses a third of the water and therefore (as we have a combi boiler) a third of the gas, there's no difference in the quality of the shower yet it's going to save about £50 a year in heating and water..

It's amazing what you can do without vast amounts of money or effort.

A great example to followsmile.gif

I have changed all the lightbulbs and a taken a few other steps as well The self sufficiently thing in terms of using and recycling resources is the easiest thing to do - especially with the garden growing herbs, veg etc and using water butts in various ways to recyle water supplies.

However, I have problems with my loft roof, which leaks, and suffered very badly in the dreadful weather of last November and to a lesser extent again in early Spring. It is not the cold winter air that is the problem, it is rain driven gales and squalls from the south west that are the problem. The damp is the real longer term hazard for me and where the damages and resultant bills are ratcheting upwards.

I am frightened, in very lean times, by the costs involved to repair my roof - although I know I am going to have to do something about it!!

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Thanks Tamara - I have a similar quandary over a flat roof we have here, it's a lot of expense but how much is it costing the longer it's left!!

What amazes me is how much it's possible to waste in every day life, problem is that for me at least savings made are usually put towards things like holidays etc rather than slightly less interesting necessities like roofs.

The growing of veg and herbs is something else I'd like to get into, I'm frankly pants at all things gardening though, so it may be a long shot B)

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Thanks Tamara - I have a similar quandary over a flat roof we have here, it's a lot of expense but how much is it costing the longer it's left!!

What amazes me is how much it's possible to waste in every day life, problem is that for me at least savings made are usually put towards things like holidays etc rather than slightly less interesting necessities like roofs.

The growing of veg and herbs is something else I'd like to get into, I'm frankly pants at all things gardening though, so it may be a long shot B)

It's easy peasy Paul, plus there's loads of us around here who will willingly pass on info and help.

Get yourself a copy of Outdoor Life, a B&Q sponsored big gardening book (available from all good bookshops) it breaks everything gardening down into easy to follow info.

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:rolleyes:Can I tell you a little bit about our house.

Its a new build, we just finsihed it a few days ago.... lots of hardwork, money blood tears and sweat went into it, and Im now an expert in the art of taping filling and woodwork!

Our house isnt a normal house, it isnt made of blockwork and timber, like traditional kit built houses. It is made of something called beco. Its ploystyrene blocks that are built up like lego and then you fill it with concrete our home will outlive some castles.. Not only is it strong, and robust, it is also warm so very very warm. The stats from last winter. We are all electric, we do have a wood burning stive in now but we didnt have last winter, we have underfloor heating, a huge water tank to heat and all electric cooking. Our electricity bill for december January and Feb was £210..... thats it... we have economy ten tarriff and we use it as much as we can. Our house is so well insulated it most passively heats. Our designer had thought about every cold bridge in every corner. Throughout the house is low energy lightbulbs, we even have a small wind turbine whirling away in the background. Now we have a wood burning stove in place and that alones heats up the house till its toasty.. usually in about 20mins! The fu pipe is set against a concrete wall which acts as a huge storage radiator, so it gives off heat long after the fore is out. Underneath the floor is more kingsspan so the heat from the heating cannot escape any other way. The house is so well insulated that tween the two levels there is no noise either.. and we live in a very exposed, windswept part of the country...

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All the answers can be found in Permaculture; following natures example and working with it not against it.

Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies.

Permaculture is sustainable land use design. This is based on ecological and biological principles, often using patterns that occur in nature to maximise effect and minimise work. Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with its inhabitants. The ecological processes of plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic factors and weather cycles are all part of the picture. Inhabitants’ needs are provided for using proven technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure. Elements in a system are viewed in relationship to other elements, where the outputs of one element become the inputs of another. Within a Permaculture system, work is minimised, “wastes†become resources, productivity and yields increase, and environments are restored. Permaculture principles can be applied to any environment, at any scale from dense urban settlements to individual homes, from farms to entire regions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture

Martin Crawford´s FOREST GARDEN

Stockfree farming: Organically, Ethically and Sustainably.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=7455120&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=1&color=&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

A Food Forest Garden:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBShBeC1f-Q

Farming With Nature - Permaculture with Sepp Holzer:

Geoff Lawton's Permaculture Food Forest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWayqR9RRys

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http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/09/geothermal-energy-is-the-solution-for-the-future?cmpid=rss

I've always thought Geothermal a viable way of tapping into energy (without GHG issues)

Has the UK got many geothermal plants?

Ireland may have it's first one soon http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0923/electricity.html

Several of my neighbours from back in Tipperary use a form of geothermal heating in their homes aswell. Aparently it's cheaper than oil or gas heating but is very costly if anything goes wrong...

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I hope Ofgem are on the ball and we don't end up footing the entire bill for this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1317600/769-year-rise-power-bills-rewire-nation-green-energy.html

Classic Daily Mail, quoting mysterious 'industry analysts', (aka a couple of journos down the pub), for a possible £769 a year rise, then filling the whole of the rest of the article with Ofgem's response to the proposed £6 a year rise required for the already agreed 're-wiring of the Grid'. And to be honest, perhaps a massive rise in energy prices might encourage people to actually be a bit more careful how they use it. For most people, (old, very young and infirm of course excepted), there is absolutely no need to have your house at a steady 25C all year round, (whether it be through central heating or air conditioning), and proper insulation etc is actually a good idea

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I agree with lots of that but still hope someone is keeping a keen eye on these things, I for one will be more than a little miffed if energy companies have reaped enormous profits for years and we then end up paying for all this.

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I agree with lots of that but still hope someone is keeping a keen eye on these things, I for one will be more than a little miffed if energy companies have reaped enormous profits for years and we then end up paying for all this.

Absolutely, but isn't that considerably harder to ensure when energy supply is provided by the private sector ? After all, isn't their first duty (and I believe legal obligation) to provide maximum return for shareholders ?

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Stop reproducing madly - i.e. 1 child per one adult is just fine to sustain what we have. Ok, western countries have generally moved towards this naturally, but in the end population growth is the biggest problem the world faces.

There is only so much to go round and the more people we have on the planet, the more resources are used up. Not rocket science.

Problem is, to achieve this we need to reduce global poverty and educate everyone - no mean feat.

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we have now a new wind turbone... a Rutland one and new solar panels, which will be able to power some of our low energy stuff.

I need to find out what grants are available to plant sustainable woodland on the croft so that we can grow and coppice our own firewood.

Stop reproducing madly - i.e. 1 child per one adult is just fine to sustain what we have. Ok, western countries have generally moved towards this naturally, but in the end population growth is the biggest problem the world faces.

There is only so much to go round and the more people we have on the planet, the more resources are used up. Not rocket science.

Problem is, to achieve this we need to reduce global poverty and educate everyone - no mean feat.

lol SS... I have four children, two from a previous relationship and new born twins from this one.

I think it is more the imbalance of population growth that is the problem... here in the west we need the life expectancy to decrease, our birth rate has actually fallen (or is just steady), but our death rate has fallen at a greater rate. This issnt the case in developing countries of course, where death and birth rate are high. Though death rate is falling hence the increase in population.

I think much of the problem is the uneven distribution of resources, its a bit like money! Redistribute resources evenly and the problem wont be as much of a problem. However continue supply and demand and apply market forces and other finanical mechanisms, then it does become a problem.

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Yes, it's all very well saying "have less children", but the people who need to be having less children are mainly to be found in developing countries where birth rates are typically very high- in the more affluent parts of the world birth rates have declined leading to steady populations. It's not really applicable to us in the UK.

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Towards the whole 'Save The Planet' and 'Make us Greener', I do my bit.

Not because I believe in global warming, as I think it's another phase, like the M. Warm Period and the Ice Age and Little Ice Age, I would just like the world to be a bit cooler! cold.gif

I buy energy-saving light bulbs and solar panels, and I always make sure everything is off when not needed, so I'm happy with my current contribution. good.gif

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I admit that I haven't made any painful sacrifices, e.g. I eat out quite a lot, I eat meat almost daily, and while I don't drive and don't plan on having children, in both cases it isn't primarily for environmental reasons.

But on the other hand I have made plenty of painless, efficiency-saving cuts. I try to avoid leaving appliances, lights etc. on when I'm not using them, and I avoid using heating unless the indoor temperature is well short of 15C (which never happens in the UEA postgraduate residences anyway). I recycle everything I can (I know there are problems with the way recycling is carried out, but that's not the fault of those of us who recycle stuff).

Also, while those who eat out a lot have a reputation for wasting a lot of food, I'm very much the opposite- I take great care to avoid wasting food, and I'm confident that overall I only waste a small fraction of the national average.

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lol SS... I have four children, two from a previous relationship and new born twins from this one.

I think it is more the imbalance of population growth that is the problem... .

Sorry – think my comment from the other day was not quite what was expected for the thread!

However, it has a lot of truth – we really don’t need to add more people to the planet (4 kids - wow, I find one lots of hard work! :D ) unless we can find ways to feed and water them indefinitely. Education and reduction of poverty is the only way to do this, but that is a global issue…

Sure we can all do our own bit; I’ve fully gutted, insulated and re-plastered our (previously freezing cold) 1890’s cottage (what a difference in temp and bills), recycle/compost about 80% of our waste (largely all I can), drive a diesel which gives the best balance I can get for fuel economy versus power (or fun) and shut down everything I can when not needed.

If you read my posts in other threads, you’ll probably guess I’m a something of a sceptic - a least to a sensible, scientific extent - on the “we’re all doomed because of global warming†idea; rather I’m following the issue closely and carefully with as pragmatic an attitude as I can. Does not mean I don't think that we should all reduce dependence on fossil fuels and ‘reduce/re-use/recycle’ as this just makes sense – these are finite resources and won’t last forever.

Cheers,

SS

EDIT:

Oh, and Thundery wintry showers, I was not saying tell people they should have less children, just that it is a major issue; in the 'developed world' we are already doing that by circumstance, i.e. populations are growing now primarily only due to immigration. In less developed countries pop growth is a major problem - it is not the drought that kills (droughts etc are natural processes), but the fact that there are too many people relying on the same area of land/resourses/limited technology (this has always been the case; it is just now that we see it on the TV and so are more affected by it). There is no easy solution, other than to do our best to raise the standard of living for all and hope the population stabilises, unless we plan to start terraforming Mars... :D

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