I Count books available

February 22, 2008 by

I Count

I Count – together we can stop climate change!

All staff are invited to borrow one of these books (they’re on my desk). Although they’re written in an incredibly nauseating way, the advice is none the less quite useful even though it repeats what is already available in the public domain.

Check out the official I Count website here.

Ashton Hayes – going carbon neutral

February 7, 2008 by

Visit the Ashton Hayes website and learn about their collaborative approach to reducing their collective carbon footprint. A great example of a small community leading by example.

Incidentally, Tracy Todhunter (one of the residents of Ashton Hayes) came along to an event in which we discussed how ruralnet|uk should be supporting rural communities and individuals through the use of new and emerging technologies (Web 2.0, Blogs, Flickr, RSS etc).

Off the back of this focus group (and by her own admission a confirmed technophobe!), she was inspired to set up her own WordPress blog to “chart my days of living low carbon”.

27/28 Feb 2008: Leave it off!

February 5, 2008 by

A national campaign supported by UK energy suppliers and other high-profile groups and organisations encouraging everyone to switch off unnecessary electrical items for a 24 hour period.

The cumulative effects of millions of energy saving measures will be updated on the E-Day website on a minute-by-minute basis.

Fitting Megaman bulbs – first hand experience

December 6, 2007 by

Megaman 9W GU10 replacement

We had 6 x 50W halogen bulbs in our kitchen (so using 300W of electricity) and I felt it was about time to try and save some money and energy by replacing them with energy-saving equivalents.

So on a personal recommendation, I purchased 7 x Megaman 9w CFL reflector bulbs (halogen-replacement). This would mean I was only using 54W and I’d have a spare bulb for use elsewhere.

I worked out I should recoup the initial outlay within the first year and never have to buy replacements bulbs for the kitchen ever again (15,000 hrs of use). Some would say a better investment than putting your money in the bank.

Fitting
Like some other energy-saving GU10 replacement bulbs which I bought a while back, these ones also don’t really fit into the holes as well as they should. It’s not the height that’s the problem (as my fitments are free-floating inside), but more the width of the bulb as it goes up into the recess. The bulb gets caught on the fitting which grips onto the inside of the ceiling.

So anyway, I eventually had to bend the light fitting back. Undeterred and having done this 6 times, I switch the kitchen lights on. I’m then confronted this horrible gloomy white light, just like you would get from a single fluorescent strip light. Leaving it for a minute to allow the bulbs to warm up improves it slightly, but its still horrible.

So I take the bulbs out in disgust, feeling that I’ve been done out of £60. The next day I write an email to Megaman stating my frustration – I’ve yet to receive a response!

Thinking laterally!
However, after a few days, I start to think laterally. My final solution is as follows:

1) In the kitchen I’ve totally removed two of the halogen lights (immediately saving 100W) and am now using 1 x Megaman and 3 Halogens. 159W in total as opposed to 300W – not a bad start!

2) Strangely enough, the main bathroom is acceptable with 3 x Megaman bulbs totalling 27W (I previously had 4 x 50W Halogen bulbs = 200W). My only thought as to why they work fine in the bathroom is that there are lots of reflective surfaces (bath, shower, mirror etc) – more so than in the kitchen.

3) Small boys bedroom now has 2 Megaman bulbs (rather than 2 x 50W bulbs) and he already has a different energy saving one already in there. So his room is also down to 27W – and considering he often plays in his bedroom and forgets to switch off the light, this is worthwhile.

Conclusion
Until energy-saving replacements can be directly compared to what they are replacing (in terms of quality of light as well as size), then they will never appeal to the less-initiated.

There seems to be a green premium on all environmental products and until prices drop significantly then this will be yet another barrier to take-up. Some would say that its not that energy-efficient products are too expensive, but that everything else is disproportionately cheap.

I don’t believe this response, especially when the Government should be actively encouraging the use of energy-saving products (which they’re doing in other areas).

If products don’t immediately work as you had expected, think laterally. Having removed some bulbs out of my kitchen, I’ve now also reduced the energy consumption of my lounge down to 4 x 50W and 1 x 9W. It had originally been 10 x 50W halogens. Thinking laterally has saved me almost 300W in this room too!!

The end result is still nowhere near perfect but my energy consumption is much better than it was. Unfortunately until manufacturers can actually come up with decent replacements, I’m not inclined to go too overboard.

There also should’ve been someone to stop me from encouraging our electrician to fit so many halogen spots in my house when it was first built (where was the building inspector or environmental angel when I needed him)!

As a layman, it had never occured to me how wasteful Halogen spots are. I’m trying to think different now!

Fake or real?

December 6, 2007 by

Do you prefer them fake or real – Christmas trees, that is.

It would appear that contrary to popular belief, real Christmas trees are actually more environmentally friendly than artificial ones.

Consider that artificial ones are generally made in the Far East (think of the air miles) and that they will have been made with a whole load of nasty chemicals.

Then, although they will be used for many years, when you eventually get fed up with it, it’ll take several hundred years to decompose in landfill.

Compare that to buying a proper tree:

  • Over 400 Christmas tree farms in the UK alone – so you should be able to buy one very local
  • A Christmas tree farm stabilises soil, protects water supplies and provides refuge for wildlife.
  • Supporting local farmers in planting trees for subsequent years – with all the benefits of having trees absorb CO2 etc
  • After Christmas, the tree can be mulched and put onto your garden, in your compost heap or given to the local council to turn into chippings etc. Even if disposed of in landfill, it takes a fraction of the time to decompose than an artifical tree does.

Then you just need to consider using LED Christmas lights which use a fraction of the electricity of normal lights and you’re a small way there to being slightly more environmentally conscious.

Live Earth

July 12, 2007 by

Live Earth, a series of worldwide concerts designed to raise awareness about climate change and advocate environmentally friendly living, seems to have had mixed success.

Whilst no doubt raising (yet more) awareness, a lot of acts arrived and left by rather-less environmentally friendly means. Razorlight rushed to the airport in a coach with a Police convoy and flew up to Scotland straight after the gig.

A lot of the acts came and went in stretched limos.

DaimlerChrysler used its low-emissions Smart car brand while sponsoring the event worldwide, although its fleet’s average carbon dioxide emissions level was 186 grams per kilometre — well above the industry’s commitment to cut emissions to 140 grams per kilometre.

Concert-goers at the event’s London leg left thousands of plastic cups on the floor of Wembley Stadium, even though recycling bins had been provided.

But at least each dressing room only had one plug socket!

Make of it what you will.

Recycling cartons

July 12, 2007 by

An update to the previous post about recycling cartons (Tetrapak, Combiblok, foil-lined ones etc). The Tetrapak website now has an intereactive map showing all the UK recycling centres which now accept used, clean cartons.

Move to block ‘misleading’ DVD

July 12, 2007 by

The broadcast of the Great Global Warming Swindle as mentioned on this blog earlier in the year, provoked a huge public outcry. So much so that some climate scientists are trying to block the DVD claiming that it misleads the public.

Now to my mind, something’s a bit fishy here. How many other DVD’s released each year are misleading, inaccurate or plain wrong, but no one gets too bothered by it. Makes me wonder what the motivation is behind these well-paid, well-funded climate scientists to do this!

No sun link to climate change

July 12, 2007 by

In response to the Great Global Warming Swindle, scientists have now supposedly proved there is no link between the fluctuation in the Suns output and modern-day climate change.

Company Secretary runs on vegetable oil

July 12, 2007 by

David Head, Company secretary, ruralnet|uk is now running his secondhand Peugeot 405 on a mixture of diesel and vegetable oil.

“Interestingly, it’s only older engines that will do this without modification, newer engines are too finely tuned and more modern fuel pumps have difficulty with vegetable oil’s viscosity”, says David.

He’s currently trying a mixture of 80% diesel 20% Sainsbury’s vegetable oil, but hopes to increase the mixture over time.

“First impressions are that the engine seems to run more smoothly than when on fossil diesel alone”, says David.

Supermarket plastic bags

April 30, 2007 by

Its good to see that the likes of the Co-op, Tesco and Sainsburys are doing their bit to phase out or limit the impact of plastic carrier bags. For one day, Sainsburys was giving away their “Bag for Life” for free and their standard bags are now made from recyclable material.

Tesco and the Co-op bags are now 100% bio-degradable.

Modbury (Devon, UK) claims to be the first town in Britain to be entirely free of plastic carrier bags.

Envirowise

April 11, 2007 by

More info on the WEEE directive and other practical information for business more>>