Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

I Count books available

February 22, 2008

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

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

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

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!

Live Earth

July 12, 2007

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

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

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

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.

Supermarket plastic bags

April 30, 2007

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

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

The Great Global Warming Swindle

March 9, 2007

Wow, what a programme. Well done to Channel 4 (UK) for broadcasting ‘The Great Global Swindle‘. For those that missed it, it was a controversial 1.5hr programme explaining why there is no conclusive proof that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for global-warming.

They called on eminent scientists, IPCC members, ex-NASA meteorologists, a former New Scientist editor, a Greenpeace co-founder amongst many others who all came up with convincing arguments as to why reducing our own cardon dioxide emissions is likely to have little or no effect.

In fact they called into question whether there was any such greenhouse/global warming effect in the first place. After all the Earths temperature has fluctuated since records began and we’re nowhere near as warm at the moment as we have been in the past.

Unfortunately, us mere-mortals are fed our information by the media and such TV programmes, so it’s going to be very hard to conclusively decide which argument is right. But below is a summary of the programme – add a comment if I’ve missed something out.

MAIN POINTS

Throughout history, CO2 levels have actually risen AFTER a rise in the Earths temperature (often lagging behind as much as 800 years!).In the 1940’s, the Earths temperature continued to rise, whilst CO2 levels dramatically fell. By the mid 70’s, there were predictions that we were about to enter an Ice Age!

The rise and fall of the Earths temperature is directly related to sunspot activity. There’s currently very high sun spot activity. The number of sun spots also correlate to previous rises and falls in the Earths temperature.
Our CO2 production is so insignificant that its measured in parts per million. However, the amount of CO2 emitted from volcanos per year far exceeds the total of our own output (inc cars, power stations etc). On top of that there’s rotting vegetation and surprisingly the oceans, which are the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide production.

As the Earth gets warmer, the oceans emit more CO2. As the Earth gets cooler, the oceans absorb and dissolve CO2.

There has been a huge political agenda behind encouraging the promotion of the global warming theory – concerns over dwindling stocks of coal and encouraging the use of nuclear and other more prevalent energy supplies. Also to stifle the development of African Nations and the third world.

The influential United Nations report on Climate change, which claimed humans were responsible, was a sham. It claimed to be the opinion of 2,500 leading scientists, but Prof Reiter said it included names of scientists who disagreed with the findings. He resigned from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but said the report was finalised by Government appointees.

Billions of pounds is being provided by governments to fund greenhouse effect research, so thousands of scientists know their job depend on the theory continuing to be seen as fact. As a whole, the green industry is now worth billions of dollars worldwide and its in nobodys interest to scale it back.

CONCLUSION: even if global warming is proved to be just a natural Earth cycle, surely its still good to be developing, cheaper, more efficient methods of energy production and transport etc. And surely its still beneficial to be saving money and dwindling energy stocks by becoming more energy-efficient.

What happens when we recycle?

February 2, 2007

An interesting article from the BBC investigating what actually happens to  recyclable rubbish more>>