Archive for ‘Energy Efficiency’


20
MAY

John Olver says:
Tesla Tour of America`s South West – Part 2


Category: Electric Transport, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,


Tesla Tour of America`s South West – Part 2

Roger Manley bought his Tesla Model S about six months ago and has put quite a few miles on it since then. He and his wife and son are adding a lot more miles while touring America’s National Parks in Arizona and Utah. I’ll let Roger continue his tale.

After 2,560 miles driving in the Tesla Model S, my son Brian and I are now home. We had a great trip and saw natural wonders in Arizona and Utah that everyone should plan to see one day. During the trip we used 787 KWh and averaged 307 wh/mi. We made 17 Tesla Supercharger stops, two charges at BLINK 25 AMP stations in Scottscale, AZ., one HPWC 100 AMP charging station at the Tesla Sales location in Scottsdale, and used two 50 AMP charging stations at RV parks in Utah. In general charging was easy and quick at the Tesla Supercharging infrastructure. The BLINK 25 AMP stations were slow, but available, only charging at approximately 20 miles per hour. Charging at the Tesla Superchargers and HPWC is free. The BLINK chargers cost $.02 per minute and I spent about $13 total, plus $8.50 at one of the RV parks.

The Tesla Model S ran perfectly. The first part of the trip featured in the last post I checked the mileage at every stop to make sure I understood how the car was performing. I had printed out detailed spreadsheets from evtripplanner.com and compared actual to planned from Monterey to Scottsdale. After that I just used the navigation and trip software in the car. The last post was from Monument Valley, about 300 miles north of Phoenix on the Utah and Arizona border. After staying overnight at Goulding Lodge and RV Park we took a 3.5 hour guided tour narrated by a local Navajo an. He drove us through amazing scenery in Monument Valley, all off the main roads and completely on reservation lands. He talked about Navajo traditions and culture. After the tour we headed to Blanding, Utah and plugged in at the Tesla Supercharger. Blanding is a small town and relatively closed up on a Sunday afternoon. We ate lunch at the local A&W and headed off to stay the next two nights in Moab, Utah. On the way I had researched a stop called “Newspaper Rock Monument” just a few miles from the south side of Canyonlands National Park.

Newspaper Rock is a large rock wall with a dark patina that has petroglyphs carved in the face. It is estimated these were carved by Native Americans between 2,000 BC and 1,300 AD. An hour later we stopped in Moab at the Best Western Plus Canyonlands hotel. A Tesla Supercharger is located in the parking lot of this hotel making it an easy choice. Moab is a small vibrant town with tourists visiting many local attractions including Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The next day we drove through Arches National Park making many stops and taking two different hikes. The first was to the lower viewpoint for Delicate Arch. The second at Devils Garden where we hiked to many different arches including Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. The scenery was amazing and we were tired after 10 miles of combined hiking. On the way out of Arches we stopped at Park Avenue and were blown away by the beauty of this small valley at dusk. Needless to say there is lots to see at each of the stops we made. The next day we were off to Bryce Canyon National Park.

We made two Supercharger stops along the way and reached the Best Western Ruby’s Inn at the entrance to the park. The rim of this park reaches over 9,000 feet and we could feel a big difference in elevation as we hiked up to Inspiration Point at dusk. The weather was cloudy with a few rain showers, but the clouds parted and sunshine filled the valley right before sunset. The next morning we stopped at the Visitor Center. Each of the parks we visited had a theatre that shows a 20 minute film on the history and geology of the areas. We hiked down into Bryce Canyon at Fairyland Point and got a different perspective down among the “hoodoo’s”. Later that afternoon we drove to Zion National Park with an elevation of 3,500 feet and only used 15 KWh over 88 miles. Zion National Park has many outstanding features, one being cars are not allowed into the park, unless you are staying at the National Park Lodge. Everyone else parks at the Visitor Center and uses a free shuttle that is very convenient. Again more hiking to Weeping Rock, The Emerald Pools, and the Riverside Walk.

That night we blindly ran into two friends coming off the shuttle bus we have known for thirty years and had a nice dinner at “Wildcat Willies” in Springdale, Utah. What a surprise!

The last day of our trip was Friday April, 24th. We left Zion National Park at 6am and drove 680 miles to home in Monterey. I thought it was quite a feat in an electric car given we stopped to charge in St. George, Utah; Primm, Nevada; Barstow, Mojave, and Harris Ranch in California before arriving home at 10pm. The Tesla Model S was flawless the whole trip and both my son and I agreed the miles went by faster because of the quiet, smooth ride.

I decided to make this trip last September after seeing an article in Sunset Magazine about the national parks in Utah. I hadn’t taken a long road trip in the Tesla and thought this would be an excellent journey especially since I was turning 60 this year. My wife and I spent a week in Scottsdale, AZ and then my son joined me in Flagstaff, AZ for the rest of the trip. The national parks were even more than what I could have imagined, having never been to these previously, and definitely left me wanting to spend more time there in the future.



20
MAY

Vince Adams says:
Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more


Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,


Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more

An American friend of mine suggested I read Gaia Vince and her latest book Anthropocene a journey through our Planet. I’m normally into spy thrillers and the like so getting into something substantial like this is quite a challenge if like me you read at bedtime and the eyes close ever more quickly.

So I got started and the first chapter was all about the high villages of Nepal and the problems that they are experiencing. Pollution , lack of water, lack of education and modern technology. Frankly the sheer physicality of the lives people in Nepal are leading and their resilience was inspiring within only a few paragraphs.

Then the earthquake struck and thousands of deaths, people made homeless, lack of food and water etc etc

My adventure into Gaia’s book was warning of the dangers. If you dry out the Mountains, lose the Glaciers the earth becomes unstable. Soon the tectonic plates begin to re-act and the inevitable result is earthquakes and many of them.

Today people are living outside because daily quakes are happening and the people are afraid to go inside even if their homes have survived.

You could despair, wring your hands and send off another cheque to Oxfam or invest in a copy of Gaia’s book. It will inspire you with what individual people are doing. One man is creating Glaciers to replace the ones lost by global warming and its effects. Another group are creating internet networks almost out of tin cans. Renewable energy is being developed but they must be careful not to overuse Hydro as water is such a scarce commodity. Parallel this with Chile and its plan to destroy parts of the wilderness in Patagonia with huge hydro schemes to fuel growth thousands of miles away in its cities. This for a country that has huge seaboard boundaries that could create networks of on-shore wind turbines, tidal and wave power projects and save Patagonia.

Anyway I hope I have given you a starter for ten and a reason to buy the book.

If you want to know more from the people of Nepal whats happening on the ground take this link to:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.846010735435291.1073741904.177160615653643&type=1

Of this I shall write more very soon but here`s another thumbnail from the US.

My friend sent me the following latest report from the USA which in part is positive in part what we expect. But with knowledge and communication we can better tackle the future together.

” Although our leaders here in the US are far behind other leaders around the world there is a lot of activity. Solar installations on homes and businesses as well as major power plants are rapidly on the rise, wind farms have proven to be especially profitable and are become common in most US states and our rapid development of natural gas has at least made a dent in the coal fired power plants (I like to see the natural gas become a thing of the past as well but that seems unlikely in the near future). Unfortunately fracking for oil has been so successful that gasoline prices have dropped and Americans with very short memories have begun buying SUV’s again at a record pace. I wonder if the oil companies have offered lower gas prices because hybrids and EV’s were starting to catch hold of the public. Gas has started to rise again and will likely pass $4 a US gallon this summer. The new SUV owners will wail and complain that the President is to blame while oil companies will for the nth year in a row see record profits. So it goes”


1Comments | Post your own comment

  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "We need to recognize that hydropower doesn’t use water. Its not consumptive. It merely extracts some energy as the water falls back to the sea "
    May 22, 2015 a 9:14 am


22
OCT

Lets Get Energized says:
Dorset Energized expand to become Lets Get Energized for Big Energy Saving Week


Category: Dorset Energized News, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, Sustainable Living
Tags:


This week 20th to 24th October 2014 people across Dorset and the UK are celebrating Big Energy Saving Week.

Energy bills are reported to be the top financial concern for households, so Big Energy Saving Week highlights positive, practical actions that will help homeowners take control of bills and save energy.

This week we are also very excited to announce that we have expanded our online green energy portal to be UK wide with a new name of Lets Get Energized…

letsgetenergized-team-dorset-web2

Photo: The group announced their expansion news to the Dorset Sustainable Community Energy Group at a meeting at the Dorford Centre in Dorchester on Tuesday 21st October

Lets Get Energized

Dorset Energized was initially founded by a small group of renewable energy enthusiasts who first met in 2011 at a meeting of the Dorset Energy Partnership’s Community Sustainable Energy Working Group who launched this website on the simple premise that everyone in Dorset, as individuals, households, businesses and communities, need to invest in renewable energy today and reduce our energy demand by becoming more energy efficient and sustainable.

It is very important to work at a local level when it comes to community energy generation, but since we launched our website in 2011 we have realised that much of the information here is relevant for all UK home owners and tenants, so this October we have expanded to become Lets Get Energized.

We hope to improve our site even further over the coming year and welcome your feedback and hope you will continue on the journey with us. You can also still meet our team at local events under the banner of Dorset Energized.

Vince Adams, Co-founder and Spokesperson for Dorset Energized / Lets Get Energized, says, “Dorset is a very beautiful county and contains such fabulous areas of outstanding natural beauty, supporting high biodiversity and many rare species. Living here helps us to understand how much more we need to work together with nature, rather than against it, to meet our local and UK renewable energy targets. Our aim is to continue to provide impartial advice and information, in a friendly format, and to support people connecting with renewable energy. We will continue to take part in local events and energy roadshows under Dorset Energized and we will always be very proud that it all started here in Dorset!”

Supporting The Simon King Wildlife Project

We are also very excited to welcome new blogger Holly Barber from The Simon King Wildlife Project who will be posting later this week. We want to continue to engage and enhance the fulfilment of everyone, to help reduce family’s energy costs today, whilst protecting the landscape, wildlife and the planet we all live on for future generations.

If you do 1 thing today: Switch to a green energy supplier

Lets Get Energized will continue to be an independent not-for-profit organisation and over the past year, the group has successfully teamed up with ethical energy companies including the UK’s only 100% renewable energy suppliers Good Energy and Ecotricity, both based in the South West, to offer UK wide users, special deals and incentives.

The key message is that if there is one thing we can all to today, whether we are renting or homeowners, single or with a large family, is to switch to a green energy supplier.

Many green energy tariffs are now also competitive in price to “the big six” and both Ecotricity and Good Energy have rapidly grown their customer base over the past year and continue to be rated top on Which? Customer satisfactions surveys. Ecotricty are also committed to investing in the UK’s Electric Highway while Good Energy are investing in several solar farm projects including here in Dorset.

Save Energy for Big Energy Saving Week

For Big Energy Saving Week, we are also asking that you use less energy at home by taking just one simple step, such as:

  • Turning your room heating thermostat down by just 1 degree – which could save you around £65 per year and 260kg of carbon.
  • Insulating your loft to massively reduce the heat loss from your home - it may seem a bit boring, but homeowners could save £200 per year if they insulated.

There are lots more energy saving tips under our Energy Efficiency pages.

We would also like to hear local stories from throughout the UK, and what one thing you pledge to do this week to save energy (just send your Comments below!).

Anna Celeste Watson, Web Designer and Manager, says, “It has been fantastic to get such positive feedback about the website over the last 3 years with people saying they love its colourful eye-catching design and illustrations, and that they often visit the site to find out anything to do with renewable energy and keep up to date with the latest energy news. What we would love now is for more people to send in their stories and comments via the blog about using solar energy, renewable heat, electric cars and their energy saving and sustainable living tips so we can build more of an online community to inspire everyone to engage with the wonderful world of sustainable energy and show how it really makes you feel energized!”

So, what are you waiting for? Its time to get energized and join the renewable energy revolution!
Start now and explore your energy options here.



11
SEP

Vince Adams says:
Story from Sweden


Category: Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , ,


Story from Sweden

High on the Bjare peninsular near Barstad there is a famous tourist destination called Havers Hog below which the Halland Sas becomes the Kattegat Sea leading North to the Arctic.Its a beautiful site and has a great Hotel with views and good food.

I meet with the Owner and he explained his approach to sustainability and the environment and I was truly impressed. All their heating and hot water is produced by their own biomass boiler using local hay stubble that previously was burned in the Autumn.

All the hotel roofs have been grass covered and at this time of year are a haven for wild flowers and grasses. The grass provides amazing insulation and is great for the environment. In the main lounge and dining room they have a huge wood stove that in Winter is hugely productive using only local wood from sustainable sources. They use as much local food as possible and have their own market garden that is fully productive throughout the year. To cap it all they have pioneered with a local Swedish company a means of maintain great-usable clean water without burdening the local eco structure. I was shown the system which involves three levels of purification from proactive to react and then finally into an interact area with reeds, ponds and wildlife. The system is now being marketed throughout Scandinavia and has created a prosperous grwowing company with many staff and distributors all benefiting from what started at Havers Hog Hotel.

The projects have all shown economic sense as well as the Green feeling so why oh why can’t more of our UK hotels follow a similar pattern?

I am sure that they are trying so let’s hear their stories and spread the word.

View from Havers Hog

View from Havers Hog



06
AUG

Vince Adams says:
What Range Anxiety?


Category: Electric Transport, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
Tags:


What Range Anxiety?

I drove to London on Friday in my Leaf Electric car and was amazed at how easy the journey now is.

I charged up overnight on Thursday and set off to London stopping at Fleet services 85 miles from home then onto Richmond few miles around London and then back to Fleet services, coffee and another free charge fro Ecotricity and home to Sturminster in Dorset.

Total cost £2’s, comfort, huge ease of drive, tremendous. Can’t wait for next trip up to Birmingham this weekend.

Vince and his Leaf

Vince and his Leaf



13
JUN

Guest Energizer says:
Samsoe – An Energy Island


Category: Biomass Energy, Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
Tags: , , , , , ,


Samsoe – An Energy Island

INTRO: Here is an article by Arthur Blue, a new contributor to our Blog, about an island in Denmark. Arthur is based in Argyll, but the article is highly relevant to Dorset which is also of course rural, with remote areas, and the potential to produce much of its own energy.

So to the article:

An Energy Island

I was in Denmark recently, enjoying herring on rye bread, blethering with old friends, and brushing up my rusty Danish.

Economists of the Anglo-American persuasion are convinced that the Danish economy is far too heavily loaded with taxes and welfare systems to take off and fly, but fly it does and the evidence is in front of your eyes in Copenhagen, where the amount of new investment, both public and private, is impressive, as are the famous open sandwiches.

Yes … a decent one costs about Dkr 100 ( £12.50 ) , but it’s enough for a good meal on its own. But to avoid both cultural and culinary overload we decided to have a long weekend on the island of Samsoe, famous for its early potatoes … in late May these were selling for very high prices in the capital … and for being self-sufficient in electrical power and domestic heating. It’s an island slightly larger than Bute, with around 4,00 permanent inhabitants, with large numbers of visitors during the season, mostly staying in summer houses well hidden amongst the trees.

The background to this is that in the latter half of the last century Samsoe, together with other small islands and remoter areas, was falling behind in development, what with high transport costs, falling population, difficulties for small concerns trying to compete in the larger market, and loss of young people, once they had qualified, to the mainland. It’s all very familiar. Denmark has the usual assistance programmes, but the trends continued. However in 1997 the Ministry of Energy announced a competition …. which local area or island could present the most realistic plan for a transition to 100% self-sufficiency in renewable energy. Small easily-defined communities were chosen since the social effects could thus be more readily monitored. Four islands and a peninsula entered the competition, and Samsoe won, with the objective being to highlight renewable energy and study how high a percentage could be achieved using available technology and ( almost ) without extraordinary grants.

Bearing in mind that most of Samsoe’s electricity comes from wind, the first thing to strike me was that the views are not dominated by turbines, for though you can usually see one or two in the distance if you look really hard, you do have to look for them. There is a large offshore array which exports power to the mainland and which offsets the island’s CO2 emissions from vehicle fuel, this isn’t particularly visible from inland, though the ferry passes close by, and in any case no-one complains about it since it also provides an income for the local energy company. As with other things who owns them affects the way you see them.

Local electrical demand is mostly covered by 11 1-MW ( medium-sized ) turbines across 3 clusters, plus a number of small privately-owned units, and there is an interconnector with Jutland through which power can go both ways, if required.

Demand management … smoothing the peaks …. has been the subject of much thought and consultation, and it’s considered that there is still a great deal to be won in that direction, both on Samsoe and elsewhere. Domestic heating on the island, like many places in Denmark, is based on district heating plants, since its only with industrial-type technology that you can achieve satisfactory combustion when burning waste or biomass. Planners can require the use of district heating for new buildings in urban areas, but in the case of older existing buildings the owners have to be persuaded to convert and there are various grants for this, including special arrangements for pensioners. District heating is not suitable for isolated houses either, and on Samsoe these have their own heating. Around 50% of the isolated year-round houses on the island have now converted to some form of RE, using straw or biomass and solar water panels. On the summer-house front RE is low, though a number have installed air-to-air heat pumps A programme of thorough insulation was of course carried out as an essential first step in all this, for which there was a very good take-up. One old lady in Nordby could only afford to replace her windows one at a time, but she managed it, over about ten years.

There are 5 village-based district heating systems on the island, mostly fuelled by biomass ( waste straw and wood chips ). One of the plants has a substantial input from solar water panels, and since the heat is transmitted by water surplus electrical power can easily go into the systems if necessary. Another plant also takes waste heat from a jam factory, and a proposal to use waste heat from the ferry, which could have supplied about 30% of demand at the port, fell through not because it was technically difficult … it wasn’t … but because the ferry service being tendered out there is no guarantee that a future operator would be interested in co-operating. To get everything going it was decided by NRGi ( the island energy company ) that a very low registration fee of Dkr 80 ( £10 ) would be charged for those who signed up before the plants were built. This model is an exception to normal practice since in Denmark those who wish to join an existing district heating scheme can find themselves paying around Dkr 36.000 ( £ 4,000 ). A consequence of the cheap registration is of course slightly higher heating prices, since the payments also have to cover repayment of the initial investment, however if you’re starting from scratch a high take-up significantly reduces distribution costs. In addition some of the larger farmers make their own tractor fuel from rape, the oilseed cake being a useful cattle feed, and the straw going into their heating plant, these, like most Samsinger, are highly practical people, who wear overalls rather than rainbow-coloured jumpers, and who think that it makes economic as well as environmental sense to go renewable. However plans to go further and use more local oil cake to replace imported fodder, and sell the oil, have faltered on account of the government’s fuel taxation policy And an Energy Academy has been set up on the island, using the expertise acquired with the local project. The Academy is the headquarters of Samsoe’s energy and development organisations, with 11 full-time jobs in energy education and world-wide consultancy, one of their current projects being on Mull.

The above is where Samsoe has got to after about fifteen years, but it wasn’t all easy. Mikael Larsen, who heads the Energy Academy, says that the technology is the easy bit, and the bigger the easier, since all you have to do is sell a feasible scheme to one or other of the big players who then bring everything in ( and take most of the profits out again, though a small local share can still be very useful ) And big schemes are usually very high-tech, and well beyond local capabilities. Thus with the Samsoe offshore array. The local projects, on the other hand, are much more low-tech, can use local firms for more of the work, and have a much better social pay-off. The hardest part of the project is not the design and building, or the financing, but persuading people that it is indeed feasible, and obtaining workable consensus on it. There are always those who for various reasons don’t wish to be involved, or are too old or too crabbed to be bothered. Many of the holiday visitors, though they contribute very usefully to the island economy, aren’t particularly interested in going over to electric cars, and the summer houses, being spread out, don’t lend themselves to district heating. So the political side … though not party-political … was by far the biggest challenge. It always is. An ocean of coffee and a mountain of cake was needed to get the plan rolling, and doubtless a fair quantity of the golden brew which comes in green bottles.

So did anything go wrong during all this ? Yes indeed. The ferry heat project fell through, as did another which proposed to use waste heat from the island slaughterhouse, when the latter closed a few years into the project. A methane project is still on the back burner.

And the three electric cars which were given to the district nurses were an absolute disaster owing to unexpected call-outs, unpredictable driving patterns, and the nurses forgetting to recharge the things after a busy day. But the electric car used by the Energy Academy apparently can get to Copenhagen, over 100 miles away, quite easily given a quick top-up at some intermediate coffee stop. In several years use that vehicle has had only one failure … a broken wire. But you learn from the failures, sometimes more than from the successes. So the project rolls on, with one aim being to fuel the ferry with locally-produced biogas ( a ferry has room for quite a big tank ), and possibly the production of hydrogen for vehicular use, as vehicle fuel is now the largest energy import to the island. Local electric car use could also be greatly expanded. It’s all well worth a closer look. You can have a very good cycling holiday on Samsoe, too, while you’re looking.

( Further information is available on the web, in English, at www.energiakademiet.dk also, since Samsoe is by no means the only island to have gone down the renewable road, at www.europenreislands.net which is one of the EU’s development arms. )



27
SEP

Lets Get Energized says:
Take a peek at Dorchester’s Eco-Homes


Category: Biomass Energy, Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Heat Pumps, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags:


Take a look at some of the homes that previously opened their doors to Dorset visitors as part of the Greendor Open EcoHomes Weekend in Dorchester…

 

test alt

Above: The Old House at Home, Dorchester

This former public house dating from about 1750, Grade II Listed, has been retro-fitted with solar PV panels, internal insulation, and low energy technologies, bringing energy use down to under half an average household’s.

 

Above: Streetway Lane, Cheselbourne

A former police house, built in the 1950s complete with cells! The owners were the first in their village to fit solar thermal panels, and now have solar PVs and an Air Source Heat Pump as well. A pioneering rainwater harvesting system with UV filter provides drinking water.

 

Above: Watery Lane, Upwey

Built in 2007 to the owners’ design, this timber framed house has solar PV panels, a ground source heat pump and solar water heating. Local and recycled materials have been extensively used, and rainwater harvesting has been installed.

 

Above: Dorchester Road, Maiden Newton

This terraced house built pre 1840 close to River Frome, had the ground floor re-planned for flood resilience, including removable flood barriers. Renovated using lime mortar, clay paint and lime render.The home is heated by an air source heat pump, wood stove and solar hot water.

 

Above: Manor Road, Dorchester

This 1940s detached house has been adapted for sustainable living with solar hot water and PV panels, poly bead cavity wall insulation, grey water recycling. They keep poultry in their backyard too. They use no car, but electric bikes and bike trailers. Garden loads by electric miniature railway. Newly built solar conservatory helps to heat the house.

 

Above: Chalk Wall House, Dorchester

Completed in 2010, this eco-home was designed and project-managed by the owners’ son whilst he was an architectural student, and built by the family. North and west walls of rammed chalk dug on site help to keep a stable internal temperature. Wall and roof Insulation uses wood fibre and sheep’s wool, and lime render is used in the external finish. The house has a green roof and many other eco-features.

 

Above: St Helens Road, Dorchester

A late Victorian house in a Conservation Area. Planning limitations have ruled out some options, so the owners have fitted their solar thermal panel out of sight at the rear and their solar PV panels in the back garden. They are trialling DIY secondary double glazing as an alternative to new windows on the front of the house, grow food at Dorchester’s community farm, and are pioneering a wood recycling project.

For more information on other Open Eco-Homes Days in Dorset visit http://greendor.wordpress.com

Read more about all your Renewable Energy Options or see more ideas on Saving Energy.



23
OCT

Theresa McManus says:
DECC Green Deal Quick Guides


Category: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy
Tags: , , , , , ,


The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) have published some guides on the various aspects of the Green Deal which are available to download. These are aimed at domestic customers, and will hopefully make it easier to access funding for a wide range of energy efficiency measures AND renewable energy measures. Funding will be available from  the end of January 2013.

Visit the DECC website to download the Green Deal Quick Guides: www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/tackling/green_deal/gd_quickguides/gd_quickguides.aspx



26
JUL

Lets Get Energized says:
Greendor Eco-Homes Booking Now Open!


Category: Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


greendor 2012 is Dorchester’s first Open Eco-Homes weekend. Homes with eco-features will open up to the public on the weekend of 8th and 9thSeptember, during the annual Dorset Architectural Heritage Week.

A chance to see how to green your home, and chat to people who’ve done it.

Bookings are now open – visit the website to book: http://greendor.wordpress.com.

Please download, print and post or forward on our poster here: Download the greendor poster.



18
MAY

Anna Celeste Watson says:
New Eco Holiday Cottage in Wool, Dorset


Category: Biomass Energy, Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Fresh from the excitement of launching the Dorset Energized website, I am also very excited about another renewable energy website I have just created for the new Railway Eco Cottage in Dorset…

Catherine Fisher from Swanage (who now lives in Scotland but frequently visits Dorset) has lovingly renovated her old family terraced cottage in Wool, in an eco-conscious way, and I am very impressed by her commitment to making it as green as possible simply because she feels it is the right thing to do!

Here’s how she has made this 100 year old end of terrace into a practical, contemporary and beautifully presented eco-home:

SOLAR THERMAL PANELS on the roof heat all the water, of which there is always an abundant supply (but of course she encourages her guests to be mindful of their water usage).

All appliances are electric (no gas) and powered by Good Energy’s 100% RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY upon Dorset Energized’s recommendation (and she respectfully asks visitors to be mindful of their energy usage and to switch off appliances and lights when not in use).

UNDERFLOOR HEATING is more energy efficient. The WOODEN FLOORS are also an eco-friendly product designed to retain heat and are also very hardwearing so shouldn’t need to be replaced.

A WOODBURNER is more energy efficient and uses carefully sourced wood logs as fuel.

ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTBULBS are used on all light fittings throughout the whole cottage.

The kitchen table was made from RECLAIMED WOOD and both beds and mattresses made from SUSTAINABLE SOURCES.

ECOVER products are provided for her guests convenience and the cleaners Dust & Shine also use ECO-FRIENDLY products. There is deliberately no tumble dryer to encourage guests to use the WASHING LINE to save energy.

She encourages her guests to take advantage of PUBLIC TRANSPORT especially with Wool train station situated next door, or to explore Dorset by walking or cycling. Guests can keep their bikes in the undercover porch or shed but she is also currently building a special area just for bikes.

The garden shed has a WOOD STORAGE area and she makes RECYCLING and COMPOSTING easy with specially fitted bins in the kitchen cupboard doors.

Even during the renovation, Catherine was very careful not to waste any materials that could be RECYCLED and used ECO-FRIENDLY PAINTS.

The cottage is a perfect base to explore Dorset for anyone who loves simple holidays and nature, especially with it being right by the River Frome, and is ideal for eco-conscious travellers.

Catherine would be delighted to offer you advice on your own eco home renovations, or installing solar thermal panels or woodburners – email her on info@railwayecocottagedorset.co.uk

Check out the website for photos and more inspiration, and make sure you recommend your friends! www.railwayecocottagedorset.co.uk



25
APR

Guest Energizer says:
Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air


Category: Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Film/Video
Tags: , , , , ,


Just one advantage of push-bikes is their low running costs – I use mine almost every day, yet have spent only £40 on it over the last 3 years!

Here is the link to a very interesting book www.withouthotair.com.

Also, here is a link to a video of the author discussing the subject, which complements the book rather well: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFosQtEqzSE.

And an interesting link to a site which allows you record your energy (gas and electricity) consumption and displays it in graphs as you accumulate values over time: http://readyourmeter.org.

I’ve just started using this to record my landlord’s household energy consumption. There are 6 of us in the house and we will try to reduce our consumption each week, in an effort to beat that of the previous week, thus steadily reducing costs. Quite a nice activity I hope might catch on here in Dorset! It is actually explained by the author of the book in the video link above at 36 min 45 seconds into the video.

Posted by Stephen Davey



24
APR

Lets Get Energized says:
Blandford Forum Parish Centre Incorporates Renewable Energy Systems


Category: Energy Efficiency, Heat Pumps
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


The Blandford Forum Parochial Church was redesigned as a Community Centre to have a low environmental/carbon footprint. It incorporates renewable energy systems (ground source heat pump and solar collectors), environmentally friendly building materials and low energy/water consumption features. Intention is to showcase best practice to encourage others to incorporate these features into new build/refurbishments projects.

Nature of Project
The much loved, much used Victorian pre-fabricated Church Hall which served the community of Blandford for over 100 years became disused, dilapidated and beyond economic repair. The Hall Steering Group (HSG) gained planning permission to replace the existing structure with a new, purpose built, environmentally friendly facility which would be available 7 days a week throughout the year for the community to use. No such facility existed in Blandford.

The Blandford Forum Parochial Church Council (BFPCC) and HSG were very keen to ensure that the new building should have as low an environmental/carbon footprint as possible. The building was specifically designed to reduce its environmental impact in terms of its construction and operation and will demonstrate to the local and wider community what can be achieved in terms of sustainable construction.

The building is constructed using structured insulated panels, triple glazed widows and double glazed doors with low emissivity glass. This makes the building very thermally efficient thus making it ideal to heat with low grade heat from the ground which is heated by the sun. Space and water heating requirements are provided by a ground source heat pump and solar hot water collectors. The building also has energy efficient lighting, waterless urinals and no-touch, low water consumption taps and toilet flushing. The exterior timber cladding, windows and doors were sourced from FSC certified forests whilst environmentally friendly Bamboo and Altro were specified for the flooring. We also used local tradesman and specialists on the project, John Turnbull Architect, Jack Wiles Quantity Surveyor, RB Snook Building Contractors, Microgeneration – ground source heat pump, Rayotech Solar Shading, Build It Green – wall panels, Bullivents – beam and block floor, Fusion Electrics.

There were no known examples of green church/community halls in the local area. Our intention was to promote the project widely as a case study to encourage the further take up of best environmental practice by others involved in the construction and renovation of community buildings/church halls, churches, church maintained schools and other community and church associated buildings throughout the country. We also hope to encourage those using these buildings to take action to improve their environment and to consider incorporating these features into their own homes and businesses.

Approach
Members of the HSG researched what had been done elsewhere to make buildings more environmentally friendly/sustainable. A checklist was produced which the group worked through to see what could be incorporated into the new building within the constraints of the budget and with the site itself. For example, rainwater harvesting was ruled out because of extensive tree roots from listed trees; the shade from these trees also ruled out the use of photovoltaic panels.

Some of the “green technology” was unfamiliar to the group e.g. the ground source heat pump. However, they showed great faith and, despite a few technical glitches with commissioning, are pleased with the results. We think it is fair to say that by stipulating a list of “green requirements” for the building, all those involved with the building e.g. architect, quantity surveyor, builders, tradesmen have all gained from the experience of seeing them being successfully incorporated into this sort of building project.

Community Involvement
They consulted widely with the community and existing/potential user groups to ensure that the building was designed to meet their current and future needs. They received many expressions of interest from numerous children and youth groups, community groups such as The University of the Third Age, The Civic Society, Playgroups, and public bodies such the Environmental Agency and the Town and District Councils. Indeed Local businesses and community groups were particularly interested in holding their meetings and training events in such an environmentally friendly venue which would in turn help them to cut their own carbon footprint.

For more information visit www.bfpc.org.uk.

This story was provided by Sustainable Dorset, the website for DA21: www.sustainabledorset.org.uk/community-energy.



Lets Get Energized with Renewable Energy!

Lets Get Energized is your online guide to renewable energy and sustainable living with the latest news, views and tips plus exclusive special offers to help you save energy and money, beat rising energy prices, combat climate change and be more self sufficient – right now, and for your future...

READ ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY

ENJOY EXCLUSIVE OFFERS,
NEWS + ENERGY SAVING TIPS:

CONGRATS TO OUR SUMMER E-BIKE HIRE WINNER: CLARE WEBB*

*This competition is now closed but you can still enter for the chance to win future competitions!

No Thanks - Hide This Pop-up