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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

REVIEW: Green your home

OK as mentioned tonight I went to Going Green: Make it happen to your home.

Interesting event hosted at London's Science Museum (all free and paid for with taxes - hurrah) with an interesting mix of people: students, engineers, homeowners etc. Cynics, realists and idealists. Excellent!

OK quick summary for you - key points are my comments and observations and not neccessarily the comments of the companies - did take pics but batteries ran out (sigh) so have grabbed pics from their sites. Enjoy:

Craig Anders
Design Director, INTEGER Intelligent and Green & Partner @ Architects Cole Thompson Anders

These folks get involved in interesting renovation and new build projects where they bring as much sustainability and low energy intelligence to bear.

Key points, comments and observations:
- Go green to lower bills OR combat climate change
- Did the Dream House (see above) project featured on BBC1
- Also involved in Tower block projects
- All about lowering home energy needs by upto 50% and water needs by upto 40% PLUS using sustainable materials
- Combining green AND intelligent technology for a more modular lifestyle home that adapts as you do. Resulting in a home that should last you for longer.
- If I was building a house these are exactly the kind of people I would speak to.

Peter Holdsworth

These folks make a really interesting low cost water recycling and reuse system that takes water from your bath and shower and uses it for toilets.

Key points, comments and observations:
- Can save 30% of your water needs resulting in something like 40,000 litres saved per year per house! (WOW! - Ed.)
- Plus saves money by lowering your water bills and if you have a sewage bill then obviously you save by reduction there too.
- Pays off in 6-8 years and costs approx £1,500 to install.
- Not intrusive once fitted.
- Intelligent system that removes any solids from bath water (hair and soap residue etc) and sends to waste direct.
- My favourite product of the night. Low-cost, works well, well thought out.

Anya Gordon
Sales Executive, Windsave

Windsave are the producers of a micro-generating wind turbine for homes. Learnt a lot about these systems.

Key points, comments and observations:
- Was struck by their honesty about not installing if they do not think you will benefit from strong enough wind.
- Currently only runs on AC (not DC) so is not stored, which seems like an issue to me.
- Light sound given off but to me that is fine.
- Heard someone else mention that acoustic vibrations need to be taken into account.
- Also heard an electricity engineer say that turbines do not produce much power in reality and have asked them for an article for the site explaining more for us non-engineers.
- Do not think council planning permission is needed although turbines could attract complaints from neighbours.
- Payback period over 5 years according to Windsave.
- Clearskies grants available.
- Am in touch with them to see some in action and speak to home owners who use it.

Simon Gerrard
Solar energy expert, Solar Century

Solar Century are one of the leading experts in PhotoVoltaics in the UK.

Key points, comments and observations:
- Could not hear this chap to well but spoke to him afterwards and found out that 8 meters squared provides approx 1 KiloWatt of power or the equivalent of what one WindSave turbine is meant to deliver.
- PV is clearly better developed and more aesthetically acceptable to Wind Turbines.
- Interesting developments ahead it seems with PV in general having discussed with some other event attendees ie paints and 3D PV cells.
- PV seems like a very good bet.
- Solar Century are cladding a building with PV cells - very interesting idea. Why limit them to roofs?

Nick Hopper
Natural lighting and ventilation expert, Monodraught & Sunpipe

These folks make the Sunpipe (and various other sun and wind tech) which allows you to direct sunlight into rooms with no access to natural light.

Key points, comments and observations:
- Very interesting solution to rooms with no natural light
- Spoke to the Nick about any developments and was delighted to hear that they are thinking about passive heating and cooling and many other diversifications and developments.
- Nick commented to me that as the SunPipe does not produce energy it qualifies for no grants. Which seems absurd to me. Anything that encourages energy efficiency should be encouraged if the government wishes us to believe that they are committed to solving climate change problems. In fact, why are energy efficient lightbulbs still subject to VAT? Have written to my local MP to get them to ask Tony Blair or whoever on my behalf. Watch this space.

Bill Dunster
Founder, Bill Dunster Architects ZEDfactory Ltd

These folks are amazing. Sustainable architects, inventors, innovators and social engineers is a good description. Pleasure to talk to. Very down to earth.

Key points, comments and observations:
- These are the folks behind the BedZed project
- They calculate that our carbon emissions comes from heating (33%), food miles (33%) and transport (33%).
- They try to tackle those key issues.
- Their work is stunning - check out their ZedFactory site for examples. Gorgeous!
- They are opening a Climate Change shop where you will be able to buy micro-generating kits for wind and solar, cooking converters for your car and tons of other stuff to solve energy dependence problems.

WOW! What an event. Hope you enjoyed the summary.



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At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CH, it sounds like it was a good event. The major issue with solar for many people (even before they find out the initial outlay) is the aesthetics. Solar Century have addressed that and I think their SolarSlates are quite acceptable.

Was there anyone there talking about insulation? I think this is one key area where every new house and renovation can benefit. The cheapest and biggest energy saver is to have a well insulated home.

Thanks for the summary, sounds like you had a good time.


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