Steam, Games, Grants, ECO Bling, and low-enery Gardening.
Firstly to Moisture.
I’ve done a few audits in the last week or two and there’s a recurring theme that I thought I’d share with you, and that is humidity and condensation. Living in scotland we all know what moist air is all about, [esp today], but in our homes ? under the shelter of the roof. it can’t rain inside can it ? Looking at a few homes, you would think it had. The air in our homes needs to be properly ventilated and extracted, for 2 main reasons.
1. Our health – it’s good to get fresh air and not stale air
2. Our homes – that can rot from the inside out if damp condensation is allows to deteriorate the fabric of the building.
So where does this moisture tend to come from ?
* Gas hobs/ovens
* Dryong clothes indoors
* Steam from cooking
* Showers & baths
* from breathing out !… Yip we humans contribute a lot.
So what ? We’ll to live in well insulated homes, to keep the warmth IN we still need to let the moisture OUT. Stacks of homes build 60-80’s don’t have extractor fans in kitchens or in bathrooms. Many homes with original 1st generation double glazing don’t have vent strips at the tops of the windows and doors, and for those that do, they are often shut. Result. Moisture in the air wants to condense out in our warm homes and it’s attracted to the coldest surfaces. So you might well be cooking away with lids off pans on a gas hob in the kitchen but that moist air will work its way around the home and find a cold wall or window and convert back to water. Drip drip.
So please please, consider not only the warmth but also adequate ventilation.
Fit extractor fans, close the kitchen door, put lids on pans, dry your clothes outside when possible etc.
Linlithgow Aspires hosted a British Council – Future Cities Game yesterday in Sun Microsystem and while early days, it was great to see many community organisations all working together in teams trying to identify visions for linlithgow’s future. Linlithgow Climate Challenge already have ours published and you can find this on the front of this website, or click the Vision TAB at the top of the page.
One thing that stood out for me, was that all tables had described the future as needing to be more sustainable and on some they even spoke about resilience too, which is great. However there’s also still an element of people getting trapped in todays mindset of how to solve local problems in an un-sustainable way. Linlithgow can lead and be an exemplar town for others to follow, but we cannot get bogged down in debates around todays problems when looking 20-30 years into the future.
Cars for example will be totally different in 20-30 years. We will live then in a mostly electric society, where re-charging is critical to maintain mobility. Do we want re-charge points all along the High Street ? Who knows. I think we also forget that we are planning not for our future but for our childrens future. in 30 years time, it will be our children and their offspring who will be living, working, eating, socialising in the town we have made for them. So lets keep thinking out of the box and support the efforts of the various groups in town to be bold and look for some real inspiration for a more sustainable future. Tinkering around the edges will not meet our Climate Change legislation, and nor will it protect us from changing energy markets and commodities.
Sounds like the Energy Saving Trust are following the UK grant scheme and not giving grants any more for Electric energy generation despite the fact that the Feed in Tariffs are still not hear yet. They’ve closed the gate before the horse has even thought about bolting ! 1 or 2 months too early. We need to learn to transition properly from one Gov scheme to the next smoothly and not this current approach. Hopefully the FIT’s and also the RHI’s for renewable heat will simplify things.
I heard a member of the Green Party the other day mention domestic renewables as eco-bling. Perhaps due to some of the financial payback debates that have been bouncing around the press lately. This is typical of people only looking at one side of the dice of environmental action. Yes, there’s some terrible technology, like naff wind turbines from B&Q that have thankfully been removed from the market as they were a total waste of time, but I don’t agree with most of the kit thats available today. OK so some have longer pay backs than others in financial terms, but do you ever care about the payback period when buying a car at £10-15k ? NO.
One main thing with making your home more sustainable from an energy perspective is that YOU the home owner, learn very very quickly that there’s a right TIME to do things. if you have a wind turbine, you want to run the washing machine when it’s windy. To empathise with the available FREE wind energy. If you have a solar hot water panel, then you’ll tend to shower in the evening and not in the morning.
By ONLY supporting things like off-shore wind and far-away over the hill power stations, then I think we miss a massive massive point, which is that we have a very tough challenge ahead on making renewable energy, disconnecting from old fossil fuels and also saving consumption at the same time. IF all of our energy is still created out of mind and out of sight, we will still all be thinking it’s always there and endless. Let’s get real and start living in harmony with the free energy and not loose sight of that when debating what is or isn’t eco-bling. it’s not just a financial equation here, theres many other elements, on education to be factored in.
Low Energy Gardening.
Loved the recent text from my brother-in-law saying how much hard work it was working the soil in preparation for another years veg growing. My feathered girls were let loose on my veg patch at the weekend and within a few hours the soil was turned over, the bugs all eaten, some of the weeds removed and it was fertilised too. EGGS and FREE LABOUR in the garden. – Fantastic. The only down-side so far ? I think I’m down on worms, but there’s lots in the compost to replace them with.