We challenge you to address your windows

18th October 2013 by

Windows waste plenty of energy and money.  And we know that not everyone can simply swap out their old windows with new double glazed ones.  Instead, we challenge you to address your windows and make a few simple changes in your home.

  • Install draught-proofing products on drafty doors and windows. Block cracks, seal your skirting board with sealant and fit a chimney draught excluder
  • Use stretch-seal, heat-shrink plastic sheeting kits for windows (found an example of this double glazing film here) as an inexpensive and easy way to seal warped or single-glazed windows.
  • Use window quilts or heavy curtains over your windows to keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer. An uninsulated drape can cut window heat loss by one-third. An insulated drape can reduce it by hal

And if you are in the market to re-do your windows, check out Energy Savings Trust’s Windows Guide.

How apropos to know that Energy Saving Week is also taking place on 21-25 October, 2013.  Find more energy tips here and get addressing your windows!


Moving Planet – Sept 24th

2nd September 2011 by

All over the world people are taking to the streets. March, cycle or skate and join the call for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

Hop on to www.moving-planet.org to find an event local to you or even register your own one. They’ve got a great website with loads of resources and support, from printable posters, stickers and t-shirt graphics, through to guides on how to organise an event and get a whole school involved.

During the day Moving Planet will be delivering a clear and strong set of demands:
– Science-based policies to get us back to 350ppm
– A rapid, just transition to zero carbon emissions
– A mobilization of funding for a fair transition to a 350ppm world
– Lifting the rights of people over the rights of polluters
More details on the demands here moving-planet.org/demands

Pulsating pavements

25th July 2011 by

Lately I’ve been pondering how to make energy saving much more fun. Which is why the Tidy Street Project in Brighton caught my eye. For two months this spring, volunteers living on Tidy Street reduced their energy consumption as much as possible and entered their usage on the project’s website. Then – and here’s where it gets interesting – the results were painted in a giant graph on the pavement for everyone to see.

Lo and behold, they managed to cut their energy consumption by 15% from the beginning of March to the end of April 2011, an impressive impact in a short amount of time.

There’s no doubt that visualising the savings and celebrating together is an effective way to encourage mass behaviour change. I can’t help but wonder, though, whether they’ll keep it up once their daily showering, laundering and heating habits aren’t on display for all to see. Maybe Tidy Street residents can keep up the momentum by switching to monthly use monitoring and keep the project going all year long?


2nd March 2011 by

We’ve told you before, but we’ll tell you again.

Insulate with a friend. Insulate with a loved one. Insulate with a glass of wine. Then insulate some more.

We’re often told to reduce our electricity use. Sure. But space heating accounts for 60% of the energy we use in the house, with 20% on hot water and electricity only 20%. Reducing the heating demand for energy in the first place will do wonders. Pester you parents, landlords and friends on the housing ladder to insulate lofts, flat roofs, slanty roofs, floors, pipes, cavity walls, solid walls…

(If you’re interested in learning more you can read some or all of David McKay’s book Sustainability Without the Hot Air book for free online)

The Energy Saving Trust will be able to tell you about grants for insulation, draft proofing and other super-sexy energy saving measures that are available in your area so give them a call on 0800 512 052. They also have detailed guides on home improvements that you can download for free.

With loft insulation going at only £3 a roll, it’s more a matter of can you be bothered to pay a smaller heating bill than can you afford to insulate.

The Grid Revolt

16th August 2010 by

The other evening I was cooking up dinner with the ol’ BBC Radio 4 on in the background.  Between frying onions and peeling carrots, I paused and started listening to Power Play’s program about the smart grid.  I for one, never really paid attention in science class so I thought it was about time I learned something useful; my energy grid education began.

In summary, the summer of 2009 saw the UK government rule that all electricity suppliers would have to install smart meters for every household in England by 2020.  In order to save energy, don’t we as consumers need to know what we’re currently wasting it on in the first place?  The answer could be the smart meter which is supposed to instigate energy efficiency by telling you where you spend your energy thus allowing consumers to realise where they can cut it.

Alongside the smart meters, there’ve been ongoing debates about the energy grid system currently in place.  The grid is already 60-70 years old and most agree that the whole grid needs to be replaced with a more intelligent one.  According to the Department of Energy & Climate Change, a Smart Grid is an electricity network that can intelligently integrate the actions of all users connected to it- generators, consumers and those that do both- in order to efficiently deliver a sustainable, efficient and secure supply of energy. Combine that with the fact that older nuclear power stations across Britain are closing, there needs to be a solution put into place as soon as possible.  Some experts say that when we go ahead with replacing the grid, it will be the third industrial revolution: the new energy revolution!

With this new revolution, there are always companies waiting to bank on what they can. Both Microsoft and Google have already targeted the market with each of their own ideas/devices.  Microsoft has developed Hohm, a website which provides help and links to energy monitoring devices.  Google has PowerMeter, which is a free energy monitoring tool that allows you to view your home’s energy consumption from anywhere online.  I won’t be surprised when more and more companies begin to launch their own products to fall in line with the new revolution.

Personally, I’ve never been one for gadgets.  I feel like the smart meter might just be another gimmick on consumers.  That said, a part of me wonders if the smart meter may well help us with energy consumption.  I’m slightly ashamed to admit that I don’t really pay attention to my energy bills in the first place partly due to utter confusion reading the bill and due to my own lack of interest.  Ultimately I’m interested in saving energy and if it means simplifying the way energy suppliers communicate the information to me, revolutionize our energy grid (possibly at my cost), and get on the energy saving gadget bandwagon, then perhaps I need to open my mind and my wallet a bit further.

Innovate your insulating

3rd November 2009 by

The nights are drawing in fast and thermostats are twitching skywards, so this month we challenge you to keep snug while keeping those ‘stats down. Seal up those cracks with draft excluders , make your own double glazing and improve your insulation .

Energy consumption in the home makes up more than a quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions, most of this is heating. By turning the thermostat down a mere 1 degree C, you can reduce your contribution by 10% and save around £40 (best invested back into insulation).

If you’re lucky enough to have a wood fire you’ll be warmed with all the collecting, carrying and chopping before you even get on to the burning. A bit of vigorous knitting will also keep you warm whilst you’re making some wondrous woollen wear, legend has it that Fairisle knitting was developed in an effort to keep warm during long Scottish evenings.  And if you’ve got any other carbon-saving, warmth-giving ideas we want to hear them to (email jo@otesha.org.uk).

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