How To Save The World For Free

Cross poted from the EcoHouse blog. A proposal for the TV series I’d like to make/ see made. This is a first draft. There’s a lot more detail in the transport section than the others because that’s the thing I’ve spent the most time thinking about. Already, I’m thinking the format needs changing a bit, so many of the subjects interlink that it could be hard to dedicate separate episodes to each. Any suggestions for areas to cover and ways to illustrate the various points are welcome.

How To Save The World For Free

Make over programmes have been popular for years. Some have been about improving the value of a home, but most are simply about the look. A recent trend is for programmes aimed at changing lifestyles- making people tidier and more efficient. I believe it is time to go further. It is time for agrander view, a guide to living a better life and benefitting from it- How To Save The World For Free.

Everyone has heard of global warming. Most people know they should do something about it but feel powerless or that the cost is too high. The aim of this seies is to show that they can make a difference and, if they plan far enough ahead, improve their finances as well.

The Format
Ideally the series would follow the owners of a number of homes as they change their houses and lifestyles. There should be a detached property, a semi-detached and terraced: a family, a couple and a single person. The participants would specify their budgets and a time period (minimum five years) over which they wish to recoup their costs.

Each episode would cover a different aspect of the �greening�, including water, heat, power, transport and food. As well as the examples in the show ideal cases will be highlighted, such as buildings designed from the ground up for energy efficiency.

The Episodes
Transport
Possibly the most contentious area, because this requires an ongoing change. This episode would include the �2 Mile challenge�- The participants pledge to walk to anything within a set distance. Two miles is prferable, but one mile will do. To illustrate this, a large scale map centred on their property is used. With a nail banged into the position of their house a ruler is used to scribe one mile and two mile circles. Within these circles the various amenities are marked- schools, shops, pubs, bus stops etc. This can tie in to the food episode, especially if most of a household’s requirements can be found within walking distance.

This episode would also do an analysis of the benefits of cycling over driving to work then going to the gym for exercise. For slightly more than the cost of gym membership a quality commuting cycle could be bought, saving time and petrol and parking costs.

Also- Safe Routes to School, bio-diesel, smaller cars (challenge the participants to see just how much stuff they really need on a journey and find the smallest space that stuff could be packed into).

Food
Looks at the hidden costs of the supermarket shop, including time, fuel etc. and long term changes. The benefits of preparing food at home can’t really be judged financially, but the programme will look at some such as better control over what you consume. It will cover the pros and cons of buying organic, the time saving opportunities of delivery and benefits of shopping locally (tieing in to the 2 mile challenge).

Water
From low-flush toilets to solar heating. Also, brown water recycling and is a dishwasher more water efficient than cleaning in the sink (I’m pretty sure it’s more efficient than the way I do it).

Heat
Double glazing; orientation- would it be beneficial to enlarge South facing windows and brick up a few North facing ones; solar heating and designing the house for air flow without needing air conditioning.

Power
Consumption- compare a week with filament bulbs to one with low energy lights (remind the participants that just because the lights use less power it doesn’t mean they should be left on all the time.); green energy providers; Solar power; wind power.

At the end of the series the participants will total up the money thay have spent, work out the savings they are making and assess whether they will break even within their chosen time period.

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