So I was writing a scene earlier today, based upon the idea of a solar powered still producing ethanol for fuel. By the power of teh internet, I have found that it is possible, and that people have already built there own- Making Alcohol Fuel With a Solar Still – Renewable Energy – MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
The Government has released a white paper that calls for all domestic buildings to be zero carbon by 2016. There isn’t a definition for “zero carbon”, however, though it’s likely to mean buildings which are net-zero carbon over a year. New public buildings will be held to similar standards within a few years.
Technorati tag: EcoHouse
I don’t have any particular interest in Gordon Brown staying on as Prime Minister, he’s possibly worse than Blair because he’s too much of a coward to actually do anything radical. If he were, however, to suddenly develop a spine and display some of the savvy he claims to have there are ways he could get re-elected, boost the economy and start taking big steps towards hitting carbon dioxide reduction targets.
All he has to do is bribe the electorate.
A small number of people choose to ignore the evidence on global warming and will shout about any environmental initiatives no matter that they often have benefits beyond the green. Let’s just ignore them. Others are determined to cut their footprint no matter what. These converts deserve rewarding, and will be as a bonus of what I’m suggesting. The largest number of people, across a range of scepticism to understanding, aren’t going green because of the initial expense. Also for many of them when Gordon says “Green” they hear the word “Tax”.
Give these people the money to go green.
The recent announcement of a £100billion green initiative by Brown did mention solar power and other grants. What’s needed is for these to be big enough to cover most of the cost of installing panels, insulation or whatever is needed, because at present the payback in reduced bills isn’t enough. Most people would be better off leaving their money in the bank and earning interest. It would also help the uptake if the rates to sell electricity back to the suppliers were better. Let’s say that power companies should write off one unit of power consumed for every unit generated- in summer or on a windy day the house could pay for the electricity it used when it was cloudy or still. After the bill balances then the microgenerator can still sell to the power company at, say, half the price per unit they were being charged.
As important as increasing the grants and improving buy back is selling them properly. Emphasis should be put on giving money back to the consumer and making them independent of big suppliers. Gordon’s too dull to do this well, so he’d have to hope he could find a minister who could do it for him. The Tories have already figured out that this is a good sell, with proposals for feeding landfill savings back to households that recycle more. Their ideas about modifying the tax on petrol are based on a similar idea but seem half baked at best.
Of course, per kilowatt generated and ton of CO2 saved an increase in the scope and size of grants for microgeneration will be far more expensive than offshore wind or any other scheme. But no-one ever seems to think about where this money will go. The workers who install photovoltaics, groundsource pipes etc. will all be based in Britain. With a bit of encouragement the companies creating the equipment could all be British as well. They’ll all pay tax on their increased income, and boost the economy with their spending, as will the households now with extra cash from the electricity they’re saving and generating.
Of course the main reason a scheme like this won’t go ahead is because it will do the one thing all politicians are terrified of- it will allow the electorate to become less dependent on the state and the big businesses that pay for all the lobbying.
Gordon Brown has announced a £100billion renewable energy plan. The Daily Mail and its readers have reacted as you’d expect, ignoring the boost to the economy from all the jobs created and the opportunities through grants to go energy independent.
So, those of you who can, I’d recommend stealing a jump on the whingers and using their tax money to go off grid. When I researched grants for solar panels last month I found that the existing scheme had been phased out, which was annoying. I’m now willing to give Brown the benefit of the doubt and hope this was because they were gearing up to a new and improved scheme. It isn’t easy. I’m not as obnoxiously and knee-jerkingly anti Brown/New Labour as the Mail’s readers, but past performance does mark the Government as untrustworthy.
The schemes for householders will be announced later this Summer. I’ll be looking out for them and will try to do some number crunching on them when they arrive.
Technorati tag: EcoHouse
Biotruck took a biodiesel processing plant to Timbuktu in Mali, so the locals could produce fuel from waste cooking oil. They made the journey carbon neutral by powering their truck with biodiesel derived from waste chocolate.
Technorati tag: Biodiesel
Grant Management promise that all the properties they let are carbon neutral because their energy use is offset by buying trees. If that were all it would be nice, but just a bit of canny marketting. However, their About Us section suggests that the commitment goes deeper-
About Our Commitment to the Environment
Grant Management has embraced the environment by achieving carbon neutral status. This was accomplished by reducing the company’s carbon footprint and offsetting the balance through tree planting via Global Trees. Additionally, Grant Management has made the properties it manages carbon neutral, recycling, re-using and sharing environmental knowledge and ideas with other individuals and companies.
Technorati tag: EcoHouse
Wythenshawe is to hold the “Party without Pollution” festival next month, and is encouraging local residents to save enough energy to make the whole event carbon neutral. The headquarters for the festival are in a building made from shipping crates that incorporates a number of energy saving, if gimmicky, devices such as a cycle powered photocopier.
Johnny Borrel of Razorlight has recorded a song in support of Friends of the Earth’s Big Ask campaign. He recorded the song in a solar powered studio at The Premises in London. iT can be downloaded free from 7Digital in wma format.
The real danger of global warming is that we’re thawing out the super tough killer possums. Just to be safe, this short film warning us of the danger was made carbon neutrally.