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Alexander Residence: Renew and refresh

Friday, 30 December 2011

Renew and refresh

I watched my electrician neighbour install solar panels on his roof this Winter and had a severe case of keeping up with the Joneses.  He's tried to explain the maths to me several times, which I'm not qualified to re-explain, but basically once you've found the initial funding, it sounds great.  These kind of projects really appeal to me.  In my heart of hearts I always imagine myself on a muddy smallholding with a wind turbine, chickens and a vegetable patch.

Mr G gets to grips with water power

This summer we visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. It's a fantastic place to get to grips with the urgency of renewable energy, and the huge array of options.  It's great for kids, really hands on with lots of craft, inventing and science activities.  The vegetarian cafe is amazing.

The Alexanders cause a tidal wave
Currently we're toying with a move to somewhere more rural.  I know our one raised bed only got planted last summer due to my Dad, and that I actually would probably find chickens just one more thing to chase after.  But, wherever we finally lay our hats,  I like to think once we feel truly settled somewhere, that we will invest in renewable energy.

Not a dalek, no it's the thought provoking treadmill of happiness...
But being 'unsettled' doesn't mean we can't do something now.  This time last year, a rep from one of the bigger energy companies knocked at my door, took over my kitchen for half an hour and over a very sycophantic cup of tea, convinced me changing energy supplier would save me money.

Soon enough my original, greener supplier called me up to ask where it went wrong.  I remembered my principles and changed back.  Anyway, one year on and I would say my bill is pretty much exactly the same as the rival supplier's offer.  But my carbon footprint is much smaller.

I'm hoping 2012 is the year we set downs roots and start being part of the renewable energy solution. 47% of our energy in this country is used for heat, creating 175 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year.  There are a few ways you can reduce carbon emissions through renewable energy.

Look at renewable energy companies.  Where does your supplier get their energy from and what are they doing to harness renewable energy sources?  Switching (or returning) to a green energy supplier can reduce your home's carbon footprint by a third.

If you are interested in the idea of generating your own renewable energy look into whether you could be eligible for green energy funding.

And if you're looking for an electrician in and around Nottingham to install solar panels, I can put you in touch with my neighbour.
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At 30 December 2011 at 09:03 , Anonymous HonestMum said...

Looks fantastic. Fun and educational!

At 30 December 2011 at 09:39 , Blogger Becky Goddard-Hill said...

I once went to the centre in wales whilst at uni in essex. I went with the green party, We ran out of petrol and they didnt approve of the local garage 9some big brand) so we were stuck for about 3 hours. when we got to wale sit as shut. ooh dear.

At 31 December 2011 at 10:08 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used love going to that centre when I was little (ish!)

I think the solar panel thing is great but have to say they really ruin the look of so many houses. As I walk out of where we live your faced with them glaring at you. House vain I know, it's not so much vain just the fact they look awful :-(

We live where they are hoping for a Solar Allotment that seems like a good idea to me :-)

On the whole my carbon footprint is pretty good so a no to solar panels until they look prettier and I have a spare £10,000 + or so, I am can live with :-)

Happy New Year to you xxx


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