Posts Tagged ‘soft energy paths’

Anti-Nuclear Energy Protest – Boycott EDF Energy

April 21, 2011
nuclear disaster area

nuclear disaster area

‘I do not believe a single word that issues from the mouth of a single spokesperson for the nuclear industry.’ — JONATHON PORRITT, June 2010.

A couple of weeks ago, campaigners brought rush hour traffic to a standstill to protest against EDF Energy’s plans to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK. All four lanes of the A302 outside EDF Energy’s headquarters in Grosvenor Place — which just happens to run alongside the gardens of Buckingham Palace — were sealed off shortly after 8am using 14-foot tripods. The cleared zone was then declared a ‘nuclear disaster area’.

Campaign group, Boycott EDF, says the energy giant is spearheading a ‘nuclear renaissance’ which could see the construction of at least ten new nuclear reactors — a move spokeswoman, Bella Benson, claims will spell disaster for the UK.

EDF has spent a massive amount of money marketing itself as an environment-friendly company,” says Benson. “But the truth is that it’s planning to lumber us with an outdated form of energy that is incredibly dangerous, extremely expensive and completely unnecessary. As the company’s HQ Is opposite Buckingham Palace, it would be fitting to call their plan a right, royal rip-off.

EDF has already caused great concern – even before construction of ‘new nuclear’ has started. An independent report published last year found that land designated for EDF’s two new mega-reactors at the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Somerset is heavily contaminated with enriched uranium. But EDF has dismissed the report. “With such a hazardous form of energy, best practice must be observed at every stage. We find EDF’s attitude shocking,”

Cheaper, greener alternative strategies have been put forward by respected organisations including Greenpeace, the Sustainable Development Commission and the New Economics Foundation.

Says Benson, “The billions earmarked for new nuclear power stations should be invested in further developing safe forms of energy such as renewables and the type of district heating plants (combined heat and power plants) that can be run on biogas. It’s a scandal that there hasn’t been an informed public debate about this issue.”

The campaign is urging customers of EDF Energy to say ‘no to new nuclear’ by switching to other energy providers. It is also asking the public to boycott events and attractions – such as the London Eye – sponsored by the company.

There are alternatives. Nuclear, as we have seen from the tragedy in Japan, is not a green alternative.

Germany has said no to new nuclear power stations. It is time for the UK to also say no.

Edit by You and I Films.

- Activists blockade EDF in London
Soft Energy Paths
Zero Carbon by 2030
How to save people in Eastern Japan
Wishes and cranes with love

Earthship 101

January 1, 2011

Earthship n. 1. passive solar home made of natural and recycled materials 2. thermal mass construction for temperature stabilization. 3. renewable energy & integrated water systems make the Earthship an off-grid home with little to no utility bills.

Biotecture n. 1. the profession of designing buildings and environments with consideration for their sustainability. 2. A combination of biology and architecture.

Tires are not toxic in an earthship. They are hazardous in a pile… Tires are filled with rammed earth, then plastered over. We have had numerous tests and been doing this for 40 years. Not ONE complaint, problem, rumor or ANYTHING in 40 years. David Wright does not know what he is talking about.

Also see

Soft Energy Paths

Curitiba – Designing a sustainable city

Natural Capitalism

Sustainable Energy: Thermal Banking Greenhouse Design

December 2, 2010

Steven Schwen of Earthen Path Organic Farm (Lake City, Minnesota) has built an innovative greenhouse that allows him to extend his growing season while reducing energy costs. The Farmer-Rancher Grants program from SARE provided critical assistance for Schwen in the beginning phases of his project.

This is something I have always wanted to do. Heat pumps that pump energy into the ground in the summer when it is too hot, then they draw heat out of the ground during the winter. This is very very efficient.

We also need houses that are passive solar collectors.

There were some homes like this in Nottinghamshire that are south facing and partly built into a hillside, hobbit style. They also overlook a pond which has a cooling effect.

Also check out the Rocky Mountain Institute. Built into a hillside and needing minimal heating in the winter.

Also see

Soft Energy Paths

Wind turbines on buildings

October 31, 2009
wind turbines on apartment

wind turbines on apartment

Over the last year I have watched apartment blocks being erected. Walking past a couple of days ago I noticed looking down at me like modern-day gargoyles a row of wind turbines. Cosmetic window dressing, an exercise in futility, as functional they are not.

The wind speed would be too low, the wind turbulence too high for any meaningful power generation. Were the wind speed to be of sufficient velocity, I doubt the building could handle the torque generated. Three of the wind turbines are in a row too close together, three are in a valley on the roof. The apartments immediately below the wind turbines are going to be disturbed by the noise, and possibly vibration, though if well balanced, vibration should be minimal.

What struck me as I have watched the apartments being built is that there is extensive south-facing roof areas, and yet no use has been made of this roof area for solar energy collection, either for water heating or electricity generation! The roof should have been covered with amorphous silicon roof tiles or slates, converting the entire south-facing roof areas into a solar-power generator, powering the apartments, with the surplus electricity fed into the grid.

Curious, I went back the next day to make inquiries and investigate further.

I spoke with the marketing suite, who directed me onto the site. I wandered around the site. From what observed and those I spoke to, the wind turbines are mere window dressing. There are higher blocks further into the site, but these were not used for the wind turbines. They are in their location because they are visible from the main road!

What I found was an opportunity lost. The site is on a gentle south-facing slope. Ideal for buildings to be passively heated, but no advantage taken of what the site offered. No use made of heat pumps, no solar arrays on the roofs or integral to the roofs. Two of the blocks are heated centrally, but not by a combined heat and power plant.

The wind turbines were shipped in from the States!

We learnt in the 1960s not to house social housing tenants in blocks. Those same mistakes are being repeated all over again. The developer has not been able to sell the apartments, 40% have been sold to a housing association, I was told these are inferior apartments, all housed in the same block. I hate to think what this little estate will be like in ten years time with bored kids and angry teenagers hanging around.

Access to the site was very dangerous. An accident waiting to happen. I was almost run down.

Much can be done with new buildings to make them energy efficient and net power generators, but it is not being done. This is due to lack of vision by architects and builders, but also to blame are local planning authorities whose level of competence goes little beyond the siting of a garden shed.

Local generation is important. A development of this scale should have had on site a local combined heat and power plant running off natural gas, feeding the apartments with hot water and electricity, any surplus electricity generated fed into the national grid. The ground floor apartments could have been fed by ground source heat pumps, the top apartments with roof-top solar collectors.

We need community-owned wind turbines, powering local communities, with the surplus fed into the national grid. It is a moot point whether or not this site could have had its own wind turbine, as it is on a slope running down into a dip, but they could have invested in a nearby community wind turbine.

No development should be permitted unless it is carbon neutral, furthermore, it should be a net generator of carbon-neutral electricity and low-grade heat.

Also see

Keith Parkins, Soft energy paths, heureka, May 2001
http://www.heureka.clara.net/gaia/energy.htm

Keith Parkins, Wind turbines on buildings, Indymedia UK, 31 October 2009
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2009/10/440949.html


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