Ten Top Energy Saving Tips


Ten top energy saving tips from the book from the book Energy: Use Less – Save More: 100 Energy saving-tips for the home by Jon Clift & Amanda Cuthbert (only GBP 4.95 from my store by the way.)

  • Take control of your heating. Consider turning down the thermostat controlling the temperature of your room or house by 10C. You will have either a single control at a central position such as in the hall, or thermostats attached to the individual heaters or radiators.
  • Fitted carpets with underlay will give you much more insulation than bare boards, and will stop draughts.
  • You can use less energy by taking a quick shower rather than a bath. If you use a power shower, remember that in five minutes it can use as much energy as a bath.
  • Beware of ‘uplighters': many consume a lot of electricity, using high-wattage bulbs of 300w or greater – that’s the equivalent of over 30 low-energy light bulbs! Use energy-efficient spotlights instead.
  • Don’t over-fill an electric kettle: just put in the amount of water you want, but make sure you cover the element. You’ll use less energy, it will cost less, and will come to the boil more quickly.
  • If your freezer isn’t full, fill empty spaces with scrunched-up paper or bubble wrap to stop warm air circulating when it is opened.
  • Use a lower temperature wash for clothes which aren’t very dirty: for most washes, 40C is just as good as 60C.
  • Air-dry your clothes on clothes racks or lines if possible – tumble dryers are very energy-hungry appliances.
  • Switch your dishwasher off completely when it has finished; it is still consuming electricity on stand-by.
  • If you are replacing your computer, consider a laptop – they are more energy efficient.
  • for more energy saving tips, get the book!

    On anxiety, global warming, and a pop star’s use of toilet paper


    I have a new bike, to replace the one that was stolen. A Specialised Rockhopper. It’s really nice.

    Of course now I’m worried that that it’s going to get stolen too.

    Did you miss this? I did. Rocketboom on Earthday.

    But then I missed this Sheryl Crow news too, until a friend pointed it out.

    “I have spent the better part of this tour trying to come up with easy ways for us all to become a part of the solution to global warming,” Crow wrote.

    “Although my ideas are in the earliest stages of development, they are, in my mind, worth investigating.

    “I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting.”

    Uh-huh. OK.

    How green is green?

    Wind Power

    Sigh. If only being green was simple.

    Here????‚¬??„?s a story. An old and valued customer emailed me recently. She????‚¬??„?d read a note on my newsletter in which I recommended people check out the green energy companies Ecotricity and Good Energy ????‚¬??€? both of which Nigel????‚¬??„?s Eco Store has a good relationship with.

    She????‚¬??„?d also come across a website called WhichGreen ????‚¬??€? tagline Which Energy Suppliers Really Are Green? – whose front page has a rating table of 10 British energy companies. Ecotricity comes top; the shocker is Good Energy comes equal bottom – next to Powergen.

    Which doesn????‚¬??„?t look good, does it? Understandably, this customer was concerned that I was promoting something which wasn????‚¬??„?t as green as it claimed.

    There’s more to it, of course. What the front page of WhichGreen doesn????‚¬??„?t really say is that it is a site run by Ecotricity. In the smaller print, they explain they????‚¬??„?ve rated the companies by

    the pound per customer expenditure on building new energy capacity

    Which yardstick puts Ecotricity firmly at the top of the chart, because ????‚¬??€? laudiby ????‚¬??€? they invest in new wind farms and other renewable sources.

    Ecotricity????‚¬??„?s green mission is to increase the supply of renewable energy and they????‚¬??„?re using their customer base to help them do that.

    But to take this as a chart of “which green energy suppliers are really green” as Which Green claims, is stretching a point a little. But that????‚¬??„?s the problem with so many green products. What, exactly, is green?

    According to a report on green energy tariffs published by the National Consumer Council, Ecotricity source roughly 25% of their power from renewable sources ????‚¬??€? the rest is made up of energy from coal, nuclear and gas. In contrast, Good Energy source 100% of their energy from renewables.

    As the NCC report makes clear,

    For those customers who want a green electricity supply, pure and simple, [Good Energy] is probably the closest they can get to it.

    See? Change the meaning of what you call green and you get the total opposite of WhichGreen’s conclusion. To be fair, Ecotricity think the priority is to tip the balance of energy supply towards renewables ????‚¬??€? that????‚¬??„?s why they????‚¬??„?re so keen on investing in new windfarms. But that’s the category on which they base their eco beauty contest.

    I get this all the time. We????‚¬??„?re all judging each other????‚¬??„?s green-ness by our own standards, our own set of objectives. The bad thing about this is it makes for a gigantic, off-putting muddle for consumers.

    And Ecotricity????‚¬??„?s WhichGreen website – which appears at first sight to be a straightforward consumer site – doesn????‚¬??„?t really help much.

    As the NCC report says, there are too many ways to judge what green really is, and there are plenty of other deals you can get ????‚¬??€? including Good Energy????‚¬??„?s – which have a much firmer commitment to giving customers renewable-source energy right now. Ecotricity’s meaning of “green” – not necessarily everyone’s.

    As for me, I stand by my endorsement of both companies. They????‚¬??„?re both the good guys, and I don????‚¬??„?t think we should lose sight of that. We????‚¬??„?re aiming to get to the same place ????‚¬??€? it????‚¬??„?s just about different ways of getting there. It????‚¬??„?s up to consumers to decide their priorities are and choose which one they want to light up their lives.

    Photo by JohnnyAlive

    The eco paint job

    Sundance by Benjamin Moore Paint

    In the tech world, people regularly bandy around the phrase “early adopter”. If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase, here’s a quick definition:

    If you’re the first person to buy the first ludicrously overpriced piece of electronic equipment, you justify the shocking price to your partner/housemate/mum by calling yourself “an early adopter”, thus justifying your monstrous overspend on the latest GPS-enabled wireless-ready blueray-bearing gizmotronic thingy as essential in some Darwinian sense. If I hadn’t bought it I’d have perished like the rest of you losers!!!

    Instead, I’d like to celebrate those real early adopters – the ones who experimented with green technologies early so the likes of me can then amble behind in their footsteps. In real Darwinian terms, these are the heroes…

    I remember meeting a woman who’d set up an organic farm here in Sussex in the early 70s, raising what seemed like several dozen children, and getting by by the skin of her teeth to produce food that there was barely a market for in those days. Or the people who persisted with solar and wind energy in the 60s and 70s who were pilloried as sandal-wearing eccentrics.

    What turned my thoughts this way was the topic of eco paint. For reasons which I won’t go into now, but will do soon, I am extremely excited to have some walls to paint.

    And so I’ve been taking a look round to find some good eco paint products to slap on the walls. The fact that there is now a substantial range of this stuff on the market is testimony to the early adopters. Taking on the giants of the paint world isn’t easy. OK, so their products are environmentally lethal – packed with volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) like benzene, formaldehyde, ammonia, toluene and just about anything else ugly – but look! They come in such pretty shades and they’re so easy to apply in just one non-drip coat.

    To create a new business based around paint, you’re taking on a formidable set of competitors, who hold most of the cards. And you have to spend a lot of time experimenting with brownish goos extracted from plants that don’t function very well at all.

    But that hasn’t put people off. Over the last few years there’s an increasing number of small companies who are trying to make environmentally responsible products.

    The job – as dear old Eco Worrier pointed out some time ago – is to chose which one. Each eco paint product has its own set of environmental priorities. As happens all too often, suppliers knock each others’ products. “They’re not really eco-friendly.”….”There’s no such thing as an organic paint.”

    Anyway, working my way through the maze (I’ll spare you the details) I finally chose IEKO, a company in Forest Row, not too far from here.

    Karoly, the owner, opened the shop on his day off for me. I chose biopin white emulsion for the ceiling, biopin mushroom for the walls – and I’ve already put Osmo hard floor varnish on the floorboards, and it works a treat.

    I’m hoping to be able to stock his eco paints soon… I’ll keep you posted.

    The photo by Somewhat Frank is of a pot of paint by the American eco paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore, who, as it happens, do a range of EcoSpec green paints.

    How to win eco arguments

    /* cheap priligy online

    tags”, enterURL: “Enter the URL”, enterImageURL: “Enter the URL of the image”, enterImageDescription: “Enter a description of the image” }; try{convertEntities(quicktagsL10n);}catch(e){}; /* ]]> */


    Local global warming

    Actually, I hate arguments. However, if, like me, you’re totally dumbfounded when you meet someone who flatly denies that global warming is a problem, and regards it all as a giant conspiracy, Grist have a handy catechism of scientific information on the subject: every possible argument you will ever need to defeat a global warming denier. It’s here.

    A word of warning about the Grist feature. It is long. There are not many jokes.

    To be honest, some things are just as effectively communicated in a less verbal manner.

    Like this – (click on the Blue Man):

    Blue Man Group

    Photo of factories in Helsinki courtesy of sirlleszek.

    edCanvas = document.getElementById(‘content’);