I have recently been on a little travel experience to a very hot island in the Med. Although the major towns are extremely built up, latterly with holiday apartments and hotel blocks, there still are hundreds of simple houses up in the hills off the main drag. Being up in the hills and away from the hustle and bustle, and humidity, of the big town, means the air remains hot but less sultry, for most of the day. Lastely though they too have suffered massive storms and high winds. These are things they’re not at all used to. The home and domestic wind turbines have always been used for very limited power extraction until 1963 many of the villages didnt have electricity or running water. My friend who lives over there has her own solar panels and she does her utmost to save using the electricity supply – it is expensive. So energy saving is second nature there!
DIY WIND - HOME IMPROVEMENTS
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We rather take for granted all the power we have at our fingertips. I remember very well many a winter’s day or night when our power would flicker and go off. We would be ready, the emergency candle and matches box was always kept in the same easy to locate space under the stairs. That position chosen because there was a huge fanlight over the front door and daylight/moonlight used to shine down to around that spot. We used to have an electric stove then because the old range cooker used to take too much effort to get going – it was solid fuel and we needed a constant supply of wood and other combustables. Once my grandma became too frail to constantly keep the range fed, swept, filled, etc. my mother refused to take on the burden, so the shiny new electric stove was installed nearby. Didn’t have the character but cooked much quicker!
I was looking out at the fantastic view from the small ballroom of a stately home the other week. The view had been there forever, since time began. The ballroom a bit less, from the late 1800s. I could see from my vantage point, the very pretty lake that stretched across my view. It’s been used for heating the house for many years and there is now a modern heat transfer system that uses 60 coils of cable under the lake that absorbs and exchanges the energy into heat. In the old days, a previous owner of the house had become knowledgeable in all matters of saving energy – not necessarily from saving the planet point of view, but more along the lines of saving their bank balance. However, the innovations he introduced have been improved upon throughout the last 140 years. Modern slow burning and smokeless fuel used to come from the family colliery. Modern indeed!
There is a heritage property near me that sits in nearly 4000 acres of landscalping and working farmland. The house has always been good at earning enough for the owners to allow them to be comfortable and to retain up to live in servants. The second generation of the owner who had the hall built decided to dig out a lake, primarily for beauty and then fishing reasons. He was one for innovations though and soon found a way of generating very basic heating system from the lake – the house does this in much more modern ways now with coils underneath extracting heat from the water. Most gents who visit find this sort of info much more interesting than other domestic history. There are also remnants of more efficient coal balls that were made with 60 percent clay and 40 percent coal, used for the ovens and domestic fires. Early energy saving to be loudly applauded!
I was out walking with some chums recently – to what sounds idyllic, an abbey in the next town. Of course, this abbey sceased to be used as a religious house in the culling by Henry VIII. Since then it has been derelict, rebuilt, derelict and rebuilt again. It is now owned and managed by the county council and they had a grand opening of the newly refurished site. It was really impressive to walk around the luscious honey coloured stone building – with our printed guide in hand, we duly noted the medievil windows and chimney stacks; we saw corbels and cupolas. But mostly we noted but did not see the very discretely installed energy saving devices. The specially designed solar panels up on the roof and all the chandeliers with specially cheap to run candle LEDs. Old beauty reflecting very modern needs.
There has been much in the news and media about the cost of utilities going up and up. This is probably understandable in terms of our weather this winter having been the worst on record in places. When the really cold weather stikes, we all put the heating on a little bit earlier each afternoon. The result is a massive overuuse of our national grid for the electricity needed. The gas is brought in via pipelines from across the continents. This has always worried me – as soona s it was obivous we had wasted and thrown away that precious resourse – North sea gas, we were in trouble! We hae to conserve fuel now. Each faily has the option of putting some sort of diy energy saving device on their property. We ust be encouraged to do whatever is needed to minimise our electrical footprint on this planet – to keep what we have for those who come after us.
We are so busy with our variouos occupations and family activities that some times it is really difficult to concentrate on the really serious things around us when it comes to looking after our bit of the planet. I was chatting to a young man who had recently moved from a small, neat and very economical starter home out to a pile in the country. He will have quite a shock in store when his bills start rolling in – it is very old, very thick stone, but not very warm – none of the insulation techniques that he enjoyed in his little house. The windows are double glazed, that is one blessing. The water and central heating is dealt with by way of oil fired boiler with a separate pressurised tank which somehow manages to provide fantastically hot water to the taps, showers, and critically – the radiators! Just the electricitiy to try and save the use of.
Well we have had a mixed bag of weather this winter. As I speak we are just getting to the end of the first stage of really strong gusty weather which was forecast last week. This has taken some by surprise as it was much stronger and for longer period than first mentioned. There hae been all sorts of consequences too, with trees and fences coming down all over the place. Before this batch of weather came absolutely torential rain. Just a day after the snow fall had started to thaw and then frozen over again. It has been truly bizarre. But we have been warned about this – over at least the last 30 years, people have banged on about global warming and the need for us to take action. Home diy wind capture for converting to our own energy supply and the same with solar power for domestic use. These are essential and can be achieved today!