I was having a conversation with some pals of mine at an afternoon tea. The sort of thing I find myself doing rather too regularly. When I worked in offices and with colleagues , we discussed a wide range of topics. We were always happy just discussing current affairs and the problems of home life . . . . With my newer group of pals, they seem to focus on moaning rather a lot – about the cost of everything and the wearability of nothing. I was listening to a couple of ladies arguing whether it is best to hang washing outside in all weathers or if it dries quicker inside, hanging up on a clothes horse. At least they agreed that tumble drying was no longer acceptable unless in a dire emergency. The wasted fuel consumption cannot be excused. I was waiting for the banning of dishwasher use but that still comes under the heading of ‘absolute necessity’! The amount of water wasted to get it hot enough for hand washing is appalling, so dishawashers win on that basis. Apparently.
Sometimes our wastage of earth’s precious resources does take the breath away. I live soI know I could do more.lo most of the time. Family come and use the house as they need but I spend more time alone than not. Keeping on top of recycling, making sure I turn off as many electrical items as I can and driving much more carefully. After having had some advanced driving lessons a few years ago, I am constantly looking at my speed and how my car affects those around me. The same can be said for my use of electricity. Generally, I turn off every lamp that isn’t needed including the downlights in the family kitchen and sitting rooms. But staying recently with my American grandchildren, they don’t recycle at all in their part of Texas. They did have a local collection system but it didn’t seem to show that stuff was being handled any differnt to the normal landfill so they stopped.
There are various options out there for families to try and cut down their reliance on mainstream energy supplies. It must be everyone’s dream to be able to live off the grid and produce our own energy, eggs from chickens, veges from the garden or allotment etc. This is not always easy in practice. However, getting advice on the right kind of domestic solar energy is the first step to achieving these ideals. Photovoltaics, known as PV solar panels capture the suns rays and convert this energy into useable power from dc to ac. In most cases it’s not possible to store surplus energy at the home so it has to be either used as generated, or some exported to the national grid. It is therefore advisable to ensure you use big power drawing items in the day whilst making electricity; use only one item at a time; charge phones and tablets in the daytime.
There’s a very small bungalow fairly near me. Before an extension was added, it could never have cost a great deal to run on the main grid – there were only two small bedrooms, a kitchen/diner, sitting room and bathroom. However way back forty or so years ago, the owner was absolutely set on generating his own energy supplies. He was an engineer and had connections with a power company. He designed and built his own wind turbine ‘windmill’ and happily lived off the grid, or as much as he could, for years. When he had to move away, the local ‘windmill’ was taken down and lay forlorn on the ground for years. This seemed such a pity that a pioneering scheme that must have been successful for the householder, was redundant and unloved! Today it is critical for the country to find alternative energy sources. Where there’s wind, there’s a way it seems as domestic diy wind power is actually available and within our reach.
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!
Every so often we hear on the news that the government is investing in this scheme or that. Billions of £s is used up in the quest for saer, cheaper, longer lasting energy sources. In France they have relied on hydro power for many years and their nuclear power plants serve many thousands of families. These have been effective at delivering electrical power over many decades and we are now seriously trying similar but not anywhere near fast enough. Our reliance on fossil fuels has caused immense damage to landscapes and the CO2 emissions. Every company now wants to be able to boast that they are carbn neutral – whatever that means. It seems unlikely that a huge company operating every day with verhicles and people hammering around constantly can possibly be carbon neutral – but that is the aim. I’m sure there must be pamphlets and articles explaining this wheeze and we have to believe them!
We are forever being bombarded by tv and radio advertisements imploring us to switch our utility suppliers. Well someone must be making a lot of money when we do, otherwise they wouldnt keep on about it. I personally have not changed my supplier since way back in 2012. I had a house lodger then who just happened to work for a utility company during his down time as a hard working university student and he found them extremely nice folk to work with who sold very reasonably priced utilities, especially the electricity. I signed up with them to get a good deal on my broadband – it was so good that if I changed my gas, electric and home phone too, I got a good contract mobile phone deal. So I did change and my bills almost halved. It was staggering how much less I was then paying – and still am. My electricity is still rediculously cheap compared with my friends and neighbours.
When I was growing up we looked on electricity as a rather precious commodity. My parents were very particular about not wasting it – making it sound as though we only had a small pot to last us out. How funny that we are in exactly that siutation now, so many years later! In fact we use electricity for more things than we would ever have imagined back in the sixties. Cars for example. . . . the only time we’d have seen an electric car would have been in a sci fi programme, or at the funfair – the dodgems were run that way. Of course the quiet and always reliable milk float. Great loads of milk tugged around the town behind the familiar cab. Strangely there are few of those about these days just when we need them most – my milkman now delivers in a diesel van! My son & daughter have electric vans for their business and they always plug in to recharge when they visit me. It hasn’t made any difference to my electricity bill in the few months they’ve done this.