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.
What we all need wen Christmas and the new year comes around is a jolly good, healthy walk. Out in the brisk winter sunshine. Hats and coats on with gloves. Nothing makes you feel more alive and bursting with the joy of being so, than seeing the countryside still ticking over and uually a wind farm or individual power wind mill. This is the case near me. A couple of small holdings are equipped with all sorts of schemes. Solar panels, fields with panels propped like lurching bushes, just that bit blacker and shinier.
The need to help preserve as much energy for ourselves as possible is really coming home and it is also getting very much easier. There are experts out there who have studied the whys and wherefors of each scheme. Government advisers are usually available to ensure we don’t get ripped off by fly merchants.
I was out in the deepest countryside the other day. Fields as far as the eye could see. I was with pals who have lived out in the middle of this farmland for over 40 years, having bought an old cottage when they married and 7 years later, the one next door and then knocked through. It’s a lovely old place and very warm, comfortable and a country idyll! Whilst we were out and about, my hosts happily agreed that the nearby wind farm that had caused such a fearsome argument and high court action just a few short years ago, was no problem, they never think about the windmills now and even though it was quite breezy, we couldn’t hear them, but could obviously see the sails elegantly doing their stuff! The village gets paid for surplus energy fed back to the grid. So diy energy indeed!
On one of my brisk post lunch walkies, taking an alternative route, I ralised just how many houses have had the go to middle class home improvement installed – by this I mean the solar panels that feed back to the grid when surplus is detected. It is amazing the changes that have come about in a very few years possibly because school aged children have had their school teachers banging on to them about being prepared and ready for every eventuality with the weather. I know that letters went home to parents some years ago stating that changes to the school building would be necessary if they were every going to get solar panels. They did get them eventually and this subject didn’t seem out of the ordinary and the fuss died away.
Now the private houses are all clammering to have their own versions of the solar panel energy harnessing.
Gosh how strange this year’s weather is turning out to be. No sooner had we had the hottest fortnight on record in July, we then went back to the wettest summer and the coldest August etc. Whilst we’re whinging about chilly nights, or hot humid ones, the poor folk in Houston are mopping up from the worst rainfalls ever recorded and Hurrican Harry has moved on elsewhere to be replaced out in the caribbean by Isla.
It is unbelievable – when I was growing up. one of these events in a child’s lifetime was rare and so unsual that it made the news for weeks and weeks. Keeping our own little powerhouse in tact and efficient is absolutely essential these days. Home solar and wind energy systems are really going to come into their own. Time to investigate this very seriously. We must do everything we can to mitigate our own losses for future crises!
Just currently we’re suffering dreadful weather – the middle of the school summer holidays, and after a blisteringly hot June and July, we have the wettest and windiest August on record. Yet a few short weeks ago we saw tennis players suffering terribly from heat exposure and having to be given extra cloakroom time. The tv coverage helpfully showed notices put up for all the crowds to drink plenty of water/fluid, to slap on high factor sun protection, to cover up skin, and to wear hats at all times. It seems inconceivable now that this was happening only 2 months ago. In South West London!
Global warming is most certainly a reality and we have to get into the swing of accepting it and doing our bit to help control our little bit. Thankfully there are agencies about who we can engage to help with our solar and wind energy needs in advance of the others!