Monthly Archives: August 2010

Environmental pioneer awards

The Environment Agency is asking for nominations for its first environmental pioneers awards.

Anyone who has had any dealings with the Environment Agency, to try to get permission to install a hydro scheme for example, may want to consider nominating the Environment Agency themselves. But they seem to have omitted any suitable category such as:

An award to recognise a public sector organisation that consistently achieves outstanding results in prevarication, procrastination, deviation and time-wasting whilst lining the pockets of specialist consultants on carbon emissions, energy use, waste and environmental impact. And encourages its staff to take similar steps in their everyday lives.

DIY SOS goes green

BBC TV’s DIY SOS series finally turns a shade of green – and not before time.

Tonight’s episode featured Charlie Luxton helping the team to install insulation, rainwater harvesting, low energy lamps and photovoltaic panels to help reduce a Welsh family’s energy usage – although only a small part of the programme covered these and not to a great depth. But let’s hope that this is the start of a trend.

Available on iPlayer (if you’re in the UK) for the next week.

Sustainability Training and Education Programme

The UK Green Building Council have launched a new series of training courses under their Sustainability Training and Education Programme (STEP) umbrella.

The introductory online 8 hours CPD course will cover:

  • Introduction to sustainability, sustainable development and systems in the built environment; identifying sustainability issues;
  • Key responses and events timeline; developing a strategy for sustainable development;
  • Addressing issues such as energy, water and waste at each stage of the property lifecycle; defining legislation and standards; exploring technical responses and solutions;
  • Investigating communication and engagement as tools for achieving sustainability; exploring the roles of individual stakeholders;
  • Review of real case studies; identify how to gain an advantage when achieving sustainability.

The course costs £199 + VAT for UK-GBC members and £249 + VAT for non-members.

New Rules for the New Economy

Kevin Kelly’s book ‘New Rules for the New Economy‘ is available freely online here: – a highly recommended read.  Here’s a quick excerpt:

No one can escape the transforming fire of machines. Technology, which once progressed at the periphery of culture, now engulfs our minds as well as our lives. Is it any wonder that technology triggers such intense fascination, fear, and rage?
Continue reading

Welsh Assembly launches project to help with MCS accreditation

A new package of support to help Welsh Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) profit from the renewable energy sector has been launched by Environment Minister Jane Davidson.

The Environment Minister unveiled a programme aimed at helping Welsh businesses to achieve the necessary accreditation to install microgeneration technology such as solar panels and heat pumps.

Through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), small and medium sized renewable energy installation companies will be able to access interest free loans to cover the cost of gaining MCS accreditation.

Eligible companies will also be able to access the services of a development officer who will provide free and impartial advice to steer them through the accreditation process.


Renewables info sheets

Putting together a series of info sheets for the Trawsnewid Calon Teifi Energy Group led me to review the info sheets I had read over the past few years from other sources. Here’s a useful list – although some are now a bit out-of-date after the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff back in April this year as far as the financial aspects are concerned.

Generally these are all one or two page general introductions to the various topics.

I authored the Green Construction and Wind Energy factsheets for the BGI, a few years ago now. I have updated the BGI Wind Energy factsheet to reflect the changes brought about by the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff and those changes were incorporated from my own webpage.

Useless holiday facts #27

The purpose built barges used to transport wind turbine blades from the Isle of Wight to the mainland are called ‘Blade Runners‘ – a small homage to the 1982 Ridley Scott sci-fi movie inspired by the novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ by Philip K Dick.

Even though the Vestas factory is now closed, I think, there was one running yesterday delivering into Cowes, just as we were heading in the opposite direction.

Flash in the pan?

Apple’s new iPad is hot and beautiful and, yes, sexy and runs, so Apple claims, for 10 hours on battery power alone.  But it doesn’t run Flash, which is a problem for kids wanting to play the hundreds, if not thousands, of free games on the web. But is that enough to stop huge numbers of people buying the iPad? Probably not.

So what is the secret of the long, 1000 recharge-cycle battery life? Lithium-polymer batteries – but the downside is reported long recharge times. Which seems a little strange to me as Lithium batteries are not supposed to be trickle-charged but should be fully charged in less than 2 hours. I wonder why this is and if it is an indicator of longer term battery problems for the iPad?

And, yes, this post was written on an iPad, in Apple’s Southampton store, while back home I have a Dell laptop that keeps nagging me to buy a new battery for it at a cost of ‘only’ £150. The entry level iPad is just £429.

Wind speed predictions

I ignore NOABL now for all intents and purposes as the Carbon Trust model is based on more data points and more recent data as well.

There is a study on long term trends of wind patterns in response to climate change but I’d have to say that the results I have seen here over the past 4 years are the exact opposite of the predictions.

All models would be improved with the introduction of standard deviation figures so that you could see what the, say, 10 year max and min range is.

Also, I’ve never been happy with applying the average annual windspeed to obtain a Weibull distribution mainly because I’ve never found the scientific research (for the UK) that backs it up.

In the end you need to take predictions for what they are – just an educated guess.