Ecobuild 2008

February 29, 2008

Yesterday I braved the eco warrior hoards and went down to Ecobuild at Earls Court (www.ecobuild.co.uk).  Blimey what a scrum.  Clearly there’s something in the water as it seems everyone is either creating something to sell as Eco or else busily looking around for the next, new Low Carbon widget.  I particularly loved the air conditioning manufacturers being there. Next year you’ll be able to win a hybrid 4×4 I expect.  I guess it’s encouraging that so many companies feel that there’s money in being green but it did seem a bit desperate.  There was still a crazy amount of paper being given away that even the recycling bins at the side would never cope with.  I would like to know the full Carbon Footprint of Ecobuild, including making and bringing in all the stands, food, visitors etc. Has anyone out there calculated it?  Somehow I doubt it. Anyway what impressed?1. The Sustainable Building Association (AECB), (http://www.aecb.net/) launched their CarbonLite Programme – ‘a crash course in low energy buildings for the design and construction industry’, which usefully draws on experience in Europe and North America, as well as the UK, to provide a scheme that concentrates on simple design principles to achieve genuinely low energy buildings: http://www.carbonlite.org.uk2.  On a more domestic level the shower tray heat exchanger that provides heat recovery from the waste heat of a shower to prewarm water from the incoming main and reduce, it claims, by 50-70% the energy used by showering.  Apparently installed in 20% of all dutch housing and not yet available directly within the UK it is a simple yet effective way of reducing energy use. How much?  About £300 it was claimed, that pays itself back in 3-5 years depending, I guess, on the cleanliness or otherwise of the users.  They are looking for a UK distributor so if you know of anyone please get in touch (http://www.hei-tech.nl/)


Being your own guinea pig

February 5, 2008

So it’s not all perfect after all.  The rainwater harvesting system is not working despite much tinkering and hours on the phone to technical help.  After trying various settings and cleaning out the tank and pipe work the inescapable conclusion is that the pump is broken.  Thankfully it’s under warranty and the new one has just arrived.  I’ll let you know if it works once it’s in.  Just to be clear, we do still have the ability to flush the toilets since the default setting is that the system is fed direct from the mains (a good thing too with potty training going on).  So we are flushing our toilets with drinking water for now, just like everyone else.