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Friday, October 7, 2011


You will have noticed adverts in the sidebar.                                               

One is a big red Phytoseiulus which is there to draw attention to my cousin’s bio-control company. (Phytoseiulus eat Spider Mites.) I put it there for free because she’s family. Recently, I began to accept some paid-for adverts. (How can you tell I’ve hit hard times?)

On my other blog (Esther’s Garden Notes) there’s an advert for Paving and Walling - and a representative from Wickes (the company which sells said Paving and Walling) got back to me and asked if I would review their Energy Saving Infographic (his description, not mine). I thought about it - and decided I would. So here it is. But I want to make it very clear that I've only written what I would have written if, upon waking this morning, I’d had a sudden and unaccountable thought that I’d like to write about that very page. And why not? That’s how most posts arise! After all, I reviewed Charles Dickens’ ‘Nicholas Nickleby’  . . ' - and he didn’t pay me a sou!

(Do people still say that?)
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An Infographic, it turns out, is information with pictures - and the pictures on this Infographic (it’s such a funny word, I’ve got a bit stuck on it) are about energy saving in the home.

You can reach a readable version
by clicking
It’s familiar stuff - don’t leave the water tap running while you brush your teeth. (Try telling this to Didcott!) Don’t put more water in the kettle than you need. (The less income you have coming into the family, the more you are likely to heed this!) Insulate your attic, lag hot water tanks, turn off electric standbys  . . . And vague estimates - for example that A+ rated washing machines, fridges and freezers use 50% less energy than much older machines. (I could write a whole post about that!)
(In our family we save 100 % of such energy by not owning a fridge or a freezer  - I could write a whole post about that too - several!)

So what about the less familiar? (To me, that is.)

There are two suggestions which specially caught my eye.

The first is to do with putting pipes and a pump under your garden where the temperature is a constant 10 degrees. (At what depth? And is this really the same wherever you live?) Apparently, you can take advantage of this to create under-floor heating for your house. I’d not heard of this before so I began searching around on the Wickes site. Is there a recipe or a kit? Would I need a builder to do it for me? (Well, of course I would - but what about a clever enthusiast?) Can’t find a thing. I’ll have to do a bit more exploring.

The other is sun-pipes which let light in through your roof.

In the Philippines there’s a man called Illac Diaz who is illuminating the homes and schools of the very, very poor with lights made from plastic drinks bottles, water, a dash of bleach and small squares of metal. They cost a dollar each to make and give the equivalent in light of a 60 watt bulb. They work indefinitely and with no cost as long as the sun shines. To us, lights which work only in the day, might seem pointless  - but if you live in a windowless home in a slum, it can be of enormous, ENORMOUS, value.

Here’s a link to a short BBC video report about it.

But back to the Infographic and the sun-pipes  . . . Type ‘sun-pipes’ into the Wickes site and it gets you no-where. I think they must be thinking of things like the ‘Flexi Sun Lights’ - which you can buy from Wickes. (Though I would be reluctant to drill a hole through my roof.)

(How many builders read my blog?)

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(How’s that for an info-ad? Ad-review? Post?)
* * *
Brilliant. The wind has just blown a big container of bottles and tins for recycling across our garden.

P.S. For my posts on Nicholas Nickleby:-


Cro Magnon said...

I look forward to hearing about your fridge-freezer-free life.

Those bottle lights are great. But, as you say, not much use for those who want light at night

Esther Montgomery said...

Hello Cro Magnon.

I'll have to remember to write a fridge and freezer post then!

(I've accumulated so many topics I've promised to write about I've lost track of some. I remember one of is what colour shirt my husband wore at our wedding!)


Elephant's Eye said...

Boink the No FRIDGE post up to the top of your list please Esther. For years I resisted a freezer on principle. Worked when we lived in the city and I could shop for food twice a week. (I can even remember when we had milk delivered to the door, aeons ago)

But I gave in, and now rely on the freezer for a week's supply of organic milk, sliced low GI bread, fresh soup mix, portions of butter (we eat low fat), and frozen veg for the cupboard is bare end of the week.

And the solar light tubes. Up market versions are used in South Africa for bathrooms that are internal, no window just an electric fan. Not in our house.

wellywoman said...

Loved the post. Wow no freezer or fridge. That's a post you should write. My husband's doing an OU degree in Environmental Studies so I'll show him the post.

Gail said...

I've actually seen the sun-lights in a home we visited in NM~it did bring in the light~But, like you, not sure I want to have someone cut into my roof. gail

linniew said...

Well then I'll just be sitting here waiting on the refrigerator story. Does the iceman cometh??

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I have sunlights in my bedroom. So far, they don't leak. I love looking up at the stars at night. I don't know if I could live w/o my fridge and freezer. Fewer trips to the store, less gas for me. :))~~Dee

Janet said...

We thought about getting a ground source heat pump in our home in Orkney but it meant digging up the garden. It was also soooo expensive even with grants. I do know folk that have them and think they are a great saving.
Esther, you're going to have to write that post about living without fridge and freezer.e're all waiting with baited breath!

Amanda said...

We've got the underground pipes and a sunpipe here. Both installed by professionals, though. The former involved drilling 150-foot holes, but that's because we don't have enough depth of soil to lay the pipes horizontally (curse those Ice Age glaciers which stole our soil!). In the winter it does a good job of keeping the house warm (supplemented by woodstoves when it gets really cold) and in the summer we use it to cool us down. The unit which runs it works like a fridge (so you might object to it, on principle!).

Our landing doesn't have a window, so when we put on a new roof we installed the light-pipe thing and now it's nice and bright (even at night, if there's a big moon!).

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Count me in as another voter for a "no fridge or freezer" living post, we have two fridges and three freezers and I can't imagine life without them - though at least they are all A+. I love sunpipes, such a genius idea, I saw a Grand Designs episode where they built an earth-sheltered home and the light in the bedrooms, which were all at the back, came from sunpipes. I also lust after a ground source heat pump connected to pipes running all over the garden - I love the idea of energy for free (once you have paid the installation costs of course). I have a dream of finding a house that has a borehole for water and a south facing roof for solar cells so that we can be off grid almost completely, and I could run lots of freezers for free...

Esther Montgomery said...

Hello Everyone. You may like to know I have now posted a post about fridges.