Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Community Powerdown session 7

This session was on the home. Or housing, which is different. The homework reading, Energy in the Home by Patrick Waterfield, was ok but mainly filled with the usual turn off your appliances, insulate, showers instead of bath, don't buy too many gadgets. All individual. The only thing it made me think twice about was to block off gaps around skirting boards or pipes going into external walls. It had nothing on community, on sharing living space, or sharing walls in flats rather than homes, that living in denser housing is much more ecologically sound. That we need to think about living together, sharing resources, this makes much more sense.

There was a point later in the class about living and working in your home, I'm not sure I'd like that, there is a book called Living above the Shop by James Pike, produced by Comhar. Important to help non-eco houses refit to be better insulated. The Village in Cloughjordan will work with 500 local houses nearby that are not part of the project to reduce their energy consumption. Learnt that it's good to have something with thermal mass such as bricks, mud or a watertank beside windows that are in the sun, to absorb the solar energy and give it off later. Windows dont' have much thermal mass. Apparently Coillte may have FSC approval now which a lot of people are very unhappy about and that would seem to make a mockery of that certification. A group possibly called Energy Action go out and help insulate the homes of the old, and disabled, which is pretty good. Old style masonry stoves called 'pishka' in Russian would heat the bench, bed, different areas, with its heat. I do think ovens waste a lot. And hot water, there must be something to do with the hot water we throw away, the heat of it, from boiling vegetables, showers, baths, washing up, washing machines. Something to do with all that hot water. Ideas welcome.

A new IPCC report may indicate we have only 7 years now to change everything. We changed the group exercise to think about how would we convince others about making changes in their homes. I think it has to be tangible and relevant to them, and for a lot of people that means money. Get people to look at their bills, actually read them, and then say ok I'm going to help you save 10% on that bill in 3 months, that becomes real. The article had the old chestnut that reducing your thermostat by 1 degree can save you 10% on your heating costs - I hate hearing this, it is so obviously incorrect, has to depend on so many factors like how high your heating is anyway, how it's provided, your insulation, etc etc. A green party person said logic was key, just showing what's being wasted. This is often my main focus - there's just so much waste. We are literally flushing away and burning energy, and money. Creating things just to throw them away. Building in waste. And that has to change. There's the need for education, and real skills. Creative sharing, like communal power tools and parties to teach how to use them. Clothes exchange parties. Shame or pride lists for good performances. The Green Party You Tube on the world you're leaving your kids. Communal washing machines. Greenpeace tickets on SUVs. I suggested lots of parties, have a dinner party, save energy, create your own heat, and have some fun. It has to be fun or what's the point?



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