Tuesday, September 23

Important Animated Message - do watch it all!


Green Screen Film Festival

Next month (18th and 19th Oct) there is an environmental film festival at the No3 Cinema in Portsmouth called Green Screen. Films on show will include Earth, An Inconvenient Truth, Refugees Of The Blue Planet and Garbage Warrior. There will also be talks by Phil Thornhill, Andrew Simms and Tim Baster.

More info link

Friday, September 5

Tories barely hang on to Waterloo seat

Waterloo ward nearly gained a Liberal Democrat councillor for the first time in decades (or ever?) yesterday after a close fought by-election returned a Tory again. Fred Dunford got 801 votes after mounting a significant door to door campaign in the area. The Tories scraped through with 849 votes.

Congratulations are due to Fred, having achieved a major change in voting patterns by working hard. It just shows how making an effort can make a difference.

Tuesday, September 2

Reducing That Electricity Bill - The Laundry

With a lot of electricity generated using fossil fuels, there is a direct link between reducing the electricity bill and cutting Green House Gas emissions. Here I will describe some of the ways I have used to try and reduce my electricity bill.

1. Stop using a tumble dryer.
I have to admit that over the last decade or so, access to a tumble dryer has made me 'addicted' to this previously unrequired technology. We are all to easily enticed into believing we need these conveniences, just so we can sit and vegetate on the couch watching TV.

But there are other ways of drying clothes without using a massive 3 kilowatts of energy for half an hour or an hour. My solution is to stick a clothes horse in the kitchen in the evening after I have done some cooking. The heat from the cooker cooling off warms the kitchen and dries the clothes. Note it is very important to have some ventilation so that condensation does not cause problems. A lack of ventilation means the moisture in the warm air from the drying clothes will lead to condensation on cold surfaces, this may then cause mould to grow, which is very unhealthy. However the advantage of drying clothes like this is that you are using waste heat instead of using new generated heat in a tumble dryer.

2. Use a washing line.
A simple, effective and traditional way of drying clothes. Note that I also have a small line that is outside AND undercover. The washing line undercover means that I can dry stuff even if the weather is unpredictable. This is a massive advantage and increases the drying options, negating the need for a tumble dryer. I have to say this is also a new thing and i haven't yet tried the undercover line in cold winter conditions!

3. Use a separate spin dryer?
This is a new idea for me and i have yet to try it out in the winter. The idea is to supplement the spin dry of the washing machine with an extra spin dry of a dedicated spin drying machine. The reason for this is that dedicated spin dryers attain a much higher speed than a washing machine, thus extracting more water. This should in turn reduce the drying time, using much less energy than would be used by a tumble dryer (You would need to check the spin drying speed of the washing machine and the speeds of dedicated spin dryers, the idea certainly holds true for our washing machine!).
Anyway that is my theory, I will see during the coming winter if it works.

Combining these ideas, my intention is to kick the tumble drying habit and to make a dent in the now growing electricity bill. Despite recent price increases i hope to at least have electricity bills in the future that are similar to previous years, with some luck i should even be able to reduce it!