Friday, 27 July 2012

New Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Revs Up At Keele University

Keele University Science and Business Park, is now the proud owner, of what is hopefully the first of many, vertical-axis wind turbines, installed and developed by McCamley UK Ltd as part of a national plan, to transform how cities generate their renewable energy.

This prototype for a new verticle-axis wind turbine, has a revolutionary design, that allows several of the many issues commonly associated with the large horizontal-axis turbines, to be overcome. Urban wind turbines have always had a tough time in the UK, with most opposition being centred around the fact that they are potential eyesores, being both to large and too costly.

The McCamley MT101 Mk2, now installed at Keele University, can deal with the stronger and more turbulent gusts, that are often found in Urban areas. Furthermore, the McCamley turbine is self-starting at wind speeds as low as 2 metres per second, not having to draw power from the electrical grid to restart when the wind has dropped below a certain level, unlike standard wind turbines. It also has no cut-out speed and can continue to operate in storm winds, thus increasing its operational weather window. It is even animal friendly, as no bird or bats have been recorded as ever having come into contact with the MK1 version of the machine, in trials around Europe and this is expected to be the case also, for the Mk2.

The parts for the MT101 Mk2 are produced to 'flat-pak', using storable parts and as such, retrofitting and installation onto a roof without a supporting mast, is now easily achieved. Not just for use in urbanised areas, the vertical-axis wind turbine can also be applied on farms and associated rural areas.

The potential for wind energy in the UK is huge and McCamley UK have found a niche in the market, that has been waiting to be filled. Dr Scott Elliot, CEO of McCamley UK Ltd, believes that, "Traditional farm models are just not effective and certainly not suitable for urban environments." The MT101 Mk2 has the potential to be the "new face of wind energy" and is "completely scalable, from 12 KW designs to larger megawatt designs". Dr. Scott Elliot feels that this will potentially, "allow residential blocks and other organisations to benefit from clean energy".

This is a great new innovation and one the wind industry desperately needs. Bad press over ugly, imposing wind turbines may hopefully, one day, be a thing of the past and the anti-wind complainers may at last, have had the wind taken out of their constantly flapping sails.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Three Energy Efficient musicians and their positive impact on our generation and generations to come.

All three of these celebrities have one thing in common, apart from being great musicians - The are all avid supporters of sustainable, environmentally friendly and energy efficient products and projects. 

Willie Nelson, world famous American country star is a prime example. Did you know he developed his own alternative fuel called 'BioWillie' ? Back in 2004, shortly after his wife bought a diesel car, that she made the choice to fuel only with biodiesel, Nelson became interested in biofuels. He was so impressed with the energy efficiency and performance that biofuels give and the potential therein, to end America's reliance on imported fuel, that he decided to develop his own brand of biodiesel. This also helped provide family farmers, who were going through seriously difficult financial times, the much needed work to produce it. With help from another interested party, he built two Pacific Biodiesel plants in Salem, Oregon and Carl's Corner in Texas. 

Joni Mitchel, the often named mother of Canadian folk, has spoken out against clear cutting, the controversial forestry/logging practice in which most or all trees in an area are uniformly cut down and uranium mining for nuclear weapons. Any environmentalist worth their salt, knows the classic track "Big Yellow Taxi" and the iconic lines, "That you don't know what you've got til its gone, they paved paradise, and put in a parking lot". Prophetic words that resonate deeply within the sustainability movement to this day.

Neil Young, the Canadian singer-songwriter and folk rock legend, has always had the allegiance and support of environmentalists. He has an immense passion for electric cars, so much so, that in conjunction with LincVolt, he embarked on converting his classic 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV convertible, into a hybrid-electric plug-in car of the future. His album, "Fork In The Road" was inspired by the movement to transform American petrol guzzling cars, into the electric vehicles of the modern age. 

There are many more celebrities who act as shining examples for energy efficient practice and sustainability around the world and it can only be a good thing that they funnel some of their huge fortune into such environmentally sound projects and movements. Children are easily swayed by famous musicians, much like we were many moons ago and it is heartening to see people with such power to create positive change in the world, spreading such an important message. A message that could influence the young minds of the future, to work in harmony with nature, as opposed to the current trend of 'bling' culture and self fulfilment, that is unfortunately promoted by many of today's talentless superstars.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Denver Sun Sponge: Opening My Eyes to Possibility: An Insider’s View ...

Denver Sun Sponge: Opening My Eyes to Possibility: An Insider’s View ...: Before I attended the combined 2012  World Renewable Energy Forum  (WREF) and  American Solar Energy Society  (ASES) national conference, I ...

University of California Research GPS That Picks Energy Efficient Route

Researchers at the University of California are working on a route system that is GPS based and could potentially allow Electric Vehicles to drive 10 per cent further on a single charge. 

Researchers at the Riverside Centre for Environmental Research and Technology are developing an eco-routing algorithm that will be able to select the most energy efficient travel route based on weather, traffic, road type and grade as well as passenger and cargo weight. 
Up until now GPS systems would pick the best route based on distance, travel time and on more expensive systems, traffic flow would added to the equation. They have not, as yet taken into account vehicle emissions or energy efficiency when determining the most favourable route. 
While it may be some time before we see GPS with energy efficiency calculators hit the market, the development could be a real aid to owners of electric vehicles, as their range can fluctuate significantly. owing to road, traffic and weather conditions. 
For example, the Nissan Leaf, according to research, can have a range that varies from 47 to 138 miles, depending on such factors as the above. That would mean that an increase in range as little as 10 per cent, could make a difference to electric vehicle drivers, running out of battery charge on their way back home. 
Electric vehicles are still slow to take off in the UK, but in the next ten years they may well be come more common place, with new technological advances in the pipeline, to make them more practical and affordable. The future is definitely here and electric, talking, automatically GPS driven cars, akin to those in the blockbuster film “Demolition Man”, may soon be available in the real world. Thank you for your time citizens :-)
Article By Paul Patane for Just EPC

Sunday, 22 July 2012

DECC Study Finds People In UK More Concerned About Unemployment Than Climate Change.

Analysis of DECC findings from a public survey on attitudes to climate change and energy security.
In March 2012, the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) set up a public tracking survey to monitor public attitudes to climate change, energy efficiency and other main DECC business priorities. One set of questions was asked quarterly and the other questions asked annually, all done using face to face interviews with households in the UK. 
Wave One of the findings was published on July 9 2012 and the results are not at all encouraging. For the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on people’s attitudes to climate change and energy security. A further article on attitudes the DECC found in people regarding energy efficiency in the UK, will follow shortly, as this in itself, deserves a discussion of its own. 
Disconcertingly enough, to quote the DECC summary of main points ” Few see energy supply and climate change as the biggest challenges facing Britain today (3% saying energy supply and 2% climate change versus 43% unemployment) “. This is interesting, as the amount of jobs now being created as a direct result of initiatives aimed to combat climate change, is becoming a significant part of the employment mix in the UK. 
For example, the Green Deal is providing a host of opportunities for people to learn and train as Green Deal advisor’s and suppliers around the country and the amount of firms that have recently sprung up, directly related to this, is significant. If we go over to the renewable power industry and examine the amount of jobs that have been created through technologies such as Solar PV, Wind Power and Biofuels, to name but a few, then unemployment can only have been helped by the drive towards combating climate change in the UK. 
Article by Paul Patane for Just EPC

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Government Delays Crucial Decision On Renewable Energy Subsidies

The government has reportedly delayed a crucial decision on subsidy levels for wind farms and other forms of renewable energy, after ministers failed to resolve a stand-off between Chancellor George Osborne and senior Liberal Democrats.
An announcement on the level of support that renewable energy projects can expect to receive through the Renewables Obligation Certification (ROC) subsidy mechanism through to 2017 had been expected today, with ministers repeatedly stressing that they wanted to confirm the details before the summer's parliamentary recess.
Renewable-energy developers have complained that millions of pounds of investment is currently on hold as a result of the lack of clarity over the returns they can expect.
But according to reports in both theTelegraph and the Financial Times,the crucial decision has now been delayed until the autumn amid ongoing disagreements at the top of the coalition over the level of support that should be made available to onshore wind farms.
Read More Here at Business

Friday, 13 July 2012

We Need New Leadership For Sustainable Business, Society And The World

Ken Starkey, Guardian Professional, Friday 13 July 2012 16.12 BST

We are living through an unprecedented period of economic crisis, one where ecological sustainability now needs to be seen in the context of economic and social sustainability. This requires a new way of thinking about and doing business that makes sustainability its core principle if we are to manage our way successfully out of the current situation.
The key problem in effectively embedding environmental sustainability into business is that business leaders need to break out of a prevailing mindset where nature is viewed as little more than a means to an end.
Similarly, the financial and ensuing economic and societal crises will only be resolved when business leaders, politicians, and the economists whose ideas they draw on recognise that we can no longer continue to use economic resources and ideas as a means to furthering the interests of a few at the expense of the many.

Full Article Here

Figures Reveal U.K. Number One in Global Energy Efficiency League

U.K. Renewable power mix on target for 2020 as new figures reveal real how far the country has progressed in its mission to combat climate change.

Recent figures released in a recent study by the Washington-based non-profit organisation, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, revealed that the U.K. came number 1 in an energy efficiency league of 12 of the largest economies. Germany, Japan, Italy and France followed in the rankings along with Australia, China and the European Union as a whole (including Britain), who all tied for sixth. The U.S. was in at number 9, with the booby prize going to Brazil, Canada and Russia, who limped in at the end.

The nations were ranked by the council across 27 categories that covered buildings, transportation, industry and other areas of energy efficiency. The categories covered all other areas of the economy. Two such categories were “policy” metrics such as the presence of a national energy savings target and energy consumption and "performance” measures like energy consumption relative to economic output.

This comes after government figures were released which showed a record increase in the use of green energy. The figures revealed that renewable energy generated by sun, wind and waves accounted for 11 per cent of the U.K.’s energy mix in the first three months of 2012, compared with 7.7 per cent from January to march last year.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Just EPC see demand for EPCs Rise as Green Deal Approaches

Just EPC see demand for EPCs Rise as Green Deal Approaches: October sees the launch in the domestic property market for the long awaited Green Deal energy efficiency initiative. Here at Just EPC we are already receiving hundreds of calls from people inquiring about Energy Performance Certificates in relation to eligibility for Green Deal finance. The Green Deal offers domestic property owners a means by which to finance energy efficiency improvements and property upgrades at no up front cost, providing the upgrades see a return equal to or above the initial investment by way of reduced energy bills.

Hong Kong unveils its first zero-carbon building

The building is surrounded by green in a commercial area of the city

HONG KONG — Hong Kong has unveiled its first “zero-carbon” building. But it is unlikely that others will follow.
The three-storey structure, designed to be energy efficient, runs on solar power and biodiesel derived from waste cooking oil. These renewable energy sources will provide the necessary electricity, and then some: the developers expect the system to generate a surplus of power, which will be delivered to the electricity grid, offsetting the carbon emitted during the building’s construction.
The building is scheduled to officially open to the public in September as office space for the Hong Kong Construction Industry Council, an advisory agency that led the project along with the local government. An events hall will also be available for rent.
But far from considered the beginning of a trend, the building, whose roof is covered almost entirely with solar panels, is instead touted by developers as educational and “a showcase project to inspire.”
For More Click Here

Monday, 9 July 2012

Zero Carbon House Sheds Light On Birmingham

The inspiring story of a unique zero carbon house in inner city Birmingham
According to a recent investigation, Birmingham City Council is still yet to account for or indeed knows, how it will reach its 60% carbon emissions reduction targets for 2026, so it was heartening to read about this particular property, which has become a shining, energy efficient LED beacon, in the heart of the Midlands. Meeting the stringent requirements of Level 6 of the UK Code for Sustainable Homes it is an eco-house that is set to produce at least as much energy as it consumes. 
This text book example of energy efficiency has even been built around an existing house. The ground-breaking zero carbon property was designed by John Christophers of Associated Architects as a family home and is now occupied as one. An extension of the original redbrick Victorian house, the property has been converted from a 2-bedroom semi-detached property, into a 4-bedroom dwelling with a modern studio loft. 
The house was designed specifically to integrate with its surroundings and takes into account the neighbouring architecture. As well as extending outwards, it extends upwards to catch the sun for theSolar PV installation that would otherwise have been blocked by a taller neighbouring property. Originally built in 1840 the old brick work has rightly been preserved, as well as the beautiful mature Ash trees in the garden. 
Featured in The Times and The New York Times, amongst many other publications, the property has been celebrated as a shining example of sustainable housing and home energy efficiency. It proudly boasts the achievement of being seven years ahead of the government target of 2016 for all homes to be carbon neutral. 
It is, without a doubt, a magnificent and inspiring example of sustainability in the UK. Hopefully this kind of house will be seen more frequently throughout the country, especially with the Green Deal set to start in October. An Energy Assessors dream ,this property would undoubtedly also achieve the highest Residential EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of A++. Lets hope it inspires Birmingham City Council to pull their ‘green’ finger out and start making much needed headway in their mission to cut out the carbon.
Paul Patane for Just EPC

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Solar Powered Music Studios and Energy Efficient Musicians

How the music industry has embraced sustainability, energy efficiency and green politics over the last decade.
Did you know that UK’s first ever fully professional solar powered recording studio was built in May 2006? The studio was the first of its kind to jump on the energy efficiency wavelength. As well as recording studios, many famous musicians have followed suit in their own way, whether it be in the studio, on tour or by promoting sustainability through various groups and forums.
Jack Johnson, for example, arguably one of the most successful artists of the last decade, also sports a solar powered studio. An avid environmental campaigner, Jack works closely, amongst other projects, with a group called ‘All At Once’, a network he heads that connects fans with non profit groups, allowing them to share energy efficiency tips and information. His last album was mixed in the eco studio that he calls “The Solar Powered Plastic Plant”. He even donated all the proceeds from the album to support his own non profit sustainability group.
One of the biggest bands in the world, Radiohead, are also no strangers to sustainability. After realizing both the financial and environmental costs incurred on their tour in support of Hail to the Thief, Radiohead took serious measures to make their tours more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, as well as in their day to day lives. To reduce and offset carbon emissions, they sent their stage equipment by ship and even planted trees as they toured. Arguably the most engaging action Radiohead have taken against climate change, was partnering with Friends of the Earth, in a campaign to convince the European Union to commit to a plan in which greenhouse gas emissionswould see a 30% reduction by 2020. 
This dream, thankfully, is now nearer to coming true, as we see more and more initiatives set up around the UK and the rest of the world, to tackle the ever growing problem of climate change. Still, I wonder if Tom Yorke has had an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) done for his mansion yet? We’ll let you know when he does…
 Paul Patane Just EPC