The Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes

It is about time that I wrote in these posts about a United Kingdom body that in its quiet way does a great deal of good work in the field of emission savings by way of educating and exchange information across businesses concerned with energy in some way. That body is the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes. Continue reading

Why are we still using plastic bags?

For many years plastic supermarket bags have caused terrible environmental problems. They are taken to landfill sites because they cannot be easily recycled, where they either do not rot in the ground or get blown over the countryside ensnaring birds and animals. They are made from finite resources like oil which itself has a significant climate change effect. It seems odd to use fuel to make bags, creating long term emissions instead of using recyclable and easily biodegradable materials like cotton, hemp or paper to carry the shopping. Continue reading

Modelling specific regional climate changes

I wrote yesterday about how difficult climate modelling is – in fact it is so difficult that you might well wonder why we try to do it. I think that climate modelling is an almost impossible task; even if you actually manage to start to get your model right, you will discover that there is a new factor that your algorithm does not cover or covers wrongly.   Continue reading

How to predict the future climate of the planet

Predicting climate change in general terms must be the one of the hardest things for climate scientists to do. You need massive computer processing power, huge amounts of data and most importantly some reasonably accurate assumptions upon which to base your predictions. With these tools you can do one of the hardest things in your job description – predict general climate trends in the future. Continue reading

El Niño is coming back

Some guests are unwelcome but necessary. Flies are a nuisance but they serve a useful purpose. Strange weather events that happen every few years bring good and bad consequences. After an absence of three years El Niño is back, bringing good things for some and bad things for others. Continue reading

The clouds theory of climate change

When climate change researchers put all the data into their computers they make certain fundamental assumptions; are those assumptions correct, or have they got the cause and effect the wrong way round. One group of scientists think that some climate researchers have put the egg before the chicken, and they claim undoubtedly that the chicken comes first. Continue reading

Rubbish, wheelie bins and recycling

For years the United Kingdom had a very unhealthy attitude towards its rubbish compared with its European partners. There were weekly rubbish collections from the home; some places allowed you to put your rubbish out in plastic bags, whereas others insisted that you place it in a traditioanl cylindrical bin. When the dustman came they hurled the contents of a bin into a waste compactor truck, or else threw the plastic bags into it. I remember that my part of London introduced wheelie bins in 1987. They held much more rubbish than the traditional dustbin but made it easier and faster for the dustmen, who no longer had to lift heavy rubbish. The wheelie bin seemed to fill itself up every week; clearly there is a law of waste: rubbish expands to fill the size of the receptacle provided for it. Continue reading

SAP 2009 Consultation – the solar thermal aspects

I have complained about the number of consultations that the government creates; most are fairly pointless but once in a while there is one which is important. There is currently underway a consultation about Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) which is a way of calculating the energy usage of homes in the United Kingdom and creates a methodology for doing so. The government are, through the Buildings Research Establishment, conducting a consultation about a draft set of procedures called SAP 2009, which might come into effect in 2010.

 Those who prepared SAP 2009 might know a lot about building energy saving homes but they do not have experience with solar thermal and their methodology for calculating solar thermal is wrong. In essence it looks to ensure that the solar panels generate as much heat as possible, rather than looking at the overall system. It is a bit like choosing a car because it has a very high top speed, which top speed is never capable of being used. Solar panels should be designed not to get too hot – otherwise they have a short life and fail. With solar it is not about how hot you get the panel but how you manage and usefully use the energy it generates. More than that, as an environmental product that goes on roofs solar thermal panels should be designed to require no maintenance and not break down but last as long as the roof lasts, before overhaul.  I have made the following submissions as Genersys’ submissions to the consultation process. Continue reading

What makes a good solar thermal panel

Very few people understand what it takes to build a good thermal solar panel. They should be designed not, as a layman might think, to be as hot as possible because then you would create overheating problems. The important thing is to design them to provide useful heat in all conditions. Continue reading

Genersys launches in Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile. It is a fine modern city with some very interesting architecture and a splendid pace of life which I have found very comfortable. Santiago, like the rest of Chile, suffers from high energy prices, a lack of energy independence and in the case of Santiago atmospheric pollution caused by energy use. Continue reading