Dr Van Rossum and Mercury Rising

When I was a little boy I was impressed by and in awe of the doctor in Poplar who used to make house calls, as most doctors did then. He was tall and his name was Doctor Van Rossum. The good folk of Poplar treated Doctor Van Rossum like a saint, as he made his house calls however busy he was,  and however poor we were, my father always took Dr Van Rossum a bottle of wine at Christmas, carefully wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper bought from Woolworths. Whenever I visited Dr Van Rossum he put his thermometer in my mouth, which he kept in a glass tube of pink liquid, having shaken the liquid off the thermometer and then shaken it some more. Continue reading

CERT and the no brainer of home insulation

The United Kingdom’s energy companies, that virtual monopoly of supply of gas and electricity, are, as part of the various climate change emission reduction targets, obliged to carry out certain measures to reduce the demand for energy from fossil fuel sources. These obligations are known as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target. It is an ill fitting name, as the “target” is a legal obligation to carry out so many measures, not to reduce carbon emissions but to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. At the risk of being called a pendant, I would prefer that the obligation was more accurately named, but I suppose “CERT” is an easy to remember acronym, even if it is confusing. Continue reading

Changing the clocks to save emissions

Most people prefer to have more daylight in the evening. I do not know that for a fact – I am guessing. There is little evidence for this statement because they government rarely consults its employers (the people) about issue such as daylight savings time. In 1976 the South Australians consulted 2.7 million people of which 68% preferred the light in the evenings, and polls conducted in the United States bear this out.

However, although people’s preferences are important, we could be missing an energy savings benefit by moving or not moving the clocks this time of the year. Continue reading

Goodbye incandescent hello low energy lighting

Goodbye traditional tungsten based incandescent lighting. The United Kingdom is almost free of these products in shops and within a few years they will simply be a part of history, like valve radios and double de-clutching. Eventually low energy lighting will save greenhouse gas emissions but may cause other problems with health and to the environment. Continue reading