Monday, March 31, 2008

Weekly Tip #8: Set up your sockets

Have a look at how your electrical sockets and multi-socket adapters are set up. You can often arrange them so you can minimise energy use by only switching on those that you need, for example:

- put your computer on a different socket from your peripherals, so you don't need to fire up the whole lot just to update your status on Facebook.

- likewise if your TV is on a different socket from your DVD player, digibox, video etc, you don't have to burn energy unnecessarily everytime you want to watch a terrestrial TV programme.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Energy Wasting Day

A little light relief for a Friday...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Weekly Tip #7: Start the rot

If you don't already, start composting using either a local authority style compost bin, or for larger gardens, a two-bay system built from pallets. Proper composting cuts waste to landfill, climate damaging methane emissions and recycles nutrients back into your soil. See my heaps here.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How's your car going to be taxed?

If you're wondering how your car tax will change after Darling's rather pale green budget, then the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has a useful database of all models' emissions.

You then need to check this against the new tax bands which can be seen here courtesy of the Guardian.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Weekly Tip #6: Buy secondhand

Whether it's records, books or clothes that rocks your world, there are some excellent secondhand and charity shops around. Buying second hand is guilt-free - I consume dozens of second hand books every year.

My tip is to visit shops in the poshest area of your town and you'll benefit from (and mitigate the impacts of) someone else's conspicuous consumption.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Blair does a Gore

Al Gore spent the Kyoto negotiations sticking spokes in the wheels. Now he's the champion of the world.

Tony Blair did nothing for the UK's carbon emissions while in office, now he's gonna save the world.

Funny how history repeats itself, isn't it?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Weekly Tip #5: Take Your Tops Off

Slightly late this week due to the ridiculous amount of traveling I've done since Friday under sometimes very difficult circumstances*. Anyway, something I have learnt in the meantime:

If your local authority collects plastic bottles for recycling, the difference between this being environmentally and economically worthwhile or not can be made by whether or not you take the tops off the bottles. If you don't the wagons have to shift much more air than plastic. So get 'em off!

* For example: what do you do if your minibus driver gets a call to say that his pregnant wife has fallen, broken her hip, and before they can fix that, they need to deliver the baby by caeserian four weeks early. And you're in a vicious storm several hundred miles away?

(mother & baby OK, by the way)

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

When to choose a Prius

Interesting article in the Guardian last week on the cult of the Prius, thankfully not repeating some of the myths that have been peddled recently.

The bit I thought was most interesting was the techie bit. It spelt out that the Prius beats its competitors hands down on urban driving, but loses out on the motorway. This is because the electric motor is efficient at moving off and the frequent braking regenerates the battery. When you get out on the motorway, the petrol motor is hauling that heavy battery, so the fuel performance drops off. So the combined mpg figures aren't brilliant compared to a good diesel.

So if you do lots of urban driving, buy a Prius. Don't bother otherwise.

Personally I use my bike for that sort of journey and my VW Golf TDi for less accessible work journeys (typically up and down dual carriageways to industrial estates), so I'm probably better off as I am. Although I must admit I am tempted by a Prius for the pose...

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Weekly Tip #4: Support your local deli

It will always be more enjoyable than shopping in a big shed and the carbon footprint of the food tends to be lower as its transportation from farm gate to the shop is usually more direct.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

Free Newsletter: The Low Carbon Agenda

I don't know how many readers of Eco-living also read my Sustainable Business Blog, but you may be interested in my brand new newsletter: The Low Carbon Agenda. Aimed at businesses and organisations, it is all about reducing your carbon footprint and exploiting the business opportunities in the Low Carbon Economy. You can see the first issue and sign up to future issues here.

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