Living Smart in Australia

The ‘Living Smart’ programme

Once again, Marianne (our Wilmslow Transitioner currently living in Australia) gives us news of the ‘Living Smart’ programme she is attending.  Here is Part 4

Water and Biodiversity

The focus was on water which is a big deal for the world, but a particularly acute problem here in Western Australia (WA).  The graph of rainfall for this part of the world was a worry (it is going down… a lot… decade on decade) whilst the population is increasing dramatically (it has doubled since I came to WA in 1999.)

We discussed what activities are most water intensive (watering gardens in WA!) and ways to save water from the very simple (showering standing in a bucket then using that to flush the loo etc.) to collecting rainwater from your roof in a tank and all the things you need to consider for that.  Ecoburbia (4 “apartments” sharing a house and utilities) can survive for most of the year in WA on only the rain water they collect!  Lots more interesting stuff about Ecoburbia at http://ecoburbia.com.au

We also discussed Biodiversity.  Perth’s population is set to double over the next 40 years.  Will wildlife manage to survive?  Perth straddles the Swan and Canning Rivers which wildlife need to access.  We discussed how to create habitats and corridors for native species.

‘Transport’ is the theme for Week 5

 

 

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Living Smart in Australia

The ‘Living Smart’ programme; Part 3

Marianne (our Wilmslow Transitioner currently living in Australia) gives us news of the third session of the ‘Living Smart’ programme she is attending.

Power

We learnt about energy saving, use and generation.  This is one of the areas where the UK and Australia diverge dramatically.

What surprised me was that the things you do to keep your house warm in the UK are not the same things you do to keep your house cool in Australia!

Double glazing is no good for keeping heat out, but it is effective for keeping heat in.

We looked at making a dwelling ‘solar passive’ whilst making the most of winter sun, how to read an electricity bill, which things consume most power in a house and then how we could bring our electricity bill down dramatically.

FIVE TOP ACTIONS

  • Get a home energy assessment
  • Turn down your thermostat and insulate the pipes on your hot water system
  • Minimise how often you need to heat and cool your home
  • Turn off standby
  • Purchase or generate your own renewable energy

Meanwhile back home …….

Transition Wilmslow can help with advice on energy saving – and carry out an energy survey on your home.

For more information contact us at transitionwilmslow@gmail.com

Wilmslow Community Energy scheme at risk by Government apparent attacks on solar generation

North East Cheshire Community Energy (NECCE) fears their community solar scheme cannot go ahead due to the Government’s proposed plans to savagely cut support for rooftop solar energy systems.

Before the last election its parent group, Transition Wilmslow, was encouraged by Government support to start a community benefit society to invest in local energy generation and provide funds to plough back in to the wider community. This would build on the work Transition Wilmslow has done with Wilmslow Town Council doing household energy surveys, using a thermal imaging camera.

NECCE has been working hard for the last 9 months to identify suitable community buildings, raise awareness and set up the right structure, engaging with students who were keen to reduce costs for their school. They were particularly excited about getting solar panels on Wilmslow High School as it was spending over £100,000 per year on its power bill.

The benefits would be:

  • cheaper electricity for the school
  • a rate of return to people who invested in the scheme
  • income for a community fund.

In August, our local MP, George Osborne said:

“I am happy to support you wherever I can.”

Andrew Backhouse acting chair of NECCE has said that many people have been very keen to invest into something local that will:

  • pay them a level of interest
  • reduce our carbon footprint
  • help local schools generate their own electricity
  • help children learn about this in the process
  • and cut their costs.

This is now unlikely to happen!

The expected policy change is going to stop any chance of progress. We understand that the Government might want to reduce the cost of energy in the short term – but they should be thinking long term to cut carbon emissions further, taking advantage of local investment, and doing more to boost local community involvement.”

Here’s what Caitlin a sixth form pupil at the local school said

“I think it’s disappointing that the government has changed their stance on the Feed in Tariffs (FITs) considering their huge positive effect on the UK’s energy supply. The initiative’s removal has had a major impact not only nationally but also locally. Our school could really have benefited from solar panels, both environmentally and financially, not to mention the valuable learning resource that would have been created”

The community group have written to George Osborne asking him to support their cause and back subsidy for solar, but so far he is awaiting a response from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

If you want to know more about community energy locally, or to ask for help in reducing your energy consumption, contact Andrew on Andrew.backhouse@phonecoop.coop or 01625 537087

More details of NECCE  are on – http://necheshirecommunityenergy.org.uk/

Also see http://keepfits.org/news//we-should-call-community-energy-the-mailman

 

Zero Carbon Britain?

Can we do it? Yes we can!

This was the main theme at ‘Love Wilmslow, Love Our Planet’, a joint venture with Churches Together in Wilmslow and Transition Wilmslow at The Wilmslow Guild on St Valentine’s Day 2015.

What do we have in common? It’s a wish to look after our planet, to keep it for future generations too, and to take steps to reduce climate change.

We started the morning session with Paul Allen, one of the authors of Zero Carbon Britain who gave an uplifting and rich presentation about how reaching zero carbon emissions was very possible:

  • We could rapidly reduce UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero by 2030, using only currently available technology.

  • We could reduce our energy demand by around 60%, with particularly large savings in heating buildings and transport.

  • It is possible to meet 100% of the UK’s energy demand with renewable and carbon neutral energy sources; without fossil fuels and without new nuclear.

Read more here and download the latest report.

 After a bread and soup lunch Professor John Handley gave a talk entitled ‘Lindow Moss; Making Sense of the Planning Application, followed by discussion.

 Meanwhile there were craft and recycling activities to learn – composting, biscuit decoration, crochet, knitting, making gift boxes from Christmas cards to name a few. A highlight was a ‘stomp’ – a musical and movement performance using scrap material, organized by Wilmslow High School students.

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Participants were also alerted to many local initiatives to reduce climate change. Some are recycling tools through Work Aid, raising money for solar lights and cookers for slums in Nairobi through Kibera in Need and cutting down on food waste through Waste Watch. If we don’t do a lot to cut our energy consumption, the future for our children will be very different with climate change.

 So how do we get there? Part of the way forward must be to strengthen our community. We need to encourage one another, and the town council could be a leader in this. Perhaps we could have electric cars and bikes as a greener part of the Wilmslow Motor Show!

Most of all it should be fun!

See what Low Carbon Lymm is doing. Also…..

Ashton Hayes going carbon neutral

A talk by Professor Roy Alexander

Friday 13 March 7.30pm-9.30pm

Wilmslow Guild, Bourne St, Wilmslow, SK9 5HD

Ashton Hayes, a community of about 1,000 people, is aiming to become England’s first carbon neutral community. By working together, sharing ideas and through behavioural change they have reduced carbon emissions by 23% since 2006.

RGS-IBG members free, non-members £5 donation on the door.

Save Energy this Month!

ir-house

Here it is: November’s challenge is all about small steps to save Energy in the home.

Whether it’s switching off the lights when you leave the room or draw the curtains to keep heat in in the evening, let’s all start to reduce our  demand on the grid so that renewable energy solutions can be the main players in the mix.

Get yourselves a free thermal imaging survey done this winter to find out where you can make the most difference, and borrow an energy meter from the library at no cost to watch those kWhs go down!

And if you’re unsure about why we need to think about this, why not come to our film night: Chasing Ice on 12th November!

Transition Wilmslow’s Big Weekend!

We kick off on Saturday 14th June with a Skills Share Event.

Come to Wilmslow Methodist Church on Water Lane between 1.30 and 3.30pm and learn life skills such as bike maintenance, re-using materials, building compost heaps, and making cordial.  Bring old jeans for special crafts, and clear out unwanted wearable clothes to raise funds.  Children’s activities include scarecrow making for Transition Wilmslow.

There will be a charge for teas and cakes, but we will be giving away the recipes so you can bake them at home!

And…..try pedalling our bike powered smoothie maker! Skill share June 2014

Click to enlarge

There’s more!

Transition Wilmslow once more have a stall at the Artisan Market. Visit us on Grove Avenue Sunday 15 June from 10am – 4.00pm. The pedal-powered smoothie maker will be making another appearance.

Family Bike Ride

Still in the bike theme, we have a family bike ride leaving from the stall at 1.30pm so make sure you register from 1.00pm. The route will take in the new path at the Carrs. Enjoy handmade cakes at the Transition Wilmslow stall on return!

 

 

 

Film Night

Join us for our last film night of the season

Tues April  29, 7.30pm at Wilmslow Library

 we will be screening

No Impact Man’

No_impact_man_ver2

Follow the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact!

See the trailer here