One way to offset the rising costs of energy is to start generating your own energy from renewable source – the free energy emitted by the sun. This is achieved by using the technology of solar panels which are comprised of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. These PV cells are manufactured from layers of semi-conducting substances, usually the element silicon. Light shining on the cell creates an electric field and the stronger the sun’s rays, the greater the production of energy. Groups of the cells are fixed into panels and mounted on your roof. The power of a PV cell is measured in kWp- this is known a kilowatt peak and represents the overall performance when generating electricity at peak performance in full direct sunlight during the summer period.
An average system is around 2.9 kWp and costs around £12,000 or so. The bigger the system the more electricity it will generate but the initial cost is greater. A system of 2.9 kWp can in good conditions generate up to 2500 kilowatt hours per year. This represent sup to 75% of the usage of a typical household and saves over a tonne of carbon dioxide.
It is best to get information and advice – you can look at the energy saving trust website or contact an experienced supplier such as SEHBAC Solar.
The government’s feed-in tariff scheme means that those who fit solar panels will be paid both for the electricity generated that feeds into the grid as well as the electricity used. Even though the level of the feed in tariff may change, the benefits of generating electricity will always deliver savings though the pay-back time on capital invested may be extended. But the value increases as energy prices rise.
We spend more than half our lives in bed, so it is pretty important that where we sleep is healthy for us. We can do this by being conscious of eco-friendly issues. [Read More...]
Up to 20% of the energy that goes into your home is non-productive energy loss – that is, energy that could be saved by doing things differently. There are a number of ways you can chip away at this problem:
1. Each degree you turn down your thermostat saves three percent of heating costs. This is a lot of energy saved
2. Cook with a slow cooker, a pressure cooker or halogen oven or a small unit-top oven. You can cut energy usage for the same meal cooked in your main oven by two thirds.
3. Use a laptop rather than a desktop and reduce your energy use on this equipment by 75%. Switch off the laptop every evening and don’t leave on standby.
4. Switch to washing in cold water and save around £40-£50 a year. Hang out your washing on a line outside or compact dryer if you haven’t much space, you will be able to dry your clothes this way almost all of the year if you keep your eyes open for the quick shower!
5. Save on Lighting. Get your family into the habit of switching off lights when they go out of a room. Switch your light bulbs to low energy use. Use low energy LED lights for reading lights and spot lighting.
Organic farming is a holistic system of producing food, using long-known techniques of crop rotation, managing the environment and excellent methods of animal husbandry in order to control pests and diseases. To produce organic food there are several factors: a restricted use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides, and emphasis on animal welfare. There is also a major emphasis on soil health which is maintained by applying manure and compost as well as by rotating crops. Organic farming is better for the environment and for animals but is it better for us? Research says it is no better for us than food grown by traditional means, but many dispute this for the following reasons;
-Organic fruit and vegetables do not have chemicals or artificial compounds on their skins. Some apples may have up to 30 different artificial chemicals on their skins, and some remain even after rinsing.
-Fresh organic produce tends to have up to 50% more vitamins, minerals and enzymes than intensively farmed food
-Eating organic is the only way to avoid eating genetically modified food, if you see this as a major problem
-Drinking milk and eating meat from intensively reared dairy cattle and farm animals means that any growth promoting drugs, antibiotics, anti parasite drugs and other medicines are passed on through meat and milk to the person or child who consumes them
-Those who eat organic food say it tastes better which is a really excellent reason for buying organic