Low-impact energy articles

Sep
1
2021
Andy Reynolds

Repairing an off-grid wind and solar electrical system

2

We recently blogged about a project: ‘rebuilding a home, and changing the surrounding fields from dead agricultural land into an oasis of natural life’ – as well as building an off-grid electrical and heating system. Here’s the next in the series – about repairing an off-grid wind and solar electrical system.

Read more …
Aug
15
2021
Simon Fairlie

Can burning biomass be sustainable?

8

“Burning biomass is just another path to environmental destruction,” claims a recent article in The Ecologist. Really? Simon Fairlie, who has blithely been burning biomass for the last 50 years, investigates.
Read more …

Aug
11
2021
Tim Padmore

£3.3 trillion fossil fuels subsidies by G20 countries since Paris Climate Agreement

6

All governments, including the UK, are telling us that they’re laser-focused on reducing carbon emissions. How are they doing? The chart above shows how they’re doing (source: Our World in Data). There’s a tiny flatline around 2020, but that’s because of the Covid lockdowns. Read more …

Jul
18
2021
Jon Halle

Community energy, mutual credit and the mutualist economy

0

This is the third part of an interview with Jon Halle of Sharenergy, about the prospects for keeping energy production local and mutualised. Here we talk about community energy, mutual credit and mutualisation of the economy. Read more …

Jul
11
2021
Jon Halle

Keeping energy production local and mutualised: Jon Hallé of Sharenergy, Part 2

2

This is the second part of an interview with Jon Halle of Sharenergy, about the prospects for keeping energy production local and mutualised. We talk about community energy, Energy Local and the Big Solar Co-op. Read more …

Jul
4
2021
Jon Halle

Jon Hallé: Introducing the Big Solar Co-op, and how you can help renewables and the co-op sector

0

Today I’m speaking with Jon Hallé. We go back about 20 years. You ran courses on how to make biodiesel for Lowimpact, back in the early noughties, and you authored a book for us about making biodiesel, that sold about 15k copies in the first year. It caught the zeitgeist then, but of course diesel vehicles have had their day now. Then you started Sharenergy, setting up community energy schemes around the country. Now you’ve founded the Big Solar Co-op. Read more …

Jun
23
2021
Dave Darby

How you can help get solar onto more roofs in your community: the Big Solar Co-op

1

As it’s Community Energy Fortnight, I thought I’d have a word with my old mate Jon Hallé, who used to run Lowimpact’s ‘How to Make Biodiesel’ courses in the early noughties (and authored a book of the same title with us), and since then has gone on to found Sharenergy, who have helped over 100 community energy schemes to launch, using wind, solar, hydro and biomass. We’ll publish an interview with Jon soon, but first I wanted to tell you about his latest venture – the Big Solar Co-op (BSC) Read more …

Oct
18
2020
Dave Darby

Do energy-saving measures actually increase overall energy use?

18

Having worked in the environmental field for 30 years, I’ve watched the situation get worse every year, to the point that it might already be irreversible, and we don’t know what damage it’s going to do to us, exactly. That’s pretty insane, and so Read more …

May
31
2020
Chris Cook

Chris Cook’s tour of the oil markets: from Nixon to Trump

5

Today I’m talking with Chris Cook, who designed and built the Iranian Oil Bourse (see Wikipedia for a timeline of the events Chris describes), which could help move the world away from the petrodollar. We’ll be talking more about that later. Read more …

Feb
19
2020
Simon Lennane

Converting an old cottage to ground source heating: how we did it

9

Living in an older building but keen to heat your house with 100% renewable energy? Simon Lennane shares how he tackled an ambitious project converting his old cottage to ground source heating. Read more …

Jan
22
2019
Juliette Gauvain

Help bring community energy to North Kensington with the NKCE share offer

0

North Kensington Community Energy is the first community-owned energy enterprise in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. They are installing solar panels on 2 primary schools and a community centre.

Read more …
Dec
4
2018
Andrew Rollinson

Why pyrolysis and ‘plastic to fuels’ is not a solution to the plastics problem

116

Energy engineer Dr Andrew Rollinson sets out the case as to why pyrolysis and ‘plastic to fuels’ is not a sustainable solution to the plastics problem. Read more …

Nov
27
2018
Jon Halle

Be part of keeping UK community-owned wind power alive

0

From launching Scotland’s first 100% co-operatively-owned wind turbine to supporting community solar and hydro-electricity projects across the country, Sharenergy are working hard to keep UK community-owned wind power and more alive in the UK. Read more …

Aug
26
2018
Paul Jennings

What might buildings, settlements and even regions look like through the lens of Permaculture design?

13

This is the transcript of a talk given by Paul Jennings to the recent SBUK Big Straw Bale Gathering. Paul has built his straw-bale family home on a ‘One-Planet Development’ smallholding in Wales (costing £12,000). Read more …

Jun
14
2018
Jon Halle

What does the future look like for community energy? Interview with Jon Hallé of Sharenergy

5

On the NonCorporate blog, we’ll be interviewing people who are out there building a non-corporate economy on the ground right now. We’ll be finding out exactly what they’re doing, what they’ve achieved, what problems they face and what they’d like to see change – and we’ll be asking them how we might co-ordinate the non-corporate sector to punch above our weight. Read more …

Jun
12
2018
Roxy Piper

Off Grid Festival 2018: another world is possible

0

Roxy Piper tells us all about this year’s Off Grid Festival, taking place from 9-12th August in the historic Tapeley Park and Gardens in North Devon, with the theme of Seven Generation Stewardship. Read more …

Jun
5
2018
Rowland Keable

A south-facing, rammed earth, straw-bale-insulated house doesn’t need heating; why aren’t all new houses built this way?

3

Rowland ran rammed earth building courses with us for years. He said then that a C-shaped, rammed earth house with straw-bales for external insulation, and as much glass on the south side and as little glass on the north side as possible, wouldn’t need any heating. We wanted to catch up with him to learn more about this, and why we’re not doing more of it. Read more …

Feb
22
2018
Sophie Paterson

The Human Power Plant experiment: how many hours of power generation a day?

1

In this latest update on the Human Power Plant experiment, we learn just what a daily power generation schedule might involve when it comes to 750 students of Utrecht University literally producing their very own electricity. Read more …

Jan
12
2018
Steve Hanson

How to get 500 hot showers from your compost heap!

0

I guess most people wonder what showers and compost have to do with each other, being showered with compost is probably not anyone’s idea of being cleaned. However there is a perfectly valid connection and it’s one we have been exploiting now for four years and to good effect. Read more …

Dec
23
2017
Sophie Paterson

Feeding the Human Power Plant: can calories be carbon-neutral?

3

We take a look at the food it may take to fuel the great Human Power Plant, an experiment in the making where students of Utrecht University in the Netherlands will power their very own carbon-neutral accommodation block. Read more …

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