The transition to renewable energy will not / cannot happen within the current economy
This is the first of a two-part conversation, about whether we can transition to renewable energy within the current system, or whether we need system change. Read more
Building the energy commons: Marcus Saul of Island Power
Interview with Marcus Saul of Island Power, an energy company with incredible ideas that could be world-changing, in terms of building a new kind of (commons) economy. Read more
Energy loss is single biggest component of today’s electricity system
Major energy loss is a huge issue in our electrical system. Read more
Things to think about when considering an air source heat pump
We cover ground-source heat pumps more than air-source heat pumps in our topic introduction, so here’s some additional information about air-source heat pumps from our advisor John Cantor: Read more
£3.3 trillion fossil fuels subsidies by G20 countries since Paris Climate Agreement
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
Do energy-saving measures actually increase overall energy use?
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
LED lighting: is it the way forward for offices?
With halogen bulbs being phased out across Europe, the future is looking bright for LED lighting. We learn from Martin Cross at INUI about the benefits it has to offer, particularly for office workers. Read more
A south-facing, rammed earth, straw-bale-insulated house doesn’t need heating; why aren’t all new houses built this way?
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… Continue reading A south-facing, rammed earth, straw-bale-insulated house doesn’t need heating; why aren’t all new houses built this way? Read more
The Human Power Plant experiment: how many hours of power generation a day?
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
How to get 500 hot showers from your compost heap!
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
Feeding the Human Power Plant: can calories be carbon-neutral?
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
What’s the most environmentally-damaging thing that a human can do?
This question is really important for us at Lowimpact.org, because we’re all about providing information and other resources on ways that people can live in a less environmentally-damaging way. So I was very interested to see that researchers at Lund University in Sweden recently put the hours in Read more
SuperHomes: free open-house events for you to have a look at homes with renewable and energy-saving technologies
This year marks the 10th year of SuperHomes, the innovative and multi-award winning national network of over 200 homes which have all reduced their carbon footprint by a minimum of 60%. There’s a record 100 free Open House events occurring across all parts of UK Read more
Sigi Koko on the basics of passive solar design
Passive solar design takes advantage of solar orientation and other climate conditions to minimize (and in some conditions, eliminate) heating and cooling requirements for a building. Read more
Having a £3k eco-home is more about attitude than building codes or regulations: interview with Tony Wrench
This is an interview with Tony Wrench of ‘That Roundhouse’ fame. He built a super-eco roundhouse in Pembrokeshire over 20 years ago, and is still living in it, after having many battles with planners and regulatory bodies. Read more
Visit properties refurbished for energy efficiency around the country in September
SuperHome Open Days this September promise to be extra exciting with at least six recently refurbished homes opening to the public for the first time. Around 50 pioneering households are preparing to open their doors across the UK. Read more
Strange but true: energy efficiency actually increases overall energy use
In the 1960 film School for Scoundrels, which is based on the Stephen Potter “Gamesmanship” books, there is a scene where Ian Carmichael (formerly one of life’s failures) is playing tennis with Terry Thomas. Carmichael has just finished a course in lifemanship Read more
Retrofitting existing houses for energy efficiency: learn how at ‘open house’ events around the country
The UK’s Federation of Open Home Networks believes the homes of the future will necessarily be dramatically improved older homes. Our homes accounted for 22% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2014. Read more
How new straw-bale homes could help solve the housing crisis
In an ordinary street in Bristol, UK, something extraordinary is happening. All of the seven houses are made with straw. Read more