Monday, 30 March 2009


Straw Bales are the Way Forward in Construction

A study to research the potential for using straw in construction has led to a coveted Nuffield Farming Scholarship for a woman who firmly believes building with straw bales is the way forward.

Carol with Yorkshire Agricultural Society Chief Executive Nigel Pulling in front of one of Carol's straw bale buildings.

straw bale building

Carol Atkinson, who farms with her husband at Howden near Goole, already runs the Straw Bale Cabin, a one-bedroom holiday cottage. A second, larger cottage is currently under construction and is expected to be completed by May this year.

She is sponsored by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society following her successful application to the Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust. The Society, best known for organising the annual Great Yorkshire Show, is committed to promoting and assisting the developments in farming.

Nigel Pulling, the Society’s Chief Executive said Carol’s study was not only interesting but could lead to new business opportunities for farmers.

“Agriculture faces increasing challenges and her study should prove extremely valuable in highlighting a possible growth area. Straw bale building has the potential to provide farmers with a new income stream, as well as being good for the environment.”

Nuffield Farming Scholarships are prestigious agricultural awards recognised around the globe. They promote leadership and the implementation of innovative agricultural practices through worldwide study.

Carol will travel to the United States, Canada and Europe to look at how straw bales are used in construction and investigate how the idea could be more widely used in Britain.

“I’m passionate about the potential for building with straw,” explained Carol. “There are benefits for farmers too, such as adding value to their crops, and wider benefits for the environment. It also means there could be more low-cost rural housing, it would boost rural skills and there would be a natural, non-toxic indoor environment. It’s good news all round really.”

She said: “I’m really grateful to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society for sponsoring me – it wouldn’t have happened without their support. This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Almost 200 people have stayed in the Straw Bale Cabin, which was the first of its kind in the UK, and has attracted widespread interest. But, says Carol, straw bale building is still little-understood in Britain, with less than 100 buildings nationwide.

“They are permanent buildings, with lime rendering on the outside and clay plaster on the inside, and we have sheep’s wool insulation in the roof,” said Carol. “They’re warm, comfortable places that are totally natural and use local resources where possible – for example the clay, hemp, timber and so on.

“There’s no reason why more straw bale buildings shouldn’t be constructed and my study will assist me in learning more about how this could happen. It’s more widespread in Canada and the US, which is why I want to visit, and seeing how using straw bales works in Europe will be interesting as their climate is closer to our own.”

Friday, 13 March 2009


I am a solar hot water Installer In The UK. If you require a free quotation then please do ring me on 07504 505 089 or EMAIL me.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Did you know you could be making money from the electricity generated by your renewable technology installation?

If you have installed, or are thinking about installing, a renewable technology which produces electricity, such as a Solar Electricity (PV) system, you may be able to get paid for the electricity it produces. The most common way to do this is to sign up to a buy back scheme with an energy supplier. There are two main tariffs available to do this:
Export tariffs: You are only paid for the electricity that is exported back to the electricity network (you are not paid for any electricity you use). Generation tariffs: You are paid for all of the electricity that your system has generated even if you use it in your own home. There are also some Set Price Tariffs available where a fixed amount is paid by the energy supplier based on the type or capacity of the installation.
Use our buy back tariff search tool
To help you find the right tariff more easily we have developed a buy back tariff search tool. Using this tool will allow you to see details of all the tariffs currently being offered by the energy suppliers.
Click here to go straight to the buy back tariff search tool
Before you start your search you may wish to read the guidance below.
Choosing the right tariff
The answers to the following questions should help you choose the right buy buy back tariff for your situation:
Do you expect to use most of the electricity you generate at home?
If the answer is yes, it is likely that a Generation Tariff is likely to be a better option for you as you will get paid for all the electricity you generate rather than just the electricity that is exported.
If you will be using a small amount of the electricity your system generates then an Export Tariff may be a better option for you.
Will you need to install a new meter?
Total Generation Meter: Most tariffs will require you to have an Ofgem approved Total Generation Meter which should be installed with your system. Total Generation Meters give a running total of the electricity generated by the system in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Export Meter: Most export tariffs require you to have an export meter installed. Some companies will pay for the meter and its installation whereas others may charge you. It is important that you establish the costs before agreeing a contract. Will it affect your import supply?
Most buy back tariffs are dependent on the customer getting their import supply from the same energy supplier, and some suppliers limit the choice of available import tariffs that can be used.
You should check tariffs are on offer from the supplier purchasing your electricity generation and how much your annual bill will be. You will want to take these costs into consideration alongside the export/generation tariff payment.
What else should you consider?
Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) are certificates given to registered generators of renewable electricity produced and sold within the UK. You will be entitled to one certificate for each megawatt hour (or 1,000 kilowatt hours kWh) of electricity you produce.
Some tariffs include a price for ROCs whereby the energy supplier acts as the ROC agent, claiming ROCs from Ofgem on behalf of the customer. However, there are other tariffs where the customer retains the ROC entitlement and must claim these themselves. For ROCs to be able to be claimed you must have a Total Generation Meter installed. Information on which tariffs include a payment for ROCs can be viewed by looking at the tariff details on our buy back tariff search tool.
Some suppliers include the payment for ROCs within the tariff, this means the ROCs are claimed by the energy company on the customers' behalf. If the tariff does not include payment for ROCs then the customer can claim for them separately.

Monday, 9 March 2009


There are a number of things you may do for our planet. Let me try and give you some suitable answers to help you out a little.

Fossil Fuels: You can 'Lower' your dependence on fossil fuels. I don't expect you to go run away and live in a cage or become a 'Tree Hugger' but you can, for example;

1. switch all your lights from incandescent filament lamps to high efficiency low energy compact fluorescent lamps.

2. Strip out the gas fire and install a wood burner (Wood is a carbon neutral source of heating fuel) They can come with a back boiler so you can feed the excess heat into the heating system to heat other rooms.

3. Cut back on the travel by (Car / Van / Bus / Train) and try cycling short routes. If your distances are large for commuting then why not set up a car sharing scheme with friends so you can all commute in the same vehicle and save burning excessive fossil fuels (Petrol and Diesel)

4. Buy your fresh vegetables from local farmers / farm stores, supermarkets fly / ship fruit and vegetables from all 4 corners of the globe and add to the excessive burning of fossil fuels. Why not support your local farmer and purchase his vegetables and fruit that were grown in the field next door and delivered by hand by the farmer himself?

5. Try educating others about turning lights off when they leave the room, why have the radiator in the lavatory on full when you are in there for 2 minutes 2 times a day? Try and see logic!

6. Swap your CRT (Cathode Ray Tube - The Big Glass fronted TV's) TV with a LCD flat screen one. They use much less Electricity (Which is mainly produced by burning fossil fuels Diesel & Gas)

7. Set your Laptop and or desktop PC to hibernate after a set amount of inactivity so it is not needlessly wasting Electricity.

8. When you go to bed for the night go around the house and switch off all non essential electrical equipment at the plug, putting TV's and Microwaves into standby does not shut them down but only puts them into a lower consuming mode.

9. Grow your own fruit and vegetables, it is so much fun and very satisfying, plus you get to know you are reducing your carbon footprint whilst getting free food!

10. Opt for as many bills as possible to be sent to you electronically, you save them printing them on paper, save the rain forests and save on the delivery van burning fossil fuels in the process!

Hope this helps you out a little.

Sunday, 8 March 2009


Grid Connected System

The grid-connected system generates and delivers electricity to a homes Alternating Current (AC) system without using batteries. The Solar Array (PV) acts like a power generation plant, supplying electricity to the grid. This is becoming very popular in Spain, as the electricity distribution company will buy the electricity from you for 0.4 Eur/Kwh.

  • 1 - Grid connect inverter
  • 2 - Solar (PV) panel
  • 3 - Mains electricity supply

Renewable Energy UK | Visit Our Home Brew Power Website
Wind | Domestic Wind Turbines - Good Or Bad?
Solar | Solar Panels For Your Shed Or Summerhouse?
Carbon Neutral | Recent Posts Relating To 'Carbon Neutral'
Babington Burner | Purchase Our Hand Made WVO Burning Babington Nozzles
HomeBrewPower Yahoo Group On Carbon Neutral Power Generation



12V / 220V DC/AC System with Generator

This system provides all the benefits of a combined Direct Current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC) system with the added benefit of a standby generator. This is perfect if you have some high demand appliances or your demand exceeds your solar generation ability. It also provides very good resilience for those cloudy winter days when the solar generation will be reduced.

  • 1 - Battery
  • 2 - Solar (PV) panel
  • 3 - Solar Charge Controller
  • 4 - Wind generator
  • 5 - Wind Charge Controller
  • 6 - Inverter - charger
  • 7 - Generator

  • **************************************************************
    Renewable Energy UK | Visit Our Home Brew Power Website
    Wind | Domestic Wind Turbines - Good Or Bad?
    Solar | Solar Panels For Your Shed Or Summerhouse?
    Carbon Neutral | Recent Posts Relating To 'Carbon Neutral'
    Babington Burner | Purchase Our Hand Made WVO Burning Babington Nozzles
    HomeBrewPower Yahoo Group On Carbon Neutral Power Generation



    12V / 220V DC/AC System

    This system provides both Direct Current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC) electricity. This has several advantages in the DC lighting is more efficient, in the scenario you could power your lighting and water pump from the DC side and also run 220V appliances such as televisions and computers.

    • 1 - Battery
    • 2 - Solar (PV) panel
    • 3 - Solar Charge Controller
    • 4 - Wind generator
    • 5 - Wind Charge Controller
    • 6 - Inverter


    220V Alternating Current (AC) System

    This system include an inverter. An inverter converts Direct Current (DC) electricity from the Solar (PV) panels or the wind turbine, to Alternating Current (AC) electricty (230V). With the correct size inverter and electricity generation system, you can run any mains electricity appliance.

    • 1 - Battery
    • 2 - Solar (PV) panel
    • 3 - Solar Charge Controller
    • 4 - Wind generator
    • 5 - Wind Charge Controller
    • 6 - Inverter


    12/24V Direct Current (DC) System

    The first system is a Direct Current (DC) system that generates 12 or 24 volts only. This type of system is perfect for high efficiency lighting and a surprising number of 12v appliances. Traditionally all mobile homes and caravans operate on 12v electricity. A visit to any caravan outlet will reveal an amazing number of low voltage appliances from televisions to microwave ovens.

    • 1 - Battery
    • 2 - Solar (PV) panel
    • 3 - Solar Charge Controller
    • 4 - Wind generator
    • 5 - Wind Charge Controller


    Renewable Energy UK | Visit Our Home Brew Power Website
    Wind | Domestic Wind Turbines - Good Or Bad?
    Solar | Solar Panels For Your Shed Or Summerhouse?
    Carbon Neutral | Recent Posts Relating To 'Carbon Neutral'
    Babington Burner | Purchase Our Hand Made WVO Burning Babington Nozzles

    HomeBrewPower Yahoo Group On Carbon Neutral Power

    Thursday, 5 March 2009


    Solar collectors (solar panels) mounted on a roof are connected to pipes containing a heating fluid mixture of water and antifreeze. When the sun heats up the solar collectors the hot fluid is pumped through the pipes to a heat exchange coil in the new solar hot water cylinder. Here the captured solar energy is transferred from the hot fluid in the coil to the household's hot water supply. The hot water in the cylinder is connected to the taps, shower, washing machine, etc in the usual way.

    In order for the solar water heating system to run safely and efficiently, a range of valves are installed in the heating fluid circuit. A series of temperature sensors are connected to a digital solar controller to switch the system on or off according to the solar energy available.

    On days of limited sunlight, solar energy alone may not be sufficient to heat the household's water to a usable temperature. In this case your conventional boiler or your immersion heater (if fitted) can be used to further boost the temperature of the solar heated water.

    choosing the right system

    As with all technologies there are good and not so good solar water heating systems. When choosing a solar water heating system there are a number of points to consider:

    hot water storage cylinder

    The size of the hot water storage cylinder is generally determined by the amount of hot water your household uses in a day.

    Typical daily hot water usage:

    volume (litres)
    standard sized bath
    corner bath
    shower / power shower
    washing machine
    kitchen sink
    bathroom washbasin

    A new solar hot water storage cylinder is usually fitted in the airing cupboard replacing your existing storage cylinder. If the space around your existing storage cylinder is limited an alternative position or design can normally be agreed.

    size and quantity of solar collectors

    Allow around one square metre of collector surface area for every 45 - 50 litres of hot water to be stored.

    position of solar collector

    Collectors in the UK work best when facing south and at an angle of around 35 degrees from the horizontal.


    A well designed and constructed solar water heating system should provide many years of good service with little maintenance.


    Assuming a life span in excess of 20 years, solar water heating offers good value for money when comparing the initial investment to the cost of a household's current heating fuels. The costs of conventional heating may increase over the years as existing oil and gas supplies diminish and 'pollution taxes' are levied.

    It is also important to consider the cost of electricity to run the solar heating system (pump, controls etc). For a typical home this is less than £5 per year.

    Solar water heating cannot be considered good value if the initial system cost is too expensive. For this reason it is important to shop around for a competitively priced system using high quality components.

    HomeBrewPower Yahoo Group On Carbon Neutral Power


    Here is a great website I stumbled upon this morning that I thought I would share with my followers.

    This guy has left the mainstream hustle and bustle of life and set up a homestead in the throws of Chile.

    He goes into great detail of how he has diverted a stream to power his MicroHydro Plant, it really is a remarkable feat of engineering.

    HomeBrewPower Yahoo Group On Carbon Neutral Power

    Wednesday, 4 March 2009

    MARS - Wind Power Anywhere! - Lighter Than Air Wind Turbine

    Magenn Power's MARS is a Wind Power Anywhere™ solution with distinct advantages over existing Conventional Wind Turbines and Diesel Generating Systems including: global deployment, lower costs, better operational performance, and greater environmental advantages.

    MARS is a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy. This electrical energy is transferred down the 1000-foot tether for immediate use, or to a set of batteries for later use, or to the power grid. Helium sustains MARS and allows it to ascend to a higher altitude than traditional wind turbines. MARS captures the energy available in the 600 to 1000-foot low level and nocturnal jet streams that exist almost everywhere. MARS rotation also generates the "Magnus effect" which provides additional lift, keeps the MARS stabilized, and positions it within a very controlled and restricted location to adhere to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) & Transport Canada guidelines.

    The Advantages of MARS over Conventional Wind Turbines: Wind Power Anywhere™ removes all placement limitations. Coast-line or off-shore locations are not necessary to capture higher speed winds. Reaching winds at 1,000-feet above ground level allow MARS to be installed closer to the grid. MARS is mobile and can be rapidly deployed, deflated, and redeployed without the need for towers or heavy cranes. MARS is bird and bat friendly with lower noise emissions and is capable of operating in a wider range of wind speeds - from 4 mph to greater than 60 mph.

    The Advantages of a MARS combined Wind and Diesel Solution over a Diesel Generator-only solution: MARS can complement a diesel generator by offering a combined diesel-wind power solution that delivers power below 20 cents per kWh. This compares to a wide range of 25 cents to 99 cents per kWh for diesel-alone, reflecting the high fuel and transportation costs in remote areas. The MARS combined solution allows lower pollution and green house gas emissions. It also results in lower handling, transporting, and storage costs.

    MARS Target Markets: Developing nations where infrastructure is limited or non existent; off-grid combined wind and diesel solutions for island nations, farms, remote areas, cell towers, exploration equipment, backup power & water pumps for natural gas mines; rapid deployment diesel & wind solutions (to include airdrop) to disaster areas for power to emergency and medical equipment, water pumps; on-grid applications for farms, factories, remote communities; and wind farm deployments.