Is global cooling the answer to global warming?


Though increasing effort goes into combating the worldwide effects of pollution, will it be enough? And if not, then what? Roger Angel, University of Arizona Regents Professor and the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory's director, suggests not interposing a great big sci-fi type mirror between us and the sun, but trillions of tiny "flyers", in a glistering silver shield to break up the sun's rays and disperse them (or better still, in some future generation, absorb that power and turn it into something usable by man). Flyers are transparent sheets 60cm in diameter and vastly thinner than a human hair, each weighing about a gram, which would be launched in a cloud encircling the earth, with a diameter of about 100,000 kilometers. If we start now, and launch one every five minutes, by 2017 it would be entirely in place. Or, Angel says, we could just do a better job of cleaning up the place now. [GT]

Technology Review: Cooling the Planet

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February 27, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Intelliplug makes energy saving easy


Plug your computer into the Intelliplug master socket, and plug your, for example, monitor and printer into the slave sockets. Then when you turn off the computer, the Intelliplug automatically cuts power to the monitor and printer. Recommended by the Energy Saving Trust. £17. [GT]

Intelliplug [via EcoStreet]

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February 27, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flisom says thin film solar to wipe out fossil power


New thin film solar, so lightweight and flexible it can be stuck to the side of buildings (or clothing for that matter) is about to sweep the marketplace and provide power at half the cost of the current fossil-fuel generated juice, says Anil Sethi, the chief executive of the Swiss start-up company Flisom.  The thin film will be manufactured in rolls like cellophane tape, and within a decade, hit only 50p per watt - which is the tipping point.  The power is at about £2 per watt now, so it's getting close.  It'll also mean mobiles, mp3 players, etc, will carry their own power-generation sources so those nasty cables will be a thing of the past.  [GT]

Monday view: Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half [via Treehugger]

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February 20, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mean, green washing machines

Washer_1 They can't really talk, but Asda are urging us all to help the environment in 2007 by turning down the temperature on our washing machines. Care instructions on all items of the George clothing range will suggest a 30 degree wash instead of the now outlawed 40, and since I am reliably informed that George clothing is now acceptable even to supermodels, that could account for an awful lot of degrees...

More than you might think, in fact. The amount of power wasted by the UK's 'archaic' washing habits according to a recent study is an almighty 1.6 billion kilowatts, which is enough to power a time machine costs us £200,000 a year, and contributes 25% of the UK's CO2 emissions from homes. So perhaps we should listen to Uncle George after all...

What else can you do to avoid wasteful washing? You might want to get your hands on some of these Eco Balls which offer a greener solution to conventional detergents. But rumour has it they're selling out fast!

February 5, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Lights out on 1st Feb!

5min_repit_logo_1 News of a fun and inventive way to raise awareness of global warming has just landed in our inbox, and we'd like to ask readers to join us as we take part in what could turn out to be a very interesting experiment this Thursday...

French environmental group L'Alliance pour la Planète is urging people all over the world to turn out their lights and other electrical gadgets for five minutes at 19:55 (GMT+1hr) on the night of the 1st Feb. The group wants not only to 'give the planet a rest', but to draw attention to the seriousness of energy wastage and climate change. The 'blackout' has been timed to fall on the eve of the release in Paris of the fourth IPCC report on climate change; the most thorough such overview to date.

So spread the word, get your friends involved, have your candles at the ready, and prepare for darkness to reign, if only for a few minutes. And for us big-city dwellers, there's always the hope that we might actually get to see the stars!

January 30, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

One Billion Bulbs asks YOU to save money and power


How would the world change if one billion incandescent bulbs were removed, and replaced with compact fluorescents? One Billion Bulbs says, why sit around wondering - let's do it! Everyone who removes an incand and replaces it with a CF is asked to make note of it at, where they have a global map showing how much progress has been made. So far, over 9500 bulbs have been registered, primarily in North America, Sweden and Norway. Only 39 bulbs changed in the UK - so pop over to the store, come back, and register! [GT]

One Billion Bulbs

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January 18, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Solar Powered Monitors not ready for daytime


While we're interested in solar power breaching the computer-centric workplace, we agree with the assessment that the solar powered monitor system seemingly proposed by NEC is goofy. Anybody who has a window in their office is hardly going to want to block it off with a big black solar panel, and anyhow, solar panels can be used to power anything. But perhaps there's something to it that we're just Not Getting. [GT]

Solar-powered monitors not so bright?

Related stories: Apple Patents Hybrid Low Power Computer Mouse | Green tips for computer energy savings | Tameside Council's £30 fine for leaving PCs on

January 17, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kitchen renovation the green way

Frankfurter Küche - Frankfurt kitchen

I'm shortly to embark on the horrendous (in England) house-selling-and-buying process. Naturally I'll be looking out for green features but, to be honest, I'm a big fan of Victorian houses so I doubt I'll find much in that regard. My main concern as a foodie, is the kitchen, and I'm likely to end up ripping out any kitchen and replacing it with my own design.

Handily for me, Style Will Save Us Green Guru Penney Poyzer has shared a few thoughts on the eco-renovation of her house along with a decent contact list. It's a short read but interesting nonetheless.

Style Will Save Us: Kitchen Confidential [via Treehugger]

Related stories: eSpares: we keep appliances working | Waterless washing machine | The frugal fridge

Photo credit: The beautiful photo of design classic Frankfurter Küche - Frankfurt kitchen was taken by artemisia_owl and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

January 3, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DIY Solar Lighting From Baker Environmental


I was pretty cross this holiday season to not be able to find much for solar fairy lights. It seems Baker Environmental is at least headed in the right direction with their DIY solar lighting systems. Tailored to specific outdoor uses (garages, sheds, stables, car ports) Baker's goal is also to provide this kind of hardware at a modest price to everyone. Their basic kit is £110 (plus about £6 P + P) which gets you set up with a 5W panel, an 8W all-weather bulb, plus all the wirings and whatnots. After that, no more outdoor mains charges for the foreseeable future. Every two hours of sunlight the panel gets gathers enough power to light up for one hour at night, and the battery holds up to sixty hours. If your needs are greater, check out the deluxe kit at £229 (plus about £10 P + P) with two strip lights and a 10W panel. [GT]

Baker Environmental DIY solar panel installations [via Treehugger]

Related stories: Solar Powered Trackable Clothing | 2006 roundup #18: Solar panels bust out all over | DIY Solar - even in Wales!

January 2, 2007 in Energy saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Barnet Council tries to phase out the bath

Bathtime kitty - the plughole mystery Barnet council is consulting its residents about planning rules it's proposing that will encourage builders only to install showers and not to provide baths.

The rules would apply to house extensions and developments of less than 10 homes. Planning committees will look at whether water flows to power showers have been restricted, water meters have been fitted and a water butt installed, but ultimately the council could refuse planning permission to developments that unnecessarily include a bath.

Presumably the subjective term of 'unnecessarily' allows them to wave through things like housing developments for people of restricted mobility. As a new father, however, I might even argue that I need the bath to wash my daughter, since I doubt she would appreciate a shower at her tender age.  (Not that she enjoys baths either.)

No doubt there'll be a lot of hoo-hah made about this proposal (Vanessa Feltz was on the BBC this morning doing her 'outraged' thing, which put me right off my breakfast) but as Hugh Ellis of Friends of the Earth said: "I would hate the whole debate to get focused on baths... We have got some excellent local authorities that have led the way in addressing climate change and London should be very proud of that."

Fines and bath reduction - council level green action [via How to Save the World for Free]

Related stories: Tameside Council's £30 fine for leaving PCs on | Green Building Company's one stop shop for water saving |

Photo credit:  Bathtime Kitty - the plughole mystery by Prozacblues used under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

December 12, 2006 in Energy saving, Utilities, services & misc, Water saving | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack