Monthly Archives: April 2011

Home energy saving back on the agenda

The Energy Saving Trust wants to make it much easier for housebuyers to identify homes that are expensive to heat by making details of home energy consumption easier to understand. With gas, oil and electricity costs spiralling ever upwards, it makes economic sense to insulate your home and reduce energy use – quite apart from the fact it reduces your home’s carbon footprint – and 27% of  the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from domestic homes. Here are some of the energy saving suggestions from the Trust along with the average cost, the annual saving and the approximate time it takes for the investment to be recouped:

Cavity Wall Insulation             £        250                 2 years (£110 per year saved) 

External wall Insulation         £10,500                  25 years (about £385 per year)

Loft Insulation                            £      150                   1 year (£150 per year)

Draught proofing                       £      100                   4 years (£25 per year)

Condensing boiler                     £2-3,000                10 years (about £225 per year)

Double glazing                            £2-6,000                 20 years + (£130 per year)

And dont forget that curtains can greatly reduce heat loss through windows and even through doors when closed properly. They might well be there already – so those are free!

For more on cavity wall insulation see http://www.suskes.org.uk/16.html 

Source:  Energy Saving Trust

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Another Planet

The Independent (11th April) ran an interesting two page spread on the plight of the Cerrado in Brazil – which is Brazil’s ‘upside down’ forest and outback which is under a far more serous threat than the Brazillian rain forests. This vast wilderness – as big as France, Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK combined, is a massive carbon sink but it is now being covered by field after field of soya beans – sold to the West to feed pigs and chicken to produce meat.  Now only 20% of the Cerrado remains, home to the blue and yellow Macaw, the maned wolf, the giant anteater, pampas deer, the tapir and the giant armadillo. Only 8% of the intact Cerrado savannah is protected and environmentalists are concerned that ever increasing demand for soya will destroy what is left.

UK financial giant Aviva is the best performer in a European list of the top 300 carbon emitters, according to a new ranking system.  Edie.net reports that The system rated Polish mining company KGHM in last place and claims for the first time to rank Europe’s 300 biggest companies according to their greenhouse gas emissions. The system was devised by Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO), a UK based independent non-profit research body, has today (April 26) complied the ET Europe 300 Carbon Ranking.  Nationally the ranking finds Spain and Italy the best for emissions reporting transparency with Switzerland and France lowest. Aviva was followed closely by Dutch financial services firm Aegon, The top three non-financial companies are Switzerland’s leading Telecoms provider Swisscom, followed by Nokia (11th) and BSkyB (13th).

The Boss of Solarcentury, the award winning solar business, has launched a scathing attack on the Government over cuts to Feed-In Tariffs (FITs).  Business leaders have claimed the current uncertainty around FITs has cost the UK around 90,000 jobs and Solarcentury chief executive Derry Newman, said:  ”The UK has the lowest solar ambitions of all major EU economies, less than 1% of our electricity is to be generated by solar by 2020” adding “The current uncertainty risks inhibiting recruitment in this highly skilled and innovative industry, and threatens existing employment. The industry, through campaign group ‘We Support Solar’ is asking the Government to restore confidence in solar and have much greater ambition in the fastest growing electricity generating technology in the world.”

The Eastern Southern States of the USA have suffered some extreme weather over the last few days with an unusual combination of cool air clashing with warm, humid weather and extreme winds at varying altitudes – igniting deadly tornadoes.  AccuWeather.com said more than 900 tornadoes had been reported since April 1st in an onslaught of “severe thunderstorms that has spawned flooding and deadly twisters in parts of the Midwest and Southeast”. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that at least 164 tornadoes tore across a region that stretched from Mississippi to Virginia, flattening homes, flipping over cars and leaving a trail of destruction. The tornadoes and storms killed at least 284 people. In Alabama, the governor declared a state of emergency for all counties. In Mississippi, a state of emergency was declared for 14 counties.

BP has said that it will resume drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico “within months” despite facing billions of dollars of settlements and penalties over the Deepwater horizon disaster – and the ongoing pollution and clean up operation in the area from the massive oil spill.

A new ‘eco-friendly’ service station has opened on the M6 near Preston in the UK. The site, at Brockholes at Junction 31, offers a bird hide, a floating ‘eco village’ and toilets flushed with lake water and an opportunity for motorists to ‘re-enage with nature’.

14 UK festivals get IG

Julie’s Bicycle has awarded fourteen UK festivals its Industry Green certificates, with Shambala becoming the first to get the full three-star award for running almost entirely on renewable energy. Julie’s Bicycle director Alison Tickell told CMU: “The challenge of reducing impacts while growing the business is being tackled head on by this brave group of festivals, It’s not always comfortable to put the green brand to the test. This group of festivals are doing it for real” .The full list of newly awarded festivals is: Big Chill, Glastonbury, Grass Roots, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Isle Of Wight Festival, Latitude, Leeds Festival, Lovebox, Reading Festival, Shambala, Sonisphere, T In The Park, Truck and Wood Festival.

Also out this week are the nominations for the Music Week 2011 Julie’s Bicycle Green Business Award. The six finallists are Firefly Solar CIC, KOKO, The NEC Group, The Premises Studios Ltd, The Sage Gateshead and Truck Enterprises for the Wood Festival.

Green Events and Innovations conference report – sparks fly at Power Panel!

Panellists at the Green Events & Innovations Conference

A Greener Festival are celebrating a really successful first outing of our ‘Green Events and Innovations’ Conference which we ran with Bucks New University with support from the Association of Independent Festivals and Julies Bicycle on April 20th in High Wycombe. The turn out at the one day green get together was really impressive, which really cheered us up, as we put the whole event together in less than a month (actually in three weeks!). We had delegates from a number of innovative green festivals including The Isle of Wight Festival, The Sunrise Celebration, The Glastonbury Festival, Waveform, Nozstock, Splendour, Sonisphere, Truck and Wood Festivals, Roskilde Festival in Denmark, from the Festival Republic Festivals (Reading, Leeds and Latitude Festivals), The Hadra Trance Festival (France) and End of the Road, as well as delegates and speakers from a number of major suppliers including FireFly Solar, Frank Water, Buffalo Power, WaterMills, Robertson Taylor insurance brokers, Innovation Power, LiftShare, Big Green Coach and Network Recycling. We also had nine of our Greener Festival Awards Environmental Auditors attending,  along with academic staff and students from nine UK universities – Dundee University, Sheffield Hallam University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Glamorgan University, Gloucester University,  London Metropolitan University, Bucks New University and De Montford University. A big turn out!

The day started with a presentation from Helen Wright. Helen co-ordinates the Greener Festival Awards scheme in the UK, Europe and  North America and she gave some background to the AGF Awards scheme and the other work AGF does, including the green discount insurance scheme run by Robertson Taylor insurance brokers which provides a discount to festivals who sign uo to some basic green initiatives. Helen’s session was followed by a lively question and answer session (these followed every session with loads of audience interaction).

Next up was Andy Willcott’s from Network Recycling – speaking about waste management at Festivals. Andy highlighted Network Recycling’s work at  the Glastonbury Festival and gave practical and innovative advice on waste management and recycling, including some of the problems that arise when introducing new recycling schemes including composting.  Andy highlighted the importance of limiting the variety and amount of disposable items on site and stressed how valuable it is for promoters to communicate with waste management companies early on in festival planning to synchronise litter picks and bin emptying with artist stage times, both front of house and backstage. Andy was of the opinion that promoters often neglect the importance of recycling which is increasingly cost effective recycling with landfill prices at a record high

The final session of the morning was a talk on measuring Greenhouse Gas emissions given by Helen Heathfield, Associate Director of Energy & The Environment at Julies Bicycle, the cross music industry initiative on climate change. Helen spoke about the Julies Bicycle on-line tools for measuring GHG emissions at festivals (see www.juliesbicycle.com) and the JB ‘IG’ (Industry Green) mark for festivals who can commit to, implement, measure, achieve and communicate real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  

The afternoon kicked off with a short keynote speech from Ben Challis who talked about the role of the arts in fighting climate change. Ben used examples from both the music industry and the visual arts to highlight how effective music, sculpture, paintings, photography, film, television, exhibitions and literature can be in highlighting global warming and environmental issues – but warned of the dangers of ridicule and criticism that face performers and artists when the do make public statements. Ben’s talk was followed by a very lively panel looking at sustainable power solutions for music festivals chaired by Claire O’Neill. All of the panellists, led by Innovation Power’s Rod Hutchinson, agreed that tour buses plugged into temporary power or running their engines all weekends just to keep a fridge cool or the coach air-conditioning on were a major contributor to pollution and energy waste – but none of the panellists could offer real solutions as they all said that the real decision makers were artists – in fact Tom Davidson (Buffalo Power) pointed out that many artists would have a contractual provision entitling them to a guaranteed power supply backstage.

When it came to power generating solutions and reducing power use on-site, there was some fairly lively, interesting and well argued disagreements. Andy Mead (Firefly Solar) said that many festivals could reduce power use simply by turning off power using devices like festoon lighting and tower lights during the day, and that there was simple technology available now to have this done automatically, but Rod Hutchinson (Innovation Power) said that this often presented more problems than  it solved as equipment was often better left on than turned off in the short term at festivals, and that sometimes it was necessary to leave lighting on for health and safety reasons. Tom Davidson  (Buffalo Power) also highlighted the manpower cost in turning off equipment and lighting. The panel did agreed though that at major events,  sustainable power in the UK could not as yet be guaranteed to power main states for large audiences although in the following discussion it was noted that Oya Festival in Norway was one example of reasonably large a festival that is now using 100% green energy – hydroelectricity sourced through their own connection to the Norwegian national grid.  

The final panel on travel solutions provoked numerous audience questions about audience travel, with really interesting panellists who clearly knew what they were talking about. Robin Bennett from Wood and Truck festivals spoke about his festivals’ efforts to reduce cars on site, including a deal with the local bus company in Oxfordshire and an innovative cycling scheme  and Lucy Brooking Clark followed this with an update on Glastonbury’s efforts to promote cycling, train and coach travel and Glastonbury’s new Green Traveller scheme, but highlighted the difficulties the festival faces in persuading people away from cars. The panel chair, Teresa Moore (Bucks New Uni), then asked Zoe Burton from Liftshare and Kevin Green from Big Green Coach to explain how car sharing and coach travel could reduce the environmental impact of audience travel and both gave concise explanations of the improvements that can be achieved by maximising car occupancy (Zoe) and using coach travel to bring festival goers onto the site (Kevin). The day closed with a drinks reception and a strong interest from delegates in repeating the event, either later in 2011 after the UK festival season ends, or in the Spring of 2012.

Photo: Dean Valler 2011

Green Events and Innovations – final speakers announced

Green Events and Innovations – Keynotes, Panels and Presentations

 09.30am        Registration opens (please arrive at the Gateway Building, Buckinghamshire New University and you will be directed over to the conference room (N3.06)

 10.00am        Welcome from Bucks New University and A Greener Festival

10.15am        Introducing the Greener Festival Award:  Presented by Helen Wright, A Greener Festival

 The Greener Festival Award is now in its 5th year and is recognised internationally as a prestigious independent assessment of sustainability and environmental good practice. This session aims to allow delegates the opportunity to understand how the scheme works and what criteria are used in assessing festivals.

11.00am        Waste Management Solutions:  Presented by Andy Willcott, Network Recycling

 Network Recycling are acknowledged experts in providing waste management solutions to festival and Andy Willcott will provide a presentation on practical and effective waste management regimes for festivals. The presentation will follow a group discussion on the opportunities and challenges ahead for reducing and managing event waste most effectively.

12.00pm        Measuring GHG Emissions: Presented by Helen Heathfield, Julies Bicycle

Established in 2007 by and for the UK music industry, Julie’s Bicycle is a non-profit company working with the creative industries to co-ordinate and catalyse best practice in sustainability and develop cultural leadership around climate issues to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. JB help organisations understand their carbon impacts and take responsibility for reducing them by providing clear, practical advice and support, based on the best available research, tools and which will be explained by Helen Heathfield, Julies Bicycle’s Associate Director for Energy & The Environment.

 1:00pm          Lunch Break: Lunch is not provided but there are two cafeterias at Bucks New University – Rusty Bucks in the Gateway Building (ground floor) and Beats (1st floor) as well as a number of pubs and restaurants in the centre of High Wycombe, just 5 minutes walk away.

 2.00pm          Keynote: The Role of Arts in Climate Change. Ben Challis 

 2.30pm          PANEL: Sustainable Power Solutions

 Whilst travel is known to be the highest contributor to a green field event’s GHG emissions, on site power is something that is possibly more within the control of organizers, and area where a demand from green solutions is seen to be rising in conjunction with some of the technological advancements of our society. This panel brings together a range of expertise on power  – from festival organisers, education, long established generator and large scale power providers, to those with smaller scale innovative solutions. The panel will discuss what is available on the market at present, what is being done, what are future the challenges, and where do we go from here?

 Panelists

Andy Mead (Firelfly Solar)

Juliet Ross-Kelly (Eco Action Partnership, Isle of Wight Festival)

Helen Heathfield (Julies Bicycle)

Sam Jenner (Eco Charge Technologies)

Rob Hutchinson (Innovation Power)

Tom Davidson (Buffalo Power)

 Moderator: Claire O’Neill  (AIF / A Greener Festival)

 3.45pm         PANEL: Travel Solutions for Music Festivals

 With audience travel now acknowledged as the biggest contributor to the music industry’s carbon footprint, panellists will discuss what festivals are doing to reduce car travel to festivals. Questions to be asked include what are the most and least polluting options of travel? Are there any new initiatives on the horizon? And what works and what doesn’t?

 Panellists

Lucy Brooking Clarke (Glastonbury Festival)

Kevin Green (Big Green Coach)

Zoe Burton (Liftshare.com)

Robin Bennett (Wood/Truck festivals)

 Moderator: Teresa Moore (Bucks New Uni)

 All sessions are in N3.06

 5.15pm          Drinks Reception, The GlassHouse  just under the subway 2 minutes away

 6.30pm          Close

PRESENTED BY A GREENER FESTIVAL AND BUCKINGHAMSHIRE NEW UNIVERSITY AND  SUPPORTED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT FESTIVALS, JULIES BICYCLE , ROBERTSON TAYLOR, BIG GREEN COACH & DMS

The course is aimed at Event Managers and Organisers,  Environmental Mangers working in the Events and Festival Industry, Green suppliers and Students who wish to learn more about Sustainable Event Management

Register at: https://store.bucks.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&prodid=39&deptid=154&catid=8

Up to six trains from Birmingham and London to High Wycombe every hour.

ANOTHER PLANET

One of the casualties of the cuts that the Republicans demanded to end the stalemate over the US Budget is the US Governments role in measuring Carbon Emissions. The move is part of a $38 billion raft of cuts carefully selected by the Republicans in areas they don’t believe the US Government should be active.

Edie.net reports that European Union carbon emissions increased by slightly more than 3% last year as the continent’s economy improved. Europe estimated that an  increases 1,935 million tonnes (Mt) of greenhouse gases were emitted by the 27 countries in the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and Norway. The rise, which is attributed to an improved economic outlook, is however 50 Mt below the 2010 EU ETS cap of 1,985 Mt, meaning the scheme is oversupplied for the second year in a row and the fifth time in six years.

ESB International (ESBI) has applied for foreshore exploration licences to develop a 5 Megawatt wave energy project off the west coast of Ireland. The licences will allow ESBI to conduct marine surveys and resource measurements at two locations, Killard Point, Co Clare and the Achill Area, Co Mayo.  The proposed project, named the WestWave project, aims to generate an initial 5MW of electricity from wave energy by 2015.

UK Landfill tax has  risen by £8 (on April 1st 2011) per tonne as the UK’s first environmental tax marks another milestone. The tax, originally introduced by the Conservative environment minister Lord Gummer in 1996, aims to force local authorities to recycle by making the cost of landfilling prohibitive. From today the tax is now £56 a tonne and will continue to rise by £8 a year until at least 2014 after measure brought in by the coalition government in its first emergency budget.

Bolivia is set to pass new laws which grant nature equal rights with humans  – the laws of Mother Earth. The new laws are designed to reduce pollution and environmental damage and control industry – in particular ‘development projects that affect the balance of of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities’. Its not clear how effective the new laws will be court but a new ombudsman will be appointed and they do give local communities certain rights to monitor and control polluting industries. More on Bolivia and the effects of climate change here  http://bit.ly/ccbpo .

China, currently the world’s largest investor in renewable energy, is increasing its resources after buying 24 more wind turbines. Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has signed its first order in 2011 with China Longyuan Power Group, the country’s largest renewable business in terms of generation, for 24 2 MW wind turbines. The turbines, which are the V80 model and will generate a total of 48 MW of power, will be installed in Zhongmen, Putian County in the coastal province of Fujian in south eastern China.

The UK government has said that the farming industry must live up to its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) agriculture minister, Jim Paice was speaking at the launch of the farming industry’s Greenhouse Gas Action Plan (GHGAP).  Agriculture currently contributes around 9% of the UK total of greenhouse gas emissions and it is the single largest emitter of nitrous oxide (76% of the UK total) and accounts for 38%of the UK’s methane emissions.

The Eden Project has announced plans to cut its carbon emissions by more than half by 2015. In four years Cornwall’s Eden wants to reduce emissions by 55%, which is also a reduction of 80% in CO2 against a 2008 baseline. The cuts will be made by reducing power use by implementing a raft of new efficiency measures designed to cut its CO2 emissions and also new initiatives such as the biggest installation of LED lights in the country.

Four sailors on-board a raft made of polyethylene pipes and a pig shelter have crossed 3,000 miles of the Atlantic and raised thousands of pounds for a WaterAid. The raft, named An-Tiki, was captained by 85-year-old Anthony Smith with a three-man crew – aged between 56 and 61 years old. See more at http://www.justgiving.com/antiki

Edie.net report that  the UK’s Department of Transport has announced £46 million worth of funding for 542 new low carbon buses. The money is part of the Government’s drive to target investment in new projects that promote green growth and encourage use of sustainable local transport. The Green Bus Fund lets bus operators and local authorities bid for the grants to help them purchase the low carbon buses.

GREEN EVENTS AND INNOVATIONS CONFERENCE – 20TH APRIL 2011

The Morning encompasses a training session with presentations and workshops on sustainable events management. The Afternoon will be a full conference for everyone interested in key innovations for sustainable events and greener festivals. The course is aimed at Event Managers and Organisers,  Environmental Mangers working in the Events and Festival Industry, Green suppliers and Students who wish to learn more about Sustainable Event Management. Register at:

at  https://store.bucks.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&prodid=39&deptid=154&catid=8 .

The Agenda

10.00   Introduction Ben Challis (AGreenerFestival) & Teresa Moore (Bucks New University)

10.15   The Greener Festival AuditHelen Wright (AGreenerFestival)

11.00   Sustainable waste managementAndy Willcott (Network Recycling)

12.00   Measuring Greenhouse Gas emissions at festivals  – Helen Heathfield (Julies Bicycle)

13.00   Lunch

14.00   KEYNOTE: the role of the arts in climate change    Ben Challis

14.30   PANEL: Sustainable power solutions  Chair: Claire O’Neill (AIF) with  Andy Mead (Firefly Solar), Helen Heathfield (Julies Bicycle), Juliet Ross Kelly (Eco Action Partnership/Isle of Wight Festival) , Sam Jenner (Eco-Charge Technology)

15.30   PANEL and debate:  Travel solutions for music festivalsChair: Teresa Moore, with  Danny Newby (Big Green Coach),  Lucy Brooking Clark (Glastonbury Festival)

17.15   Drinks Reception (supported by Robertson Taylor)

18.30   Closes

Buckinghamshire New University, Alexandra Road, High Wycombe HP11 1JZ. Trains from Marylebone and Birmingham to High Wycombe