Tara Gould is a writer, blogger and journalist covering ethical business, sustainable living, politics and culture. She is based in Lewes, East Sussex, U.K., and you can find her at @EthicalBizTara.
We all know that driving an economical car can save money both in tax and petrol, but what can you do in your home to keep carbon dioxide from the air and money in your wallet?
Thankfully, there are many incentives in Britain to keep your home green and your wallet healthy.
The Green Deal
One such government scheme is the Green Deal, which helps homeowners and business managers afford energy-saving improvements for their house or business.
Homeowners can buy various energy-saving improvements for their homes, including:
- Insulation, such as loft and cavity insulation
- Heating measures
- Double glazing
- Renewable energy technologies
The great thing about the Green Deal is the fact that it does not work like a loan, as you do not have to pay anything up front. And the debt stays with the house, not with the person.
This means of course, that if you move home, you no longer have to pay the debt back; that moves on to the new owners.
To apply, all you need to get is an assessment from a Green Deal assessor, choose which provider you want to carry out the work for you, and sign the contract.
The payments will then be taken out of your electricity bill. The great thing is, however, if the assessor finds that the deal will end with you paying more money, you will not be able to take it out.
This means that, if approved, the deal will always be beneficial to you.
Economical Household Products
One such product that can help you save money is an LED lighting setup.
LED lights are beneficial in many ways. Not only can they live for up to 50,000 hours (compared to 2,000 hours of a fluorescent bulb), but an LED light only uses 20% of its energy for heat.
As incandescent bulbs use 90% of their energy for heat, and fluorescent bulbs 80%, LEDs are far more efficient. This means they save you a tonne of cash in the long run.
Check out this calculator to see how much you can save with LED lighting.
Various draught-proofing devices can help you save money by stopping draughts running through your home. By being able to stop draughts, your heating will run more efficiently, meaning that you’ll save money as the house warms up quicker.
It has been estimated that 27% of heat in a hallway can be lost through a letter box. Letterbox flaps are great for excluding draughts in your doorway and will work as soon as they are installed.
People in the UK just love our tea. In fact, the country on a whole drinks around 70 million cups a day; so it’s important to save money here too.
Although it may sound silly to buy an ECO kettle, if the whole country bought one, we would save 60% of the energy used (1,270,000,000 KWh) to make the nation a cup of tea every year.
With just 200,000 eco kettles sold so far, the ECO kettle has saved around 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the air.
Small changes, added together, make a big difference.
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)
Hannah Trafford writes for the British firm LED Lighting Depot, a new online trader of LED lighting that provides some of the largest brands on the market along with its own unique brand, Lumaera.
March 10, 2010 by Julia Wasson
Filed under 2010, Blog, Climate Change, England, Environment, Europe, Event Venues, Events, Fair Trade, Front Page, Green Living, Organic Food, Slideshow, Sustainability, UK
Community members and visitors in South Manchester, England are gearing up for the second-annual Chorlton Big Green Festival, to be held March 27. In 2009, an estimated 4,000 visitors gathered at the first festival where they learned about living lighter on the planet and celebrated the green lifestyle.
The 2010 event, which begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the 27th, will include a mix of entertainments and exhibits, a bicycle race, and a wide variety of organic foods. “The idea behind Chorlton’s Big Green Festival,” say the organizers, “is to offer local people the chance to sample sustainability in fun and friendly surroundings.”
Several types of events are promised for the day, but don’t miss the lead-off Thursday evening at the What Next? Forum.
What Next? Forum
The Big Green Festival has a new offering this year: On Thursday, March 25, the public is invited to attend the inaugural What Next? Forum. The evening will begin with talks by three green-living experts.
- Marc Hudson, editor of Manchester Climate Fortnightly and the recent report Call to Real Action, will discuss the latest word in climate change science.
- A resident of Ashton Hayes (TBA) in Cheshire will talk about how those who live in the village are working to become England’s first carbon-neutral community.
- Andrew Leask from the Trafford Eco-House will describe what he and his family are doing to create sustainability in their three-bedroom home in Sale.
The Green Festival Discussion Group will finish off the evening with short presentations, followed by an open forum about how to make Chorlton greener. If you’re interested in the topics — or just curious — join in at 7:15 PM at St Clement’s Church, Edge Lane/St Clement’s Road, Chorlton.
The theme of the festival this year is “Growing Locally,” which includes both gardening and growing your own food. Find out about garden allotments, plant swapping, and home delivery box schemes, among other topics. Tours of the Ivygreen Alotments will leave the Festival site at 2 PM and 3 PM.
The bike parade was a highlight of last year’s Festival, and this year promises to be no exception. Decorate your bike and don a costume if you wish — the theme, of course, is Green! Riders are invited to gather at St. Clement’s Church. The parade will begin at noon.
Several bike-related activities will take place during the day, including a free bike clinic. You’ll also find information on cycle paths and cycle safety, as well as low-cost bike repairs and bikes for sale.
Participating groups confirmed so far include the following:
Dead Rats – free bicycle clinic
Jack Cooper of Freewheelin’ – low-cost bike repairs and refurbished bikes for sale
Bike Right – information on cycling safely
Practical Cycles – bikes for sale and demos of cargo bikes
Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign – info on bike training
Friends of Fallowfield loop – info on cycle paths
Sustrans – info on cycle paths
Have you ever wondered about alternative therapies such as Reiki, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Shiatsu, Sound Therapy, Homeopathy, or the Alexander Technique? You’ll have an opportunity to try each of these and more at the Festival. For free “taster” sessions of the various techniques, go to the second floor of St. Clement’s Church.
In the spirit of learning about “all things eco and ethical,” the Festival offers unique workshops for adults and kids. Confirmed offerings include the following, with more in the works:
- Learn to identify wild foods and herbs for medicinal remedies with by foraging with Medical Herbalist Jesper Launder.
- Watch an exciting demonstration by Dreads ‘n’ Hoops, a talented troupe of hoop dancers, circus performers, and movement teachers. Then grab a hoop and try it yourself!
- Get your creative juices flowing with the folks from the Grumpy Play Resource Centres as you make your own scarecrow.
Food and Drink
It wouldn’t be much of a festival without delicious goodies to eat and drink. Big Green Festival-goers will be able to purchase delicacies from a variety of Manchester’s best eating venues. Diners will also enjoy Fair Trade and environmentally friendly foods, including excellent organic and vegan selections. Come hungry!
If thirst strikes you during the day, take advantage of the opportunity to taste delicious ales and ciders from local breweries. Or, choose from organic wines and treat the kids to hot or cold soft drinks. Of course, no eco festival would be complete without a pedal-powered smoothie maker; your smoothie never tastes so good as when you truly “make it” yourself.
Music for Every Taste
Attendees will be treated to entertainment from such notables as SRGents (other/blues/melodramatic popular song – in French), Thingumabob and the Thingumajigs (showtunes/music/comedy), Dr. Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band (acoustic/blues/jazz), Vanessa Lewis (acoustic/jazz/folk), I am Blackbird, Robin Mukherjee (acoustic), Samson and Delilah (other/acoustic/folk), Extra Love (reggae), Maliika (soul/ambient/acoustic), Blind Atlas (rock/blues/country), and the Rothwell Incident (psychedelic/ska/Southern rock).
Artists performing on the green stage include Irish folksinger Albert Thompson, classical guitarist Arlen Connolly, and Indie/acoustic/pop artist Taylor Giacoma. Additional acts include Lowrisers (folk rock/reggae/funk) and Midge Bite Band (ceilidh). A solar- and wind-powered sound system will broadcast green tunes throughout the day.
What more could you want? A dancefloor? They’ll have that, too.
Three exciting films will be showing during the day. The Vanishing of the Bees explains the disappearance of the bee population around the world. Following the film, beekeeper John Charlton of Manchester Beekeepers will speak about beekeeping.
Glocal tells the story of an American family who moved to Chorlton, leaving their “consumption-obsessed lifestyle” behind. “Glocal challenges the viewer to be more aware of the impact of their daily routine on their health, the environment and even international relations.”
Sisters on the Planet, a film by Oxfam, chronicles the stories of four women from around the world. The film “the destructive impact climate change is having in different communities around the globe” and shows how the women are fighting climate change in their own ways, in the developed and the developing world.
Scarecrows, Vintage Fashion, and Arts & Swaps
Festival-goers are encouraged to start now to create a handmade scarecrow for the Scarecrow Competition. Several scarecrows will be displayed at local businesses in the week leading up to the Festival. Scarecrows will need to assemble (well, you’ll have to bring them, unless yours comes from Oz) by 10 AM at the church.
Once again, the Festival will host a vintage/retro fashion show featuring clothing from local charity shops. The emphasis this year will be on a discussion of the history of waste and recycling since the 1960s.
Check out the craft stalls with recycled and reclaimed goods. Meet local artists and environmentalists. Network. And in true environmentalist spirit, swap your used books, crafts, or clothes you no longer need that someone else might love.
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)
Though it’s still August, it’s not too early to start thinking about events that will take place next spring. Odette O’Reilly wrote to tell us that plans are already in progress for the second annual Big Green Festival in Chorlton, South Manchester, England. From all that we hear — and the delightful photo gallery posted on the website — this year’s Festival was a great success. But it takes a lot of dedicated people to make it all come together as seamlessly as the first one did. If being in the thick of the action appeals to you, now is the time to step forward and volunteer. Read on to learn more. — Julia Wasson, Publisher
The wheels are in motion once again for the second Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, which will take place on Sat 27 March 2010.
Nobody could have predicted the success of April’s festival, which brought in more than 1,500 festival goers, and saw the likes of a bicycle parade around Chorlton, wheelie bin displays, a solar/wind powered sound system, swap shops and a foot stomping ceilidh, as well as guest speakers, eco workshops and live entertainment.
The phenomenal turn out really brought it home that there is a huge desire within the community to tackle green living issues head on and explore what choices we have, in making small changes to our lives.
Once again, the festival will aim to draw in local businesses, musicians, residents and organisations to make the day as fun packed and informative as possible, and to showcase all that is green in Manchester. We also aim to expand 2010’s festival by introducing an evening of guest speakers and holding an open forum on Thursday 25 March, which will be followed by the main event, held on Saturday 27 March.
The first planning meeting for the festival is to be held at 7.30pm on Thursday 10 Sept at St Clement’s Church, Chorlton. We’re looking for as many enthusiastic volunteers as possible to get involved this year so we can generate new ideas and get some fresh perspectives. Let’s make the next festival bigger and better and accessible to all!
For more information contact – Odette O’ Reilly:
Chorlton’s Big Green Festival
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)
Lest anyone labor under the false impression that going green has to be deadly serious business, we wanted to pass along the following announcement about what promises to be a fantastically fun eco-event. Should you happen to be in the the South Manchester area the first weekend in April, you won’t want to miss this delightful day of festivities. By the way, if you do attend, be sure to send us photos to post! — Julia Wasson
Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, a brand-new date in South Manchester’s calendar, is inviting local residents to get on their bikes and join in Chorlton’s first-ever Big Green Bike Parade.
To promote the green message and day’s events, Chorlton’s Big Green Festival-goers will be taking to the streets with the Big Green Bike Parade. Anyone with two wheels is urged to join the ride around the Chorlton Green, Chorltonville and Beech Road area at noon on Saturday 4 April.
Attention-seekers are welcome, with participants being encouraged to decorate their bikes and wear fancy dress (the theme is green!) for maximum impact. Families are invited to take part and local schoolchildren will be involved in Festival preparations in the run-up to the day. There will be a competition for best-dressed bike and best fancy-dress outfit, with some fabulous prizes up for grabs thanks to local businesses — so kids are advised to get creative over the half-term holiday!
The bike ride is suitable for all ages, young or old. Community PC Eric Smith will ensure police officers and/or CSOs are available at strategic points along the route, and members of St John Ambulance will also be on hand. The Festival organisers will also have stewards present and are recruiting volunteers to help out on the day (please email: email@example.com).
There will be lots of other bicycle-focused activities on the car-free Festival site itself. A selection of unusual bikes will be available for Festival-goers to try out in the not-the-carpark area, and free repair workshops are taking place — so if a flat tyre or broken chain is your excuse for not cycling, bring your bike along and get it back on the road.
There will also be a bicycle polo match to watch and get involved in, plus an exciting performance by innovative bike dance troupe The Spokes.
The issue of climate change and resource depletion is getting too big to ignore, and Chorlton’s Big Green Festival aims to help the community explore new and interesting ways to incorporate sustainability into everyday living — with Chorlton’s Big Green Festival promising to be an action packed, fun-filled event showcasing all that’s green and great in Manchester.
As well as the bike-related events, there will be live entertainment, food and drink stalls, raffles, swap shops, therapy sessions, art exhibitions, craft workshops, guest speakers and an exciting foot-stomping ceilidh. With outdoor stages and indoor zones, think Glastonbury, but even more fabulous and friendly! Be sure to look for performances from Thingumabob and the Thingumajigs and Dr. Butler’s Medicine Hatstand Band.
Chorlton’s Big Green Festival will take place on Saturday 4 April 2009 at the St Clement’s venue (located where Edge Lane and High Lane meet at the junction with Manchester Road and St Clement’s Road). Further details are available on Chorlton’s Big Green Festival website.
Chorlton’s Big Green Festival
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)