Solar-powered air travel – a waste of resources or an opportunity?

As those attempting to circumnavigate the globe in Solar Impulse, the solar-powered aeroplane, contemplate the long leg across the Pacific, what, if anything, does it mean for us as individuals living and working in the UK?

Is it merely an expensive philanthropic exercise and publicity stunt (costing millions just for a single pilot), or should we be looking to this project as a potentially significant and inspirational development in a race to protect our planet against the damage we are causing, and therefore money well spent?

Wright Brothers early biplane flight

The Wright brothers faced opposition 100 years ago, but without their vision and perseverance we would not be travelling the world as we do today. An ironic curse – “progress” has its price (think of Thomas Midgley and leaded petrol and CFCs for example, or the concern over the smog during the Beijing Olympics), but whether or not our children or grandchildren or the food we eat will be flying without fuel in the future, it serves to demonstrate what we are capable of achieving if we channel our resources the right way.

Solar panels on a barn roof

Therefore we should see this as part of a journey, a step in itself, an opportunity to harness renewable energy and devise ways to incorporate this ethos into our lives. Maybe someone will be inspired to develop a viable solar-powered car, or make one harmful industrial process more efficient.

 

Each of us individually can play our part in helping the environment; it is the cumulative effect that will ultimately make the difference. So take responsibility. Lead by example.

What can you do today to make tomorrow’s world a cleaner and more sustainable place?

Biomass boiler in cascade

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Renewable Energy In Schools – The Ideal Contextual Learning Medium

Recently returned from the excellent Independent School Bursars Association (ISBA) annual conference, I’m now buzzing with ideas for how we can support all schools even more with our corporate offering.

StateLibQld_1_141227_Interior_of_a_school_room_at_Postmans_Ridge_in_the_Helidon_district,_ca._1902 (1)

Modern schools look at contextual learning. They also have heating and electricity. Continue reading
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70 years later and we still aren’t listening to energy saving advice

Our Finance Director found these great adverts from the Ministry of Fuel and Power, produced back in the 1940s.

Save electricity in the home 1Save electricity in the home 2Save gas in the home 1Save gas in the home 2

Although laughable in some aspects, (I wouldn’t recommend a weekly wash or turning out your pilot light on your gas boiler) it is a wakeup call to how similar the energy saving advice is now, 70 years on.

We look at behavioural measures at home such as turning off lights in a empty room, turning the heating down by a bar (or degree in our case), or only filling the kettle with as much as we need as ‘new’ responsible ways of acting.  In fact only 6 months ago the BBC published a story highlighting that 3/4 of us Brits overfill our kettles, wasting over £68M a year.  How ridiculous that with 70 years worth of pushing, nagging and advising from the Government we still can’t change this most basic of behaviour.

Why is it that we continue to waste energy when we know the very serious repercussions?  The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) stated in 2013 that the human impact on climate change is ‘unequivocal’ and that we need to act quickly in order to curb the temperatures rising past the additional 2 degrees that we all already face.  We know that our actions contribute directly to global warming and the extreme weather that we are beginning to observe (currently heat waves in Australia, big freezes in the US and flooding here in the UK) and yet we fail to take the steps to change our habits accordingly.

If you want to know see how climate change could pan out within your lifetime have a look at this simple interactive graph.  It’s frightening to see how close we could be to doubling the temperature rise to 4 degrees – the Met Office have produced some startling predictions based on just that.

What needs to happen in order for us to change our behaviour?  Small changes add up and make massive differences, we know that, so why is it so hard to do?

I wonder if the 1940s households, with the real threat and danger of war hanging over them, were able to change their habits to help the war effort.  And I wonder how the advice we receive now will be viewed by our Grandchildren at the end of this century.

Will we be the generation that  listened?

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Why Solar? Let’s shed some light for a brighter 2014

Solar-PV-Info_ART

 

For more information visit the solar panel pages on the Prescient Power website.

Follow the Prescient Power blog to see more great content and don’t forget to share this infographic on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn

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Why Biomass? It might be the cleverest decision you’ll make in 2014

Biomass-Info_ART

Originally designed for farmers, but the message is very relevant to businesses who rely on expensive oil, LPG and electric heating.

For more information on biomass see our Simple Things blog.

Next week – Why Solar?

Follow the Prescient Power blog to see more great content and don’t forget to share this infographic on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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CAP reforms and the brighter side of greening

Greening and renewable energy

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Closing the climate change debate – now what are we going to do about it?

SONY DSC

Climate change is happening now, and greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the dominant cause; this was the statement from the IPCC (the UN’s Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) this month.  It makes for harrowing reading and is the beginning of the end of the ‘debate’ on Climate Change.   Continue reading

Posted in Biomass boilers, Business Practice, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuels, Government Policy, Green Energy, heat pumps, Renewable Energy, solar energy, Solar panels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment