Cutting Greenhouse Gases - Greening Beeston
With increasing awareness of the Climate Crisis and COP26, as well as the energy uncertainty in Britain, Greening Beeston's core message of reducing energy and water consumption is particularly relevant.
Greening Beeston Campaign
For over 10 years Greening Beeston has been making people aware of simple ways of cutting down on both energy and water use at home as well as energy use for travel, and so enabled them to help the environment and, in many cases, save themselves money. Even those who have just heard our message will have become more aware of the threat that humans pose to life on Earth.
We want to continue with our campaign and we were so glad to be able to resume our activities after Covid restrictions by taking part in the recent Broxtowe Green Festival. At the heart of our work are two main ideas:
• Firstly, actions which help the environment can save you money.
• Secondly, if small actions by individuals are replicated across Beeston, they can add up to make a significant impact.
Data from our 2010-11 Greening Campaign helped us estimate that households in just part of Beeston had reduced their carbon emissions per year by roughly 7.5 tons of carbon dioxide and 115,000 litres of water. Now, with rising gas prices, we intend to launch a “Hold on to your Heat” campaign to help Beestonians save more money by avoiding wasting heat from their houses. For example, insulating my own house in Beeston has halved the gas consumption.
Renewables, Solar Panels and Insulation
Renewable energy is more of a challenge, but we were delighted to see that Broxtowe Council had put solar panels on their offices. On my recent daily walks I have enjoyed spotting the private houses with solar panels. When it comes to conserving heat with loft insulation it's more difficult to tell if a house has enough, unless there has been a snow fall, because snow remains much longer on a well insulated roof. Insulation is so important for reducing energy use but is also not easy for most people to do.
Cutting gas emissions
Apart from carbon dioxide, the other two main greenhouse gases are methane and nitrous oxide. A book published last year gives details of the greenhouse gas emissions from different foods, inspiring me to give up beef and try to eat more plants. Cattle are the worst for causing methane emissions. You can download ‘Food and Climate Change Without the Hot Air’ by Sarah Bridle for free (from https://www.takeabitecc.org/, plus a Climate Calculator to work out the emissions from different foods). We have been pleased to see the recent popularity of leaving out surplus plants and produce for people to help themselves and were delighted to see Incredible Edibles growing food in various locations in Beeston.
So much more to do with your help
COP is making it clearer just how much needs to be done by everyone to avoid the worst effects of Climate Change. Indeed it has now been renamed Climate Crisis, because the disastrous floods and fires in many countries are definitely not in the normal range any more. The prospect is extremely daunting and we want to do more. We have at least made some difference by helping many residents of Beeston to understand more about what they can do and to do it. But we always welcome any new ideas or offers of help.
Insulation is a really important way to reduce energy consumption, but it is not so easy to do, and heat pumps are expensive. Heat pumps cleverly produce many times more heat than a normal electric fire from a given amount of electricity. They do this by warming indoors while cooling the outdoors. We already have similar pumps in our refrigerators where they do the reverse, (cooling inside while warming outside). Notice the warm air coming from the back of your fridge - well that is all a heat pump does.
The Insulate Britain activists have been in the news recently for causing disruption. While we agree with their aims, their tactics are probably counter-productive and are definitely not our style.
Look out for the “Hold on to your Heat” campaign for insulation and heat pumps. We are looking for people like you to listen and to help. Follow us on: greeninginbeeston.weebly.com
Janet Poliakoff, 13 November 2021
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