Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Confessions of a Green Councillor

This week (20th-26th October) is Energy Saving Week and this year's theme is 'Green/Life Balance'. According to a survey carried out by the Energy Saving Trust, half of us say we would be greener if we had more time, and a third of us say our job is the main reason we don't have time to be green.

I'm certainly guilty of falling into that category now and then, but I took a small green step forward today when I finally got my water butt connected to my drain pipe. I bought it about 8 years ago but it has been sitting idle at the bottom of the garden ever since as I lacked the DIY skills to remove the cast iron drain pipe and replace it with a plastic one that I could fit a butt to. Anyway, I poached my neighbour's plumber who came and did the job for me this morning. A good example of why free water butt schemes need to include installation!

Left, the finished item. I have another smaller one I'm thinking of putting in the front garden too (hopefully it won't take me 8 years to get round to it). I'm almost looking forward to the next time it rains . . .

To show you just how quick energy saving can be, the Energy Saving Trust have produced an Energy Saving Clock, with suggestions on things you can do, ranging from those that take just 1 minute to an hour to save energy (and money). They also have an interactive energy saving house you can explore and Britain Unplugged a new community site, which they hope will develop into a large scale resource for UK energy savers.

For those wondering what happened to my New Year's resolution post to green up my house and cut my carbon emissions, I hope to be able to post more on this soon. It's taken longer than I expected to get quotes for the work I need doing (the May elections got in the way somewhat too), but I'm close to making some decisions now.

I'm going to replace my draughty and rotting windows with wooden-framed double glazed ones, and hopefully also get insulation under my floor boards and on my walls (they are solid brick walls so this has to be done either inside the rooms or externally - I'm probably going for internal, as only a few of my walls need it, being a terraced house). I've had to submit a planning application for my windows even though it isn't in a conservation area, as it is a house split into 3 flats. Normally this kind of decision would be made by officers under delegated powers, but as I am a councillor it has to go to a full planning committee to make sure it is all above board, so it may take a while yet and be 2009 before I can actually get them fitted.

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