Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Attic Insulation & CFL Bulbs


Private Business
Doing more to Promote
Energy Efficiency
than highly funded
Government Agencies

I received a letter from Change.ie in reply to mine of 16th December last. I guess 7 weeks is not bad for a government funded agency to reply in.

from: info@change.ie
to: thenewoil@gmail.com
date: Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 9:54 AM
subject: RE: Reducing coal usage

Dear Tony,

There are a number of Government schemes currently in place which do support low tech – low cost ways of reducing dependence on fossil fuels and lowering ones carbon number. Details of these and other Government initiatives taken to tackle the problem of climate change can be found on the following page of the Change.ie website:


We look forward to hearing from you.

The Change Team

My Reply:

Many thanks for your reply to my e-letter of 16th December last. I have looked at the schemes you have indicated, and indeed there would appear to be some available incentives on low-tech energy saving.

However, for such schemes to be in any way effective, they must be (1) very attractive, and (2) very simple to adopt. The schemes you indicate meet neither of these criteria.

I personally started my own DIY attic insulation job recently, to double the existing amount of insulation. I did it DIY and without any grants, because there was simply too much hassle going the routes you indicated. Additionally, by doing it DIY, I still ended up with more savings than going any grant route.

Ignore the Grants GO-TO HomeBase instead.

Homebase hardware store recently had a special offer on an improved type of fibreglass insulation called “SpaceBlanket”. This insulation is especially suitable for DIY installation.

SpaceBlanket” is fibreglass enclosed in a plastic sheath and it also has a thermal reflective layer on one side, making it more efficient.

HomeBase were offering 50% price reduction. The Killarney branch was repeatedly selling out their stock, I had to ring several times to get my requirements.

Homebase were also offering Philips CFL bulbs at 79 cent each for a 60 watt equivalent and 1.49 for a 100 watt equivalent. I encouraged a dozen friends to take advantage of these excellent prices and completely change all their household bulbs.

In order to have any real effect schemes must be VERY simple and must be ATTRACTIVE.

Offer people a box of CFL for €20 or attic insulation materials at 50% or 60% reduction and large numbers of people will go for it. Ask HomeBase how many CFL’s they sold in the promotion, and how much of the “SpaceBlanket” insulation they shifted?

Now if Government money and Government agencies like SEI and Change.ie were doing as much to promote CFL bulbs and attic Insulation as HomeBase wouldn't it be great!!!!

Reducing Coal Usage by 50%

Government agencies are almost completely ignoring a simple, inexpensive, and effective way of reducing coal usage and making open fires safer at the same time. Fireplace doors are worth looking at.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Are the Irish Greens Composting?


Green Light Not Burning
so Brightly

Is the Green Party is cracking up? Today it's only Dublin City councillor, Bronwen Maher, was the second Green politician to resign from the party inside of a week.

Her reasons are summed up by her statement "The important issues facing people today are the cost of living and protecting jobs. To be seen primarily promoting environmental issues, the role we are currently playing in Government, is making the party irrelevant and out of touch" .

It would be somewhat OK if the way in which the Green Party are supporting the environment were in touch with reality – but they most certainly are not. Many of the environmental “pushes” sound more like something coming from the loony left.

Green should mean Lean

Masses of money is being wasted by SEI and Change.ie pushing expensive geothermal and wood pellet systems etc. to the very few people that can actually afford to install them. At the same time, simple and inexpensive measures like promoting CFL lamps, attic insulation in older homes, and fireplace doors for the million or so open fires currently burning in Ireland, (a measure that could reduce coal usage by half), are being essentially ignored.

While all this Who-Ha and money is being flung at pushing very costly hi-tech systems, there is at the same time no control of fuel prices, no understanding or acknowledgement of "Fuel Poverty" as a very real issue in Ireland today, and almost no understanding or input into the simple, cheap, and practical methods of cutting CO2.

Get real Greens!!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sustainable Energy Ireland open another Pandora's Box


Sustainable Energy Ireland
The Gravy Train Mentality

SEI (Sustainable Energy Ireland), a highly funded Irish Government agency, initiated an “Installer” scheme just over two years ago. Anyone – - yes anyone - could apply to SEI to be listed as an official Sustainable Energy Installer.

The much beloved "Gravy Train" helped set in motion by SEI

What do you know?? Everyone and Anyone and all their cousins and friends got themselves listed. This reckless act of SEI was a licence to print money for the hoards of “expert” “installers”. And - by heavens - did they take advantage of it.

There is enough evidence of the failure of the SEI system to protect the public already available, so I don’t have to reiterate any of it again here.

SEI then set up extremely generous grant schemes for installing wood-pellet and other heating systems. They did nothing to regulate the price of the equipment, nor did they do anything to regulate the price of installation.

So what do you know, yep – the prices shot up and the gougers had a field day.

In promoting the use of wood-pellets systems, it did not seem to occur to anyone at SEI that they should check to see if the suppliers of wood pellets could cope with the increased demand. The consequence of this appalling oversight was that the country nearly ran out of wood pellets one winter.

The latest gaff made by SEI is the setting up of a BER (Building Energy Rating) “Expert” registry. This move had sparked off a new gravy train. For a fee you, me, and Uncle Tom Cobley and all, can get a basic training in BER and then for another “fee” we can all become registered by SEI. This gives us a licence to charge up to €300 per hour for an assessment on a private house. No problem to do three of these assessments in a day – nice money for an outlay of a couple of thousand!!!

SEI has opened yet another loop-hole for gougers that could be described as a Pandora’s box. Just take a look at the previous post and its link.

Should not the first principle of a Government Sustainable Energy Promoting Agency be to set high safety standards? (wood-pellet systems had very poor safety standards applied) Should not the second principle be to protect the public, not only in safety and standards but from rogue merchants and price gougers? Should not a third principle be to set-up systems to ensure MAXIMUM value for the public with prices matching those in Germany etc?

All of these principles were substantially ignored by SEI. Sure they did a good job of being a general information and promotion centre. But they served the general public poorly and continue to do so.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sustainable Energy Ireland another Cock-up?


(not a mis-spell)


Beware of SEI Licenced
BER Assessors

Another Cock-Up by SEI in the licensing and the releasing on an unsuspecting public of BER energy assessors “experts” who will energy test your house for a hefty fee €275 to €358 for between one and three hours work.

A recent article in the Times Online by Colin Coyle titled “One House, three energy ratings paints a familiar picture of more SEI “experts” at work. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article5489435.ece Please do read the article, it's an education and may save you money.

The article details an experiment where three SEI licensed “experts” were hired to assess the same house. All three gave very different assessment figures and charged very different fees and took very different times to do the “expert” assessment.

It would be well for the public to beware of anyone calling himself or herself an SEI registered “installer” or “assessor”.

It is a sadly familiar situation to the SEI installer scandal of two years ago. It is yet another illustration of an over funded organisation which lacks any ability to do joined up thinking and is collectively a few brain cells short of a synapse.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nano Carbon and Ultra Capacitors


"Graphine" the Answer

Ultra Capacitors?

Researchers at The University of Texas have been working on ultra-capacitors and recon that they have achieved a breakthrough. It involves the use of a carbon based nano material one-atom thick called "graphene".

The researchers think the new material could double the capacity of existing ultra capacitors. Now I don’t know if this statement about doubling the capacity includes the research I detailed in a previous post, where they have grown nano-fur on aluminium sheets greatly increasing the surface area, I doubt it somehow!!

Ultra Capacitor Post

The post was last March. Here is the link: http://wood-pellet-ireland.blogspot.com/2008/03/batteries-vital-to-energy-future.html

Graphine is Amazing!

Graphene has a surface area of some 2630 square meters per gram WOW!!! About the size of a football field could be covered with material weighing just 1/500th of a pound.

This ultra thin – ultra light material means much more capacitor or capacity per cubic centimetre.

Having large enough capacity and fast enough charging times in batteries and other storage methods for electricity are the ONLY two things standing in the way of efficient electric cars and storage for wind farms etc.

If they get the Ultra Capacitor right we will have electric cars with 1000Km range and the ability to recharge in 10 minutes rather than 10 hours.

We may be waiting a while yet to see that realised. It is advisable that you do not hold your breath while waiting!!!