Eco-progresso! March 2, 2010 cliffski Like many geeks I fantasise about turning my house into it’s own power station using renewable tech like solar panels. Wind doesn’t scale down, solar does. Having moved house, it’s now viable to consider installing solar panels. In fact since the govt recently introduced very high new feed-in-tarrifs, its super sensible to do so. Effectively you get a 7% return on the investment, better than most banks for the forseeable future. And that’s not even accounting for eco-smugness. Anyway, the installation costs of solar are way beyond my means right now, but I’m making tiny steps towards energy independence. We bought one of these: That’s a wood-burning stove, not the cat. Wood-burning is very very efficient (in a closed, not open fire). The local power source is longleat, a few miles away. Wood gets delivered by the ton. A ton of wood is a LOT, and you can’t burn it ‘green’, it has to be left to dry out and ‘season’, hence we built a log store: Which I’m very proud of. It has proper tiles and everything! There is just one drawback though. We built the log store to house the 1 ton of wood we bought from longleat, but then we had 3 trees chopped down in the garden. I had underestimated the amount of wood that generates, and that’s it, in the log store, almost full. So the longleat wood which we paid for, is going mouldy in the garage whilst our freshly cut (free!) wood is in the log store. I have neither the energy of enthusiasm to build yet another log store. (It cost about £200 in materials, and a few days hammering and screwing). Anyway, the good news is that the felling of the trees was triple-efficient. Not only do we generate wood we can burn that never leaves the site (eco-smugness++), but it means more sun falls on the once shaded house, which makes it warmer (eco-smugness+++) and opens up the long term possibility of having solar panels. (eco-smugness*2). I’ve wanted solar power for so many years that I reckon I’ll have a special celebration 90% games discount day if I ever get some installed :D Yesterday we had fog drifting over the fields, men wielding chainsaws and some big bird of prey circling the house. It was like a stephen king novel.