Why Installing Solar Panels on Your Home Can Save You Money

Should you, or shouldn’t you? If there is one thing that polarises opinion, it’s how to buy into your own reliable source of alternative energy.

solar-panels

Many home and business owners are considering solar panels with reports of how much money you could save on your energy bills encouraging. A relatively simple system and easy to fix on your roof with high quality solar panel fixings, Balustrade Components takes a look at whether solar panels are the right choice for you.

Are solar panels cost-effective?
Detractors of this technology will take great delight in telling you that in February 2016, the UK Government cut the feed-in tariffs for solar panels. Hence, they say, you won’t get your money back as quickly… but you will still get a return on your investment.

Solar panels on a property don’t usually have an off button and this means that you can, in the summer months especially, generate more electricity than you can use. Thus, seamlessly and without any effort on your part, this excess electricity is ‘fed-in’ to the National Grid. Therefore, you are paid for every kWh of power you feed into the grid, hence the Feed-In Tariff.

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Five Reasons to Love Hemp

Hemp is a highly sustainable plant that can be used for a wide range of purposes. Whilst in some countries it is illegal to grow hemp, many feel this is a very outdated view based on misconception and innaccurate facts. Here in the UK, hemp is legal under government regulations, with a license. So why is it not better utilised? Good question! There are many reasons why hemp is the answer to a more sustainable future.

Here are five reasons to love hemp…

● Hemp is able to grow in different climates, does not require pesticides or herbicides and only needs moderate amounts of water and fertiliser. It only takes approximately 4 months from planting to harvest. So it is relatively quick and easy to grow!

● On an annual basis, more than twice as much hemp fibre vs cotton can be produced so it is a great source of material for clothes, linen and textiles. Also, 1 acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 2-4 acres of trees. Think how many trees hemp could save!

● Hemp is actually better quality than many other materials. For example, hemp paper can last hundreds of years and be recycled far more times. Hemp can also produce fibreboard that is stronger and lighter than wood.

● Hemp is environmentally friendly. It does not require as many toxic chemicals to produce paper, compared to tree-based paper. It can produce high quality substitutes to many plastic products, which would solve our ever-growing plastic pollution problem. Hemp oil can make non-toxic ink, paint, varnish and other things. It could be also be a highly efficient source of clean energy/ fuel.

● Hemp is highly nutritious and high in protein, it could be used to make a wide range of food. It can also be medicinal too.

So hemp could be used effectively in every aspect of our lives; from our clothes and our homes (including floors, curtains, bedding etc…) to our food, from fuel for our homes and cars to making the car itself, provide us with jobs and be used in our workplace, even our technology devices could be made from hemp… what an amazing plant!

If you would like to find out more or shop for hemp products, here are some websites with a good range of items…

www.yaoh.co.uk

www.thehempshop.co.uk

Make A Splash: 5 Ways We Can All Help Our Oceans

We have to keep the momentum going so that we can come together and protect our ocean. Why? Because our ocean is absolutely essential for life itself – not just the food, but the oxygen and weather cycles of the planet all depend on the ocean. ” – Secretary of State John Kerry

No water, no life. No blue, no green. ” –  Sylvia Earle

The health of our oceans is crucial to all life; there is no denying that oceans hold huge importance. Ocean health matters. And right now the statistics are both depressing and worrying. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea (5gyres) and humans have managed to wipe out 90% of the ocean’s top predators in the past 55 years (Oceana).

If we all work together, scientists believe ocean health can be restored. Many of our world leaders are starting to recognise this and are taking action to protect and restore our oceans. For example, France has just declared a ban on single-use plates, cups and utensils from 2020, UK are following USA in banning microbeads and 100+ commitments totaling over $4.8 billion were made at Our Ocean conference in Washington DC, including the creation of 40 new or expanded marine protected areas. That is exciting news for ocean health! 

But there is so much more to do.

Here are some practical ways we can all help to protect and restore our oceans in everyday life…

1. Reduce, refuse and reuse.

Reduce your use of single-use plastics. Bags, cutlery, straws, cups, water bottles and containers all massively contribute to ocean pollution and harm ocean life. Plastic is meant to last, so using it for throw-away items is simply poor product design. Recycling helps of course, but even that has plenty of pitfalls, so is better as a back-up when using plastic can’t be avoided. Making more sustainable choices, such as refusing single-use plastic items and investing in reusable alternatives  is an excellent high impact way of helping our oceans.

Pledge to go #strawless with The Lonely Whale Foundation.

Take the #plasticfree pledge with 5gyres.


2. Check your seafood supply.

Choosing sustainable seafood is important because much of the world’s fish supply is under threat from over fishing. When you add in the issue of climate change and pollution, that is a huge problem for the future of fish on the menu.

Check out Seafood Watch by Monterey Bay aquarium for more about sustainable seafood. 

Marine Conservation Society also has useful information about how to make good choices when it comes to seafood. www.goodfishguide.org 


3. Ban microbeads from your home.

Choose products that do not contain microbeads. Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic found in some personal and beauty care products, such as toothpaste, scrubs, sunscreens and make-up. They wash off down the drain, then end up in oceans, where they become extremely toxic. They are eaten by fish and other marine life, which causes harm to other life and damages our own food supply too. There are movements to ban microbeads in UK and USA but this has not yet come into force and other countries are yet to follow suit. Removing microbeads from your home could save literally thousands of microbeads from entering our waterways PER DAY.

Find out which products do not contain microbeads www.beatthemicrobead.org


4. Switch energy suppliers.

Switching from fossil fuels to a green energy supplier is not only good for the environment but could also save you money too! 

Climate-changing gases from offshore oil and other fossil fuels are changing ocean chemistry, saturating the oceans with carbon dioxide and making them increasingly acidic.

Acidification is already leading to the degradation of coral reef habitats and negatively impacting some commercially important fisheries, like shellfish.” – Oceana

I personally switched to Good Energy but there are various clean energy companies to choose from. Making the switch is usually quick and easy but makes a massive difference.


5. Donate…

Monetary donations are one thing, but donating can come in many other forms too. One of the most powerful things anyone can donate- for free- is your voice. Sign petitions, share campaigns and start conversations. 

Ocean Unite has a list of actions, as do many other charities and organisations.

Time is another resource that can be donated, such as helping to clean up our beaches. See SAS (UK) and Ocean Conservancy for more information on organised beach clean ups. 

Or you could even donate your art! Visit Lonely Whale for further details or to donate.

 

Last but not least, share how you #MakeASplash to protect our oceans!


This article was written in dedication to #MakeASplash campaign. Thank you to the organisations and charities mentioned for inspiring and teaching me about our oceans. 

30 Days Wild- Day 11: Good Energy

Today we have been mainly inside working on other projects, but I did spend some time looking through my nature photos, taking action to support conservation and environmental campaigns, and also shared on social media my recent switch to clean energy supplier Good Energy. So I guess I did more today that links in with 30 Days Wild than perhaps I realised!

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If anyone (UK) would like to switch to Good Energy then please do get in touch with me first, so I can refer you to them. For more information please see their website www.goodenergy.co.uk

Squiggle also went outside this morning to practice yoga in the garden again.

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Tree position