Wood-burning – Inconvenient Truth, Part 2

Sadiq Khan asks for powers to control wood-burning

Part one of this blog was on the inconvenient truth that burning wood, especially in our cities, is a major contributor to particulate air-pollution that’s killing an estimated 29,000 people a year in the UK.

It describes how to be neighbourly and minimise your air-pollution:

In the 13 months since Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London, there have been 7 ‘red alert’ air pollution incidents, when Londoners were advised to stay indoors if possible.

Now he has called for only the least-polluting ecodesign woodstoves to be on sale after 2022 – and asked for powers in a revised Clean Air Act to set tighter controls on burning solid fuels from 2025.  If granted, this will probably enable any UK city to: Continue reading

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Wood-burning – Inconvenient Truth

There’s ever-growing  evidence that wood-burning is a big contributor to air pollution, especially in cities.

On January 22nd London had a major air pollution incident, with Camden, Westminster and The City hitting 10 out of 10 (worst) on the Air Quality Index.  “We think about half of the peak was from wood smoke” said Timothy Baker, air pollution expert at King’s College London.  Wood smoke pollution is most on cold evenings and weekends – this was a cold, still Sunday.  Small smoke particles have the worst health effects, especially PM2.5 (smaller than 2.5 micro-meter), which get deep into your lungs.    During that incident Cambridge levels of PM2.5 were  9/10 on the index. Domestic wood smoke contributes about a third of all UK PM2.5, which is  2.4 times more than traffic

UK government’s best estimate is that 29,000 extra deaths a year are caused by PM2.5   Public Health England estimates that 5% of mortality of people aged 30+  in Cambridgeshire is due to PM2.5 pollution. So this really is a major health problem, with wood smoke a significant contributor. Continue reading

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Thermal Imaging Guide

You can reveal where buildings are wasting heat with vivid thermal images… this guide shows how with lots of practical examples.

I’ve been testing the £200 Flir One smartphone add-on. It’s as good as CCF’s £1,800 thermal imaging cameras with smartphone advantages, although not so rugged.  Many more community groups and individuals can now afford to use thermal imaging to show poor insulation, draughts and other ways our homes loose heat.

Drawing on CCF’s experience of thermal imaging since 2009, this guide aims to help many others get started and to supplement our training sessions.

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DETRITUS TRANSFIGURED – essay by Philip Vann

view of parade costume by Ann Templar cropped

DETRITUS TRANSFIGURED: The Cambridge CirculART Trail – essay by Philip Vann

Over three days in June 2016 I set out on quite an adventure – exploring on foot fifteen of the charity shops on the CirculART Trail in near-central Cambridge. Here, displayed in both shop windows and retail interiors for one month, was a dynamically diverse array of artworks made by over two dozen local artists. All had been sourced out of everyday scraps and bits of detritus; also from once perhaps individually treasured yet now abandoned oddments. Continue reading

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Hempcrete workshop at Thoday Street

Today’s blog is another cross post from the Open Eco Homes blog. If this post gets you enthused about hempcrete make sure you check out the hempcrete workshop being offered at Thoday Street. At the time of writing there are two half price tickets up for grabs! 

Alex Jelly installing wood-fibre insulation 2This years Open Eco Homes features Thoday Street, a house where the emphasis is firmly on natural building materials. Alex Jelly (pictured here with her Cob pizza oven and installing wood fibre insulation) and partner Mike are determined to make their eco-renovation affordable and natural, and want to help others do the same. As Alex points out in her case study “indoor air pollution is generally far higher than outdoors (a fact that shocked me when I first found out)”.

Turning to natural materials reduces the potential for ‘off-gassing’ from more common synthetic insulation materials, and also allows for complete return to the natural environment once the material is no longer required. Affordability prevents many people taking on an eco-renovation but learning a DIY solution like Hempcrete can make a real difference to price, and bring it within the reach of more people. Continue reading

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Does your Combie fire up at odd times?

Today’s blog is a cross post from the Open Eco Homes blog. Written by Anne Miller, a former Eco Homes host this blog post is a great example of the sort of detailed advice you get on an Open Eco Homes tour. Bookings are now open for tours on September 18th and 24th.

Eltisley Av 150x150About a month ago, after we’d had a few plumbing jobs done, we noticed that our Combie boiler was turning itself on every time we used a cold tap. Or more precisely, the boiler turned itself on briefly, a few seconds after we turned a cold tap off.

This seemed very odd! The whole point of a Combie is that it only heats up the hot water when you need it. It was also very annoying, because we try hard to keep our energy usage and carbon emissions to a minimum, and this was clearly wasting energy. We subsequently estimated that it had increased our summer gas usage by about 10%. Continue reading

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Brexit and our Environment

Please ask your MP to support the Environment Pledge.

The Brexit negotiations pose many threats and opportunities for UK environmental protection and our urgent transition into a low-carbon nation.

If red-tape slashing vested interests get the upper hand, vital protections for our wild life, countryside  and seas will be swept aside. Also support for changing our industries, energy supplies, homes and lifestyles into the low-carbon future we need to avoid dangerous climate change.

There are opportunities to improve on EU regulations with better ones appropriate to the UK. For example the Common Agricultural Policy could be replaced with support for landowners and farmers, especially smaller ones, with the right incentives to take good care of the wildlife and land they know so well, as well as growing the food we love.  A majority of British public support environmental protection at least as strong as current EU rules. Continue reading

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Climate Rising

climate_rising_teaser2A couple of weeks ago, just under 1,000 climate change activists (including 3 intrepid members of Cambridge Carbon Footprint!) met in London at the Climate Rising event to discuss what to do next following the Paris climate change talks. Continue reading

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Vacancy: Open Eco Homes

dream job

Open Eco Homes Project Worker?

Open Eco Homes (OEH) arranges for householders to show and explain to visitors on 2 weekends in September how they save home energy by their home’s design, retro-fitted improvements, smart behaviour, etc. Continue reading

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Seville Orange Marmalade

P1040028 (1024x574)Home made marmalade tastes fantastic: far better than anything you can buy in the shops. Not only is it lower carbon it’s also much cheaper, and it really doesn’t take long to make. Continue reading

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CCF office closure

CCF Christmas (Medium)

Well, it’s been quite a 2015! Here at CCF we’ve run many well attended events, had a run away success with our WWII Rationing Challenge, and had good fun at a good many stalls. All of which we could not have done without the help of our many wonderful volunteers. After such a busy year, it’s time we all took a rest! With that in mind the CCF office will be closed over the holiday period. We’ll be shut Monday 21st December 2015 to Friday 1st January 2016 inclusive. We look forward to catching up with you all in the new year.

Alana Sinclair
CCF Co-ordinator

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The Paris deal: a day to celebrate, but…

CoP21 Negotiators(640x360)

In what I think is genuinely a day to celebrate, we have a legally binding climate deal from the Paris COP21 negotiations.

The French did a great job on running the incredibly complex negotiations, resulting in an agreement that is stronger than anyone dared hope two weeks ago. The process was transparent, democratic and flexible and these values seem to have continued into the final text.

It is the first time in history rich, poor and emerging economies have made a joint commitment to tackle climate change, aiming to limit warming to “well below 2C”. There’s also the aspirational goal of limiting it to the safer 1.5C. Continue reading

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Kiribati

President Tong & Richard Denniss

President Tong & Richard Denniss

Last night we felt priveleged to hear Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati, call for no new coal mines. Before being invited I knew next to nothing about the pacific island state of Kiribati: straddling the equator and the international dateline, it was a British colony (The Gilbert and Ellice Islands) until 1979. Continue reading

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Climate Ribbons

Ribbon Tree (640x360)As part of the Climate Ribbon project we brought dozens of ribbons from Cambridge on which people had written WHAT THEY LOVE AND HOPE TO NEVER LOSE TO CLIMATE CHAOS. Thanks Jenny & other who  helped gathering them. Continue reading

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CCF Paris Workshop

Workshop (640x360)

We’d offered to run a CCF workshop about personal footprints: “How to stop feeling helpless” at Climat Forum at a fairly bleak school in the Paris suburb of Montreuil. We only had confirmation a week ago. Publicity was minimal. Would anyone come?  Continue reading

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