Rochdale Observer - - FAITH NEWS SCHOOL NEWS -

ry­ing to be a lit­tle more plan­et­friendly? Like most things in life, it s tarts at home – but know­ing where to start or whether your ef­forts are worth­while, can be tricky.

“It’s easy to think of be­ing plan­et­friendly as some­thing we can buy, which of­ten just adds to the prob­lems of en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age,” says Grand De­signs pre­sen­ter and home­style guru Kevin McCloud.

“There’s no doubt that, by con­trast, the cor­rect things we should be do­ing are: A) chang­ing our be­hav­iour, which is hard; B) con­sum­ing less, which is hard to get used to; C) shar­ing our re­sources more, which is of­ten an­noy­ing, and D) think­ing eco­log­i­cally about our wider en­vi­ron­ment, which is very hard. Hav­ing said that, there are some ac­ces­si­ble ways of mak­ing our homes more en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble.”

Won­der­ing what those are? Here, Kevin shares five “easy” ways to make our homes more eco-friendly...

“Start with the sim­ple things, like turn­ing the ther­mo­stat down to 18 or 19 de­grees rather than 21, putting on an ex­tra pullover in­stead, mak­ing a hot wa­ter bot­tle at bed­time, and buy­ing some slip­pers.” “We could all prob­a­bly in­su­late our at­tics more, draught-proof our win­dows and doors, and maybe fit se­condary or dou­ble glaz­ing. In­su­la­tion may not seem sexy, but it’s much cheaper and de­liv­ers quicker cash and en­ergy sav­ings than so­lar pan­els or a heat-ex­chang­ing thermo-dy­namic hy­brid heat pump with go-faster stripes,” says Kevin.

“Men, I’m afraid, tend to be se­duced more by kit than rea­son. If you find your­self us­ing the word ‘tech,’ be wary – my bit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence is that the more com­pli­cated you make your home, the more there is to go wrong.

“Make sure your home is fully in­su­lated with good air­tight­ness and sim­ple ven­ti­la­tion sys­tems. It’s called a fab­ric-first ap­proach. Only then should you con­sider the bolt-on tech­nol­ogy.” “When I buy free-range toma­toes or Fair­Trade tooth­paste at the su­per­mar­ket, the prod­uct is usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by a lit­tle story and some pic­tures of the peo­ple that made it. Lovely. That makes me feel good and I’m com­forted by the le­git­i­macy of the en­dorse­ment of the Soil As­so­ci­a­tion, or which­ever.

“Know­ing where your meat comes from, who grew it, and its full ‘chain of cus­tody’ weirdly seems to im­prove the flavour too – so I’m a cham­pion of au­then­tic­ity and the true nar­ra­tive of things, be­cause it con­nects the peo­ple who make things to the peo­ple that con­sume them, and seems to dam­age the planet and all its species a lit­tle less along the way,” says Kevin – and he ex­tends the same prin­ci­ples to items he buys for his home.

“Bri­tain is still the largest im­porter of il­le­gal (il­le­gally felled that is) tim­ber and tim­ber prod­ucts in Europe, which is shock­ing. I wrote my book, The Prin­ci­ples Of Home, to partly ad­dress all this; it’s shame­ful that when you or I buy a sofa, some cur­tain fab­ric, a pair of jeans or a din­ing ta­ble, there is vir­tu­ally zero in­for­ma­tion about the wel­fare con­di­tions in the fac­tory where it’s from, the chem­i­cals used in man­u­fac­ture, or the dam­age wreaked on the en­vi­ron­ment in its mak­ing. I’ve now started ask­ing re­tail­ers for the full story of what they sell, and I sug­gest you do the same ev­ery time you buy some­thing.” un­der­stand de­sign­ing for ori­en­ta­tion, pas­sive so­lar gain, max­i­mum win­ter sun­light, shad­ing and min­i­mum sum­mer over­heat­ing. You can de­sign in ther­mal mass with heavy con­crete floors or earth walls, hu­mid­ify and cool the air­flow through the house with a buried air-duct or a pond out­side a win­dow, al­low hot air to be purged through a sky­light at the top of the house and al­low for some cool­ing cross-ven­ti­la­tion.

“There. Easy. So speak to an ar­chi­tect.”

Kevin McCloud will be at Grand De­signs Live at the NEC, Birm­ing­ham, from Oc­to­ber 10-14, 2018. For de­tails go to grand­de­signslive.com

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