Sunday, 4 March 2018

Why should I fill in a survey about car clubs?

You may be wondering why Transition Cambridge now has a project (CleanWheels) promoting transport by car - and asking you to fill in a survey about it. Aren’t we supposed to avoid travelling by car completely? Public transport, cycling and walking have less carbon emissions than cars and have other advantages to. So what is going on?

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Energy group on car sharing

Last night the energy group had a lively discussion on different kinds of car sharing, like car clubs and even community taxi schemes. If the group gets any more popular we will have to hire a room to meet in; last night we were 15 people. Fortunately Margaret's sitting room is large and has lots of chairs.

There isn't room here to cover everything but I hope to give you a flavour of what was said.

Friday, 15 December 2017

What we do at Christmas

How do you celebrate the Christmas holiday? Is it possible to have a great time and still keep sustainability in mind? I asked people at the Transition Cambridge winter social what they do and this is what they said. Food, presents and the tree were the main topics: here is a miscellany of answers, including a discussion of whether or not brussels sprouts contribute to climate change and how to mitigate the problem of discarded Christmas jumpers.
A venerable tree, with modern LED lights and some presents wrapped in reusable furoshiki cloths

Sunday, 19 November 2017

We did it - world's biggest repair cafe

Our aim was to beat the world record which was 150 repairs. We didn't just break it, we totally smashed it with 232 completely successful repairs. Here are some pictures from the fabulous repair cafe at Wesley Methodist Church on Christ's pieces, Saturday 11th November.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Why Pitch Up Pitch In?

I'm a bit nervous about our first Pitch Up Pitch In event (28th November). Will you come and will you pitch in? Even if you don't volunteer this time, as Charlotte (the bike rack lady) says: It should be a fun day where we meet new people, share ideas and promote the concepts of collaboration and co-operation.

Projects range from hands-on to literary/IT, marketing, technology ...
Our projects offer something to everyone. They range from hands-on like the bike racks and the downspout rain gardens, to the literary/IT-centric social media workshop. The Solar Power Push project is probably in the middle. I think it needs some technology and a lot of marketing and probably other skills. Project durations range from a few weeks (bike racks and comms workshop) to possibly years (Solar Power Push). Most of them are at a fairly early planning stage and where they end up probably depends a lot on who pitches in. The key thing is they are all worth doing - each in their own way would contribute to making Cambridge a more sustainable city and a nicer place to live.

A previous project in Empty Common Community
Garden: putting a green roof on a shed.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Community Energy - a review

This is a review of the book Community Energy: A guide to community - based renewable energy projects by Gordon Cowtan published by  Green Books

The book is an excellent introduction to Community Energy for lay people and students. It starts by covering some key issues around what is the raison d'etre for community energy projects - usually this involves some degree of energy generation or energy saving, sharing of benefits with the community and environmental sustainability. Then it looks at energy generating technologies; this section is quite comprehensive, even including anaerobic digestion though there are no real world of community AD as yet. The advice is strictly practical: what do you need, how much will it cost (considering operational and maintenance too), planning issues, subsidies available.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Would you like an itemised electricity bill? Please help make this possible.

When you go shopping in a supermarket you expect to see the price of each item marked and if you are watching the pennies you probably have a good estimate of what the final bill will be before you go to the checkout. But when you get your electricity bill you have little idea how much of that is for the lighting, the TV, the washing machine, the freezer or whatever. Would you like to know? There are companies working on this. They are developing algorithms to look at your electricity use at high frequency (many times a second) and recognise the patterns of use from each of your appliances so they can calculate how much each one is using. At the end of each day they will be able to tell you how much energy you have used and what for (at least for the major appliances) so that you can calculate the cost and the carbon emissions. For the last two weeks I have been helping this to come about by taking part in a study conducted by Informetis. You can help too.