We are currently a small team of two!
Our team leader David worked for many years in various aspects of computing. In recent years he has mostly concentrated on web based applications and web sites. However he is very practical and has wide interests that include electronics. He is a natural conservationist and enthusiatic about reducing the wasteful use of resources. Here are some of his observations:
Sometimes I wonder if my natural inclination to keep everything in case it comes in useful is connected to my desire to conserve resources and reduce the cost of living. I am concerned about the wasteful way we generally use resources in the UK and other developed countries. From the waste of heat from power stations that could be used for district heating, to the huge losses of energy from our electricity power line distribution grid it seems we as a country (and developed world) could do a lot better.
Often large units can, of course, be much more efficient at collecting or generating power. For example large, tall wind turbines or big hydroelectric schemes are much more efficient than small scale projects. However their initial efficiency is often reduced by the inefficiencies of distribution. Costs to the ordinary customer are inflated also by the need to service the borrowing to fund the construction and make a profit. Also the impact on the environment from both the installations themselves and their distribution systems is usually very large.
As have many people, I have become more and more interested in the exploitation of renewable resources - particularly renewable energy and the way it can be collected on the small scale for the home.
The Centre for Alternative Technology leads the movement towards using renewable energy in the UK. I visited it soon after it started over thirty five years ago! Technology even for small scale alternative energy has moved on considerably since then but the principles remain much the same: collect local natural energy from sun, wind, the air and ground and sometimes flowing water - then use it locally. And try to do this at low cost.
We will discuss the use of commercial products and professional installation as most people will go that way. However our main passion is to encourage as many people as possible to create their own solar panels, small wind turbines etc to collect/generate most of the energy they need at low cost.
We expect to come up with some useful, interesting and perhaps surprising ideas ...
Annually each UK household uses on average about:
Data extracted from Building Research Establishment government statistics (data for 2001).