Ikea at Milton Keynes – roof becomes power plant

We’ve already reported on this blog stories of Ikea upgrading it’s stores in the UK with solar panels in an ambitious attempt to make all it’s stores as self-sufficient as possible, whilst being responsible to the environment.

Work’s been progressing nicely with the Milton Keynes Citizen reporting their store has started on their installation which will be completed by next March.Some 5,978 pv panels, at a cost of £562,000, will generate a whopping 246,000kWh – enough to power 75 homes.

These figures alone are pretty impressive but even more impressive is this one: “Since 2005, the company has opened six new stores with only a 10% increase in its combined energy usage”.

The store also burns renewable wood materials to produce heat and hot water for the store. The system can provide up to 100% of the stores needs.

Other eco-friendly devices include a rainwater harvesting system, which can store enough water to flush the toilets for a month before having to resort to mains water.

photo credit: colin anderson

Is it too much to ask for a little precipitation


“Borrowed” from the film Evan Almighty – you know, the one where the guy gets told he has to build an ark? Worse, he starts turning into ‘Noah’ sprouting a long beard and hair despite his best efforts to shave etc.

I love that bit in the film.

As our 10 year old daughter would say – it’s a heart-warming story for all the family (something we kid her about after asking what a film was about to which she promptly rattled off the spiel on the back of the dvd case).

Anyway I digress. At the risk of inviting the heavens to open on your bar-b-que or parade, what are you doing when it rains? ( a frequent occurrence in the UK).

There’s lots of talk of renewable energy but one big saving a household can make is recycling rainwater through a rainwater collection system.

We’re not talking about a water butt under the garden shed’s drainpipe to water the garden with (although that is an excellent way to start and you should be doing that already) – No. We’re talking about systems that store rainwater underground in your garden and the water can be used to flush toilets with etc.

Some new developments are already starting to make use of the latest systems and eco-conscious homeowners are installing them onto existing homes.

Surface water has become a serious problem in recent years with many floods being blamed on the amount of driveways and gardens being given over to patios where the surface isn’t porous any more.

Rain water harvesting could be one partial solution to the problem.

photo credit: marxchivist

Protecting your rainwater harvesting system from frost damage

Last week, YouGen took a look at the impact the recent cold spell might have had on rainwater harvesting – where rainwater is collected on a per property basis and plumbed into the house to provide water for flushing toilets / watering gardens etc, cutting down on water consumption from the mains.

If you’ve got an underground tank, then the relatively constant temperature of the ground should protect from freezing – there’s more chance of damage to above ground pipes or pumps. Take measures to reduce the risk of damage.

If your collection tank is above ground, then you’ll need to ensure that the tank hasn’t frozen which could damage the pump inside.

Aside from proper insulation, many manufacturers recommend draining above ground systems before freezing weather sets in.

There’s more useful tips and advice on the YouGen Blog – click here to read the full article.

photo credit: mjmonty

Wettest Winter prompts Rain Water Harvesting poser


Barry Nutley over at You Gen’s Blog asks the question – If every house had it’s own rainwater harvesting system, would we still have floods?

It’s an interesting question and one Barry couldn’t find an answer to.

However, when you read his case for installing you’re own rainwater harvesting system, then you start to wonder if removing much of the surface water from the equation might be one answer.

Rainwater harvesting is where you have your own mini-reservoir, perhaps buried under your garden, which all your guttering etc feeds water to rather than into the main sewers.

Although this water can’t be used for drinking, it can be used to flush toilets etc or any other non-potable use.

Barry finishes his piece by asking another question – Surely the cost of installing rainwater harvesting systems in homes would cost less than the endless flood defences and clearing up operations?

Read the full article here.

photo credit: brianforbes37