Chooseday’s Choice! ~ Is your hot water cylinder wearing a jacket?

Where does YOUR energy go?

A simple low cost way to save energy on domestic hot water is to make sure your hot water cylinder is properly lagged. A lagging jacket fitted on your hot water cylinder will keep water hotter for longer and pay for itself in 2-3 months. If replacing the hot water cylinder, a cylinder with factory applied insulation should be considered. Such insulation is more effective at retaining heat than a lagging jacket, is less easily damaged and cannot be pulled out of place.

You Choose!

A simple low cost way to save energy

A simple low cost way to save energy

Don’t forget the pipes. By slipping pipe insulation around your exposed hot water pipes you’ll keep your hot water hotter for longer. Fitting insulation to pipes is easy if the pipes are accessible. Pipe insulation are foam tubes that cover the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler, reducing the amount of heat lost and therefore keeping your water hotter for longer. It’s usually as simple as choosing the right size from your local DIY store and then slipping it around the pipes.

 

Chooseday’s Choice! ~ Open Fire or Stove?

Where does YOUR energy go?

Many homes in Ireland still use an open fire-place. An open fire-place is hugely inefficient as the heated air within the room is sucked up the chimney and the burn rate of the fuel is difficult to control. Therefore much of the fuel and cost is wasted. Installing a solid fuel or preferably a log burning stove is a simple, quick and cheap way to reduce your heating bills and energy consumption.

You Choose!

Open Fire or Stove?

Open Fire or Stove?

Typically, more than 70% of the heat from an open fire goes up the chimney, while a stove retains as much as 76% of heat in the room, saving both fuel and money. Replacing an open fire with an efficient stove can reduce the household energy consumption by 8 to 10%. Given that we spend around €2,000 on heat, light and hot water, that could see a person’s fuel bill fall by €200 a year.

No cost tips to keep warm and save energy this Winter

With the long, dark chilly evenings slowly creeping in it’s tempting to crank up the thermostat and lounge around in the heat without a care in the world. Stop, think before you do. With a few simple tricks and minor adjustments you can drive your energy costs down and the good news is, lowering them doesn’t require spending money. There are simple ways in which you can enjoy the warmth and save energy in the long run.

Know how to set your controls to have a warm cosy home

Keep warm and save energy!

Many of us keep our thermostats set too high. Check your thermostat and if it’s set above 20ºC turn it down. If that feels too cold, try turning it down in stages, starting at a comfortable temperature and going down by one degree each week to give yourself time to adjust.  Lowering your thermostat by just 1ºC will knock 10% off your heating bill. You can also keep temperatures  lower in hallways and corridors, as you’ll never normally be in there for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
Ideal comfortable room temperature is 20

Turn down your thermostat!

Make better use of the timers on your immersion or boiler so you can control when the heating comes on and goes off. This means you have heating and hot water when and where you want it. By understanding the controls you can always wake up and come home to a warm house without leaving the heating on 24/7. So, remember when setting the controls it will take a while for the house to heat up when you turn it on and to cool down when you turn it off.
Ideally set the heating to come on 20 minutes before getting up and to go off 15 minutes before you leave the house. If you’re out and about all day remember to set it to come on 20 minutes before you return home. This will be enough to take the chill out of the air and ensure a comfortable warm home. If on the other hand you’re going to be busy preparing meals, catching up on housework etc. when you arrive home well then there is  no need to have the heating coming on before returning because you will be warm enough while rushing about. Turn off 20 minutes after you go to bed. There is no need to have the heating on while you sleep.
Keep your doors closed

Keep your doors closed!

Close room doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating. If your home is anything like mine you’ll spend your evening closing doors behind everyone! There is no need to spend money heating rooms that are not being used.
Close your curtains at night - open during the day to let the sunshine in!

Close your curtains at night – open during the day to let the sunshine in!

Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows, particularly if they are single glazed. So keep your curtains closed at night, even in empty rooms and also ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators as that will just funnel all your heat out the window. If the radiator is mounted below a window, a projecting window-board or shelf above the radiator will direct warm air into the room, reducing heat loss through the window. Remember to open them during the day to let the warm sunshine in.
Check for draughts!

Check for draughts!

Check the house for draughts. Light a candle or incense and hold it up to doors and window frames.  If the candle flame flickers or the smoke of the incense flows towards the window, there is a draft there. Seal up the leaks.
Look for places where you have pipes, vents or electrical conduits that go through the wall, ceiling or floor. Check the bathroom, underneath the kitchen sink, pipes inside a closet, etc. If you find a gap at the point where the pipe or vents goes through the wall, seal it up. For a no cost way to seal you can try using scrunched up old newspapers, old towels etc.
Use a draught excluder to stop cold air from seeping under the doors and into the house. Be creative and make your own by using old sheets, towels and all those odd socks that you keep holding on to in the hope that eventually you find a pair (it’s never going to happen!)
Wear a jumper!

Wear a jumper!

And now for some old fashioned advice…… turn down the heat and put on a sweater 🙂 Mums are always right!
Free Energy Efficient improvements available

Free Energy Efficient improvements available

Free Energy Efficient  improvements available.
The Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, funds energy efficiency improvements in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable, making the homes more comfortable, healthier and more cost effective to run.

The scheme is available to non-Local Authority owner occupied homes constructed before 2006. The owner of the property has also to be in receipt of one of the following:

  • Fuel Allowance as part of the National Fuel Scheme
  • Job Seekers allowance for over six months and with children under 7 years of age
  • Family income support

The service involves the installation of standard energy efficiency measures appropriate to the eligible household subject to SEAI survey, budget allocation and available capacity. The service is provided at no cost to the household and the measures currently available under this scheme are:

  • Attic insulation.
  • Draught proofing.
  • Lagging jackets.
  • Low energy light bulbs.
  • Cavity wall insulation.
  • Energy advice.
Landlords can avail of grants from Better Energy Homes if they have tenants in, or at risk of, energy poverty.
What advice would you give to keep warm and save energy?
Photo Credits: Photopin and Wexford Local Development.
Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows, particularly if they are single glazed. So keep your curtains closed at night, even in empty rooms and also ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators as that will just funnel all your heat out the window. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpuf
Close room doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating. There is no need to spend money heating rooms nobody is in. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpuf
Many people keep their thermostat too high. Check it and if its above 20ºC turn it down. Lowering your thermostat by just 1ºC will knock 10% off your heating bill. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpufMany people keep their thermostat too high. Check it and if its above 20ºC turn it down. Lowering your thermostat by just 1ºC will knock 10% off your heating bill. – See more at: http://www.seai.ie/Power_of_One/Energy_Saving/Top_Tips/#sthash.0tOFTMHK.dpuf

A labour of love ~ restoring Howsham Mill back to its Gothic Georgian glory!

Howsham  Mill is a Grade II listed building, built in 1755 and attributed to the architect, John Carr of York.  It was both a folly and a working grist mill on the Howsham Hall estate.  The mill was powered by a breastshot waterwheel connected by a gear wheel to millstones, that ground the grain into flour. Grinding ceased in 1947 and by the 1960s the mill had fallen into serious decay.

Over grown and lost to the world the derelict mill lay hidden in the trees on a small island in the River Derwent, in North Yorkshire until one day in 2003 it was discovered by Mo McLeod and Dave Mann who fell in love with the ruin and bought it in 2004. They had plans to renovate it and turn it into their home but they soon discovered that sadly this was not to be as they were turned down no matter what road they took.

Howsham Mill in 2003

Howsham Mill in 2003 ~ Photo Credit – Renewable Heritage Trust

Undeterred by all the set backs they decided to change tactic and formed the Renewable Heritage Trust with the help of the local residents with the aim of restoring the mill as an environmental study centre promoting renewable energy and local history and wildlife. It will also be available for use as a community venue for local people.

Photo Credit - Renewable Heritage Trust

Photo Credit – Renewable Heritage Trust

The first phase of the restoration was completed in 2007 and involved installing the new waterwheel and  an Archimedean screw as well as rebuilding the walls and roof of the granary to the north of the main building, allowing the installation of a kitchen and toilets as well as housing the control equipment for the hydro generation. Fund raising and grant funding enabled the installation of a new waterwheel and  the Archimedean screw to generate electricity and help fund the project in the long term. Much of the hard work of restoring the mill was done by enthusiastic volunteers, with families joining in for work days, and regular groups of trainee soldiers and school parties  helping out at the mill.

Archimedean Screw hydropower at Howsham Mill

Archimedean Screw hydropower at Howsham Mill

Both the waterwheel and the Archimedean Screw generate electricity from the fall of water over the weir. The reinstatement of the waterwheel will again harness the power of the river, but rather than driving millstones, this time will generate electricity. Both the water wheel and the Archimedean Screw are grid connected and excess electricity generated is sold to the National grid.

A view of the water wheel taken from inside Howsham Mill

A view of the water wheel taken from inside Howsham Mill

In June 2012 work began on restoring the main part of the building. Today, a decade on, Howsham Mill has been returned to its former glory as it was when it was abandoned in 1947.

Howsham Mill restored to its former glory

Howsham Mill restored to its former glory

Howsham Mill

Howsham Mill

The magnificent restored ceiling in Howsham Mill

The magnificent restored ceiling in Howsham Mill

Howsham Mill - copyright Eco Evolution)

The magnificent Gothic windows and stone work at Howsham Mill

The aim of the Renewable Heritage Trust is to make the building totally self-sustaining for the 21st century using revenue from power sales to fund future restoration and conservation work at the site.

The mill has underfloor heating beneath the flag stones which is a wet system with a sealed network of pipes connecting to a coil in the hot water tank, which is heated partly by the solar thermal panel installed on the roof of the mill and topped up by an immersion heater run from their own electricity.  A wood-burning stove connected to a flue liner has been installed in the original fireplace and will burn logs from the island.

Solar Thermal panels supplement the underfloor heating in the mill

Solar Thermal panels supplement the underfloor heating in the mill

The final stage of the restoration was the placing of the statue of Diana the huntress created by wire-mesh sculptor Nikki Taylor which replaces the original lead sculpture of the Roman goddess, most of which was taken for scrap.

Sculpture of the goddess Diana - Photo Credit www.yorkpress.co.uk

Sculpture of the goddess Diana – Photo Credit www.yorkpress.co.uk

Howsham Mill is located in a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The small wooded island has a wealth of native trees including ash, sycamore, oak, wych elm and hawthorn trees.  Above and below the weir are beds of water crowfoot, teeming with invertebrates eaten by fish and birds. Otters were re-introduced to the river in the mid-1980s and can occasionally be spotted from the island.

The weir on the River Derwent

The weir on the River Derwent

A rich diversity of plant and animal life

A rich diversity of plant and animal life

 

Photographs unless otherwise credited are copyright of Eco Evolution

Kings River Community – Building a Sustainable Future

Kingsriver Community was founded in 1986 and has been providing residential and daycare programmes for adults and young people with a variety of special needs in a community setting since that date. The focus is on people’s abilities rather than their disabilities. Initially providing  workplace training and employment possibilities through high end furniture manufacture, Kingsriver now concentrates on providing quality, person centred, opportunities in a range of areas including woodwork, arts and craft, health related exercise and living skills. Kingsriver Community also provides a residential service for a small group of people. Kingsriver Community is a FETAC registered centre providing accredited courses and an accredited hosting organisation in the Europen Voluntary Service (EVS) programme.

Kings River Community Timber clad building

Kings River Community Timber clad building

Blue skies and sunshine, what a way to start the Mills and Millers Spring Event. Arriving at the Kings River Community the first thing to catch our eye was the wonderful sculptures lining the entrance to the main building –  a wonderful timber clad energy efficient building.

Handmade timber sculptures and Mills and Millers plaque

Handmade timber sculptures and Mills and Millers plaque

The members of the Mills and Millers of Ireland gathered to hear Pat Phelan of the Kingsriver Community speak about the plans for the Kingsriver site, their hydro application and plans for the mill buildings. Colm Byrne of GLAS Learning Centre gave a quick overview of the mill sites we would visit and then showed us around the training rooms and display areas.

The installation of a 200kW wood chip boiler fuelled by locally sourced wood chip was installed at the centre in 2010. The boiler is at the centre of a local heating network, displacing gas and electricity as heat sources for the workshops, showrooms and accommodation units.

200kW Biomass Boiler fueled by locally sourced wood chip

200kW Biomass Boiler fueled by locally sourced wood chip

The Kingsriver Community built their own 4.2m off grid wind turbine on site and is now fully operational. Glas Learning organised the ‘Build Your Own Wind Turbine’ workshop which was conducted by Hugh Piggott.

The Kingsriver 4.2m off grid wind turbine

The Kingsriver 4.2m off grid wind turbine

During the earlier presentation we heard about the plans for the old mill which has a preservation order on it. With its impressive seven stories it is the highest mill in the area. The Community group are planning to install an Archimedean Screw Hydro Turbine and convert the mill building into an educational and visitor centre.  The Archimedean Screw hydro scheme that is planned is currently at the design stage. .

Pilworth Mill situated on the Kingsriver

Rockview Mill also known as O’Brien’s Mill situated on the Kingsriver

Rockview Mill  this was a fine seven-storied limestone structure.  It was well  preserved until 1989 when part of the front roof was damaged in a storm.  The  Griffith Valuation Records show Rockview Mill leased by Robert Pilsworth from  Margaret Mc Creery in 1845 – the value of the buildings being £113.

Rockview Mill in operation and prior to its collapse

Rockview Mill prior to its collapse

The Pilsworth family of Thomastown commenced  their milling enterprise in 1845 when Robert leased the above mill and the  nearby Merino factory.  In 1847, Robert married Ellen, daughter of William Bull,  owner of Grennan Mill, Thomastown.  William died in 1848 and Robert became  owner.  He installed his brother Thomas as manager of Grennan Mill and his  brother William as manager of Merino Mill.  In 1864 Robert took over the  management of Grennan Mill which by then had become the more important business,  as it was adjacent to the railway in Thomastown.  Management of Rockview was  given to a relative – Thomas Booth, he was to work the mill for one third of the  profits.  Robert died in 1870, leaving two sons under 21 years.  They were  placed under the guardianship of Rev. James Graves, Rector of Ennisnag.  By 1876  the two young Pilsworths were suing Booth for mismanagement as Rockview began  losing money.  Booth was fired and Rockview was closed the two Pilsworths  taking over management of Grennan Mill (Silverman and Gulliver 1986).  Later,  Rockview Mill and house were owned by Dr. T. O’Brien – the mill being used for  storage purposes. In 1986 the King’s River Community purchased the house and  mill.

The oldest or one of the oldest bridges in Ireland

The oldest or one of the oldest bridges in Ireland

The students and residents are busy preparing the Community Garden for the season ahead where they grow a vast range of organically grown fruit and vegetables. A glasshouse and a room in front of it for changing into garden clothes and washing hands is under construction at present. The Kingsriver Community have to be admired for their vision and continuous efforts in working towards a sustainable future. Other plans for the area include the building of independant houses, development of the islands, bridges and the 6 acre wood.

At the entrance to Kingsriver Community one cannot help but notice and admire the wonderful old stone bridge covered in campanula. The bridge is the  oldest, or one of the oldest bridges in Ireland.  It was once a toll bridge on what was then the main Waterford/Dublin Road over which horses and carts crossed heading to the mill.