Image courtesy of Bristol City Council
Your lifestyle guide to all things eco...
BACK TO BASICS Squirrel Designs shows off handcrafted tree houses and garden retreats
Living in Space A life of luxury without the environmental impact
Guilty of Greenwashing? The Olympic promise is called into question
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A HAND UP
FOR FAIR TRADE COMMUNITIES Retired dis trict nurse , Christine in her gard Lloyd keep en in the vi s seven he llage of Ha For the pa ns llbankgate st two yea near Bram rs she has from the sa pton. deposited le of her eg the money gs into a S made hare Acco “I opened unt. the Share d Interest it up with account w the sale o it h f £100 and to th e my money eggs. For p is with Sh ared Intere me, I know that whils and time a st, it is bein t gain to fair g le tr nt out time world to h ade projec elp them g ts in the d eveloping row their b an income usinesses for their fa and provid milies and communit e b ies.” enefits to their
elp local irectly to h sts goes d ve airtrade in F e an tin vi Chris world. Peru g in The money p g from o el ev ng financin es in the d jillo are usi an plant. communiti g ar N in , ss rs ce uce r cocoa pro ei cocoa prod the th ve p o ro el ell as imp rest to dev ility. ctivity as w u ab d Shared Inte n ro ai p st se su increa cy and This should e’s efficien h said: co-operativ Executive Paul Sablic t en m p o el ev expand its Regional D was able to lo jil n ra ope to a N e US. We h our funds, rope and th ke of the 2,500 u “Thanks to E to s le ocoa sa r the sa Fairtrade c growth, fo perative.” lping their e up the co-o h e e k u a n ti m n t a co th rs e rm cocoa fa
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Editor: Nick Gregory Email: email@example.com Art Director: Bruce Mytton Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Helen Kembery Email: email@example.com greenliving magazine 151-153 Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol BS4 4HH Tel: 0117 977 9188 Visit: www.greenlivingmagazine.co.uk For general enquiries: Peter Francomb Email: firstname.lastname@example.org © Copyright 2012 greenliving. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission of greenliving. While we take care to ensure that reports, reviews and features are accurate, greenliving accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction arising from the content of this publication. The opinions expressed or advice given are the views of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of greenliving. greenliving magazine provides effective communication through design. We specialise in brochures, corporate identity, advertising, direct mail, marketing and design for print. We have a reputation for clear, creative solutions to communication problems for a number of corporate, sports, financial, charity and leisure industry clients. We maintain the highest of standards, throughout each individual project and our client relationship. We pride ourselves on delivering distinctive designs and ideas that will get you noticed.
Welcome... Welcome to Greenliving, your essential guide to navigating towards a healthy and eco-friendly lifestyle. We have gone back to basics in this issue with a look at how to get your children away from the TV or computer and back outdoors. Check out Squirrel Designs’ ideas on tree houses or special little hideaways in the garden. After all, didn’t we all love those things when we were kids? Emily Conradi continues her look at ‘The Green Games’ and poses serious questions into the Olympic promise about having a sustainable 2012. I for one can’t wait for the summer and seeing the Olympics come to Britain, but it needs to be showcased as an event that is in effect ‘doing its bit’. We shall see. Greenliving is always looking for forward-thinking ideas and outlooks on green issue. We would love to hear your views and thoughts on any topics that have caught your attention. Please send any enquiries, stories or events to nick@ greenlivingmagazine.co.uk. I look forward to hearing from you. Change starts with us...
For more information, please contact: Peter Francomb Email: email@example.com
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Gardening made easy!
Low Carbon Bath recognised with award Representatives from the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) and Bath Preservation Trust were celebrating recently after a joint project picked up a prestigious national award. Low Carbon Bath, a guide to improving the energy efficiency of traditional homes in the historic city, beat off stiff competition to receive the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Sustainable Communities award, sponsored by the Crown Estate.
Black Dog Publishing are offering a huge 40 per cent discount on their bestselling gardening books! To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your delivery address, the book(s) of interest and quote ‘Greenliving Offer’. This offer includes the newly-released A Pocket Guide to Plants and Gardening, a beautifully-llustrated, informative reference book, designed to provide ready, simple answers to all the basic questions about plants, as well as the bestselling children’s gardening books, Kids in the Wild Garden and Kids in the Garden and the popular alternative gardening book Growing Stuff.
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Guide to Plants and Gardening to five lucky Greenliving readers! For a chance of winning a copy of this book, email
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Green People are offering two people the chance to win £50 of vouchers to spend on Green People products and the eight gift sets as pictured. To enter, simply email competitions@ flavourmagazine.com, with Green People in the subject header and your contact details in the email body. Good luck! www.greenpeople.co.uk
FRONT COVER As part of their Local Sustainable Transport funding programme, the four councils across our region (Bath & NE Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire & North Somerset) are challenging individuals and local businesses to participate in a competition to find those making the most active contribution to helping reduce traffic congestion and improving air quality in the West. The “Jambusting” Commuter Challenge starts on March 26 and runs until April 27. It’s designed to encourage fewer journeys to work by cars occupied only by the driver, by persuading to people to try more sustainable ways to get there such as by public transport, Park & Ride or car sharing; or more active travel for shorter journeys such as walking or cycling. To find out more, and to register on-line visit www.travelwest.info/jambusting
Why solar still has a sunny future R
ecent government cuts to the Feed in Tariff (FIT) scheme caused upheaval in the solar industry. Government forecasts of the scheme uptake were all wrong – their prediction that the UK would see 137MW of solar PV installed in the past year was wildly outstripped by the actual figure of 987MW. The forecast performance of solar PV systems was also underestimated, as figures were based on climate data from Sheffield, but more systems were actually installed in sunnier parts of England. The newly-reassessed ratings show Somerset to have around 20 per cent greater potential for solar generation than the previous figures – which is what MD Stephen Barrett of Solarsense has always said: South West is best for solar! shrink this GL 16/2/12 13:00
Stephen said, “From April 1, an EPC of level D will be required in order to claim the FIT – so if you are considering solar PV but your home is old or draughty, it’s best to act now.” There are also other ways to protect yourself against increasing fuel prices, for example solar thermal or heat pumps. There are upfront grants available for householders installing these renewable heat technologies, and you could pay next to nothing for your heating between May and October. The new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) means solar thermal is now enjoying a revival, and Backwell-based Solarsense have just been commissioned to install a large solar thermal system at the much-loved community swimming pool in nearby Paulton. Page 1
Top: A Solarsense installer on the roof of their carbon neutral office premises where they have recently installed a 50kWp solar PV system Bottom: free standing solar thermal at an abbey house near Frome
Photos copyright Solarsense UK LTD
Of course you’d like your home to make less of an impact on the environment. And you’d like your energy bills to make less of an impact on your pocket. But right now it’s harder than ever to find the money to make environmental improvements. So here’s what we’ll do. Move to our C-Change Retrofit mortgage and we’ll discount our Standard Variable Rate by 0.25% for every grade improvement on your home’s energy performance rating. On the whole of your loan – for the lifetime of the mortgage.
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YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE. Our current Standard Variable Rate is 4.90%. The overall cost for comparison is 5.1% APR. Rates correct at date of going to press. An early repayment charge may be payable if you repay all or part of your mortgage within the first four years. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (registration number 162090). Ecology Building Society, 7 Belton Road, Silsden, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD20 0EE
Guilty of Greenwashing? WORDS EMIL Y CONRADI
In its bid to host the first sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games, London 2012 has been hitting headlines nationwide – but not always for the right reasons. Greenliving explores the controversies surrounding London’s promise to deliver a sustainable games...
Emily Conradi is a freelance writer with over four years’ experience in lifestyle and consumer publishing, covering food and drink, hobbies and pastimes, celebrity, real life and social issues. Experienced in PR and marketing, she regularly reviews new bar and restaurant openings and is most likely to be found in front of her laptop with a good cheese board and a glass of red wine. www.emilyconradi.co.uk
While the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is meeting and indeed surpassing many of their green objectives, the city itself is falling short of expectation. Building work on the Olympic Village might be complete and the Olympic Park on-track, but London pollution risks spoiling it all – not least for the athletes involved. As the Olympic Games approaches, the UK faces the embarrassing prospect of being taken to court by the EU for failing to meet air quality standards. Some environmental experts see a court case as inevitable and should this occur, the UK risks a £300m fine for breaching EU regulation. During the 2012 bid, London described its air quality as “good and improving”. However, earlier this year, the BBC reported pollution levels on many London roads as averaging twice that of the recommended levels set by the World Health Organisation. According to reports, London has the highest levels of the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide in the EU. With less than six months until the games, fears are growing that these high pollution levels could impair the health and performance of Olympic athletes. Speaking to The Independent, Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, said, “A few athletes may not attain the performances they hoped to and they might spend a few days feeling unwell.” With the threat of impaired performance looming over athletes, all eyes are on London. Steps are being taken to improve on the situation, but with the City of London’s four-year Air Quality Strategy only being put into effect from 2011, could it be a case of too little too late?
Last month it was revealed that the multimillion pound contract to print tickets for the 2012 Olympic games had been awarded to, none other than, a firm based in the USA.
Weldon, Williams & Lick, located in Arkansas, USA, will print 11 million Olympics tickets, which will then be shipped 4,500 miles back to Britain to a UK warehouse. The announcement came as a huge disappointment to UK businesses. This was heightened further by the recent revelation that just nine per cent of Olympics merchandise has been produced in the UK – an enterprise which could have benefitted the UK economy by a £1bn renevue. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) justified the backlash from critics, claiming the contract was awarded through a “competitive and open” tender. This tender was apparently run through Compete For; a free service that enables businesses to compete for contract opportunities linked to the London 2012 games and other major public and private sector buying organisations.
In 2010, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed a deal with the Dow Chemical Company to become a global Olympic sponsor. This angered campaigners like Amnesty International, amid claims that Dow faces outstanding lawsuits relating to the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. The Bhopal disaster was a gas leak incident that occurred at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India. UCIL was the Indian subsidiary of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), which Dow went on to purchase in 2001. Considered as one of the world’s worst industrial catastrophes, Madhya Pradesh confirmed 3,787 immediate deaths, but the devastating effects of the leak are ongoing. A 2006 government statement revealed the leak caused a further 558,125 injuries, dramatically increasing the estimated death toll.
A spokesperson from LOCOG commented that as with all contract bids, “a number of criteria are considered including the experience of working on projects of this scale, security, ability to handle large amounts of data and value for money.”
A spokesperson for Dow commented, “the 1984 Union Carbide Bhopal incident was a terrible tragedy that none of us in the industry will ever forget. However, it is disappointing that some people are trying to assign blame and responsibility to Dow.”
Experience aside, The Green Party has calculated that transporting the 16-tonne consignment across the Atlantic to the UK will create around 77 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This averages the equivalent annual emissions of 15 Londoners. Far from ideal given London’s current pollution levels.
Dow acquired UCC 16 years after the tragedy and ten years after a $470m settlement agreement, paid by UCC and UCIL and approved by the Indian Supreme Court. Dow added, “The settlement agreement has been reviewed twice and again upheld by the Supreme Court of India in 1991 and 2007.”
Lawrence Webb, the UK Independent Party’s London Mayor candidate, described the move to outsource as “a disgrace”, calling it “a kick in the guts to British firms”. So, how will all of this impact Olympics goers? Well, if the ticket sale system hasn’t already caused enough controversy, those lucky enough to be attending an event can expect to incur an additional £6 charge just to have them delivered.
According to campaigners, more than 120,000 people still suffer from injuries caused by the accident. However, should Dow be held liable? The state government of Madhya Pradesh now owns and controls the site, so perhaps it is their responsibility to push for remediation? Whatever the answer, one thing remains clear – this is yet another in a long list of controversies surrounding the 2012 Olympic games.
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Your Beauty Regime!
Rebecca Goodyear, Marketing Director of Kinetic, who distribute a wide range of natural products including JA¯SÖN® Natural Care, advises what ingredients you should be avoiding in your beauty products. If you haven’t already eliminated the products containing potentially harmful and toxic chemicals from your regime, then make that resolution to do so. Check the labels, if you see any of the following ingredients then get rid: Parabens – preservatives that have been linked to breast cancer. Lauryl or laureth sulphates – foaming agents that can be an irritant to the skin, hair and eyes. Phthalates – binding agents which can affect hormonal balance and may have an effect on unborn babies. Mineral oil, petroleum jelly, petrochemicals – all derived from petroleum. You put petrol in your car, needless to say you shouldn’t put anything vaguely related on your skin. It blocks the skin which means it can’t function properly and toxins build up over time.
Alcohol and isopropyl alcohol – dry and irritate the skin, stripping it of natural moisture content and its protection barrier. Synthetic fragrances (parfum or scent) – these can be irritants to your skin as well as causing a variety of illnesses. May not be listed in the ingredients so the only way to be truly sure is to ensure the product you buy is 100 per cent natural. Propylene Glycol and Butylene Glycol – commonly used in many products, these chemicals can cause organ abnormalities through skin contact or inhalation.
To help you in your quest for a safe, clean beauty regime we ¯ SÖN® Natural Care are at JA offering you 20 per cent off your next purchase at www.jasonnaturalcare.co.uk simply quote GLW20 at the checkout. You will find a wide range of products created with botanical and phyto extracts rich in vitamins and minerals formulated to suit the head to toe needs of everybody. Nothing frilly, nothing fancy. Just everyday wholesome products that really work. From liquid soaps to oral care, everyday hair care to face cremes, award-winning sun care ¯ SÖN® to organic baby care, JA offers simple solutions for all the family.
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Leading the way R
ecently, solar systems have been springing up on roofs of homes and businesses across the country, and Bristol, ever the leader when it comes to environmental matters, has been at the forefront of this surge. Ecocetera installs solar photovoltaic systems for houses and commercial premises in and around Bristol. They were responsible for the array on the Westburyon-Trym Primary Care Centre, as well as both churches in the village. They won the Redland and Cotham annual Green Star award for the solar installation on the Hampton Road Meeting House, and the testimonials from happy customers are glowing (read some of them on their website). The solar panels Ecocetera installs are selected with performance, quality of build and ethical performance of the manufacturing company in mind. They have been operating for 13 years, and were one of the very first solar PV companies to achieve MCS accreditation in 2009. They are proud to put their name to the systems they install, and so only use products that they can be sure will last for the lifetime of the system (more than 25
years). They are passionate about reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and believe their personal and professional service are second to none. One of Ecocetera’s typical 4kW domestic systems can cost as little as £8,750 – and that includes scaffolding and VAT. A wellsited 4kW system will generate 3430kWh (units of electricity) a year, producing annual Feed In Tariff income of £770, and electricity bill savings of £200 or more. From April 1st, you will also need an Energy Performance certificate – but don’t worry, Ecocetera have that covered. They will assess your house to make sure that it will achieve a ‘D’ rating or above once the panels are installed – and will provide the Energy Performance certificate free of charge. All in all, installing a solar system is a sound investment – both economically and environmentally. If you want to be in safe hands, contact Ecocetera for a free survey. Call: 0117 9590 580 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit: www.ecocetera.com
Spring has sprung and what better time to think about more active ways to travel to work. Now it’s getting warmer, and is lighter in the mornings and evenings, this is the time to consider different ways to travel around the region. 20 per cent of car journeys could be avoided if other means of transport were used more readily. You’ve maybe already got your bike out for weekend leisure rides, or are taking some lovely spring walks in the countryside, so why not extend these practices to your daily commute if you only live a short distance from your workplace?
DID YOU KNOW? • 60 per cent of all journeys between one and two miles are made by car • Traffic delays costs the country £20 bn per year • A quarter of all main roads are jammed for an hour a day • Depreciation of the car is the motorist’s most expensive cost • 90 per cent of people in England live less than a 13-minute walk to a bus stop • Regular cycling will give you a fitness level equivalent to being 10 years younger • In-car air can be three times more toxic than air breathed by cyclists or walkers. Cars travel in the middle of the road where pollution is most concentrated If every driver switched to another form of transport for only one day per week, congestion could be cut by 20 per cent.
As part of their Local Sustainable Transport funding programme, the four councils across our region (Bath & NE Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire & North Somerset) are challenging individuals and local businesses to participate in a competition to find those making the most active contribution to helping reduce traffic congestion and improving air quality in the West. The “Jambusting” Commuter Challenge starts on March 26 and runs until April 27. It’s designed to encourage fewer journeys to work by cars occupied only by the driver, by persuading people to try more sustainable ways to get there such as by public transport, Park & Ride or car sharing; or more active travel for shorter journeys such as walking or cycling.
participate in the challenge. They will be able to add their scores to colleagues in their workplace to contribute to either a team within a business or a business-wide total score. There are prizes on offer which have been donated by local businesses, which will be awarded against a variety of criteria including overall top individual contribution and top business award. The challenge will apply weighted scores so that small businesses are not disadvantaged against the larger employers and everyone has an equal opportunity to win.
‘Jambusters’ taking part in the challenge will maintain an online travelog of their journeys to and from work; and will score points according to how sustainable the mode of transport used is, the distance travelled and how long they actively
To find out more, and to register online visit www.travelwest.info/jambusting www.travelwest.info is a new online travel resource with information about different travel options around the West of England, as well as up-to-date travel news and timetable information for buses and trains.
The kitchen extension has become the heart of the house and is everything that we envisaged, realised to a very high standard. It is a joy to walk into every morning
MAS Architectural and Environmental Consultants
Traditional Provençal farmhouses, or Mas, seamlessly catered for the palate and the planet... Designed to make the most of the local climate and surroundings, these self-sufficient farms produced delectable fruit and vegetables for much of the region’s gastronomic delight. Many Mas are now transformed into coveted properties and résidences secondaires, embracing some of the original environmental motives with a modern-day palette. At MAS Architectural and Environmental Consultants, stylistic and environmentally conscious designs are the very ethos of their specialist and bespoke creations. They consider factors such as the orientation of the building, the local climate and the use of materials to provide comfortable and energyefficient constructions. Significant changes to planning and building Regulations in response to climate change have prompted a universal interest in well-designed, sustainable architecture. As members of the sustainable building association, AECB, MAS’ proud portfolio of projects grace commercial, community and domestic buildings throughout the UK, Ireland and France. By mastering the trade, they adapt their style to the needs of the customers, the environment and the modern world – just like the original Mas.
They are experts at creating comfortable, energy-efficient buildings, enabling clients to live and work in harmony with their surroundings. They can tweak and extend existing villas, cottages and Grade II Listed properties with underfloor heating, converted attics and transformed living and dining areas; and they have created a six-star CfSH (Code for Sustainable Homes) project and refurbished an art and crafts country house. They have even proposed a new office development made from recycled shipping containers. Increased demand for this type of milieu further ignites MAS’ devotion to providing elegant and resourceful architecture with a conscience. As with the flavoursome nature of Provençal’s gastronomic paradise, MAS creations are there to be delighted and appreciated – tailored to the tastes of clients and the local environment.
MAS Architectural Consultants 87 Locks Hill, Frome BA11 1NH Call: 01373 300403 Email: email@example.com Visit: www.mas.eu.com
Britain’s Greenest Home Panels make Britain’s greenest home even greener
he owners of ‘Britain’s greenest home’ have added to their property’s impressive green credentials by installing solar panels.
There are now plans to install a full rainwater harvesting system, which would feed off the energy generated by the solar panels.
Glenn and Frances Simpson had the 16-panel system fitted at their home in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire to make it even more eco-friendly and to save on bills.
Mr Simpson, 53, said he enjoyed the feeling of ‘being green’ while benefitting from the savings in doing so.
Half of the panels were fitted to the property’s south-facing roof, and the rest to the pitched roof of the garage. They are expected to generate up to £700 in annual income through the feed-in-tariff, and save £200 on energy bills. Solar specialists BCL Energy installed the panels and estimated they will have paid for themselves in ten years. The couple have already built up a large array of eco-friendly measures at the home – such as insulating an extension with sheep’s wool, using compost bins to minimise waste, harvesting rainwater and growing vegetables all year round. Insulation throughout the home means energy bills never top £400 each year – with the solar panels expected to lower that figure even further.
“We didn’t really have a grand aim to own an eco-friendly home from the outset. As with everything it had to make sense financially, and we just found ourselves doing more and more as time went on.
We were initially against the idea of solar panels because we thought they would be too expensive, but we looked around and realised that the return on investment was actually very good. “For couples like us, who don’t plan to move house, they’re a good alternative to a private pension.” BCL Energy’s director Tom Sivil said: “It’s fantastic to be asked to help make Britain’s greenest home even greener. It shows the confidence people have in solar energy to make a big impact on their lives.”
Squirrel Design HANDCRAFTED TREE HOUSES AND GARDEN RETREATS
quirrel Design started as a dream of our own: with a young family and time-consuming day jobs, we were searching for a way to entice the children – and indeed the whole family – outside, and put our own creative skills to a satisfying use. As we had always known that tree houses and special hideaways are magical for all ages, this is where we turned to and our own project became the first Squirrel Design.
The project, from start to finish, has been an “Objectives Exceeded” result in every respect. Your plan and subsequent execution all meticulously carried out. And in mimimun time. GUY, WILTSHIRE As parents we firmly believe that it is essential that children learn to use their imagination and experience the outside for real. It seems that too many children miss out by burying their heads in the TV or a computer game rather than sliding down a zip-wire, climbing a rope ladder or acting out their greatest adventures. There are many ways that children can be encouraged to learn and explore through playing outdoors and at Squirrel Design we have become experts in firing the imagination. Life’s experience tells us that it can be just as important for other members of the family to have their own special outdoor space – whether for some peace and quiet
(a summerhouse?) or for more practical reasons (a garden office?). Our love of the countryside, my lifelong love of working with wood and Sarah’s design and illustration skills have come together to enable us to offer a comprehensive design and construction service for Squirrel Design tree houses and garden retreats (and our children are often extremely useful test-pilots!). We have a dedicated team of talented craftsmen who can bring specialist knowledge and experience to each bespoke project. Squirrel Design has developed organically to become the successful business that it is now. DAVID AND SARAH TROTTER
01454 238967 www.squirreldesign.co.uk Gable Cottage, Sopworth, Chippenham Wilts SN14 6PS
CaSA are award winning Architects who have a reputation for combining environmental principles with contemporary design; from extensions and eco improvements to individual houses. For a solution carefully tailored to you, your site and your budget, CaSA Architects can bring a whole new dimension to your project. Please contact Ian or Adam to discuss your plans.
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