Posts Tagged 'Eco-friendly'



So said of course on of the great philosophers of our generation, Winnie the Pooh, and how right he was. This one, the Manned Cloud, is a new design of airship, by French designer Jean-Marie Massaud.

Its proposed use is as a flying hotel, with restaurant, library, spa and fitness suite. The luxury, double helium-filled envelopes will even be topped with a sun deck for the 40 passengers. The hotel will have space for 15 staff, and will cruise at a speed of 130 kilometers per hour, over a range of 5000 kilometers. Massaud believes that his airship design “permits man to explore the world without a trace: to re-experience traveling, timelessness and enhance the consciousness of the beauty of the world – and to experience spectacular and exotic places without being intrusive or exploitative.”


Research and development of Manned Cloud is being taken forward by the French national aerospace reasearch body, ONERA, who will assess its viability. I’ve talked about airship designs on here before, and the amount of innovation currently ongoing in this field is staggering. As I said before, I really believe that these wonderful creations will see commercial use in my lifetime. Part of the design inspiration for Manned Cloud comes from the way whales swim, and this whale (or is it more like a ray?) shape is what has resulted. Other designers are also turning to the oceans for inspiration, which allows me to show you this wonderful proof-of-principle demonstration of a manta-ray shaped craft, the Festo Air-Ray:





Brian Sexton an Eco Expert working for the Manchester City Council – along with his team has won a Council Award for Excellence. A 1900’s house has been renovated into an Eco friendly one.

The Eco House opened as a show house in Miles Platting in May 2006. It was renovated to show how it’s possible to live economically and how any ordinary house can be converted to a sustainable home.

From the outside the house looks like any other house in the street, but once you step inside, it’s a different world.

Visitors are welcome to take a tour of the house. Firstly, there’s a two-minute DVD that shows what harmful greenhouse gases would look like if we could see them. The DVD also shows how this causes global warming.

The message is that if we could see greenhouse gases we wouldn’t allow it, but with them being invisible it’s probably a case of out of sight out of mind.

So this Eco House with all its wonderful innovations shows us what can be done – how we can help save our planet – that’s top priority, and it’s possible to save money too.

In the house there’s a rubbish bin with its front cut away to show various layers of household refuse, each layer is labelled to show how many years it would take to decompose if just dumped.

There are many ways of making your home eco friendly but one of the easiest is to insulate. But if you can’t afford it – the Government awards grants for this purpose.

Below are 15 ways you can make your home warmer greener and more economical to run.

1. Use energy saving light bulbs.
2. Insulate the loft.
3. Have cavity wall insulation.
4. Put a jacket on your hot water cylinder.
5. Stop the draughts with draught proofing at doors and windows.
6. If you have gaps in your floorboards, stuff them.
7. Have a clock fitted so you can control your heating.
8. Put silver foil behind the radiators – this will reflect the heat back into the room.
9. Fit a condensing boiler.
10. When using your washing machine, only do a wash when you have a full load and then do the wash at 30 degrees.
11. Don’t fill the kettle for one cup of tea.
12. If you are not using a room turn off the lights.
13. Collect rainwater for watering the garden.
14. Recycle and compost as much as possible.
15. Fit Double Glazed Windows

Remember if you want to do your bit to help save our planet, don’t throw it away but think of the 3 R’s. Reduce, Reuse, or Recycle.

If you’d like more advice on saving energy you can contact the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre on 0800 512 012 (it’s a free number).




So the festivities are over, we’re counting down the days until we have to remove the Christmas decorations, work looms and everyone is stir-crazy after a fortnight indoors! If your house is like mine, the main result of seeing family and friends over Christmas is to catch up with all the germs we missed earlier in the year, so we’re all sniffing and sneezing away. For those who went out celebrating, as well as for those of us with colds and flu, here are a few gentle, fun things, with a green theme.


Firstly, I love this video of the construction of a wind turbine. The first time I came close to a wind turbine was on a motorcycling holiday through Europe. We were travelling along the Dutch coast, and we came across a beautiful rocky coast, devoid of people but with an array of these statuesque turbines, and they were amazingly big – much bigger than I’d somehow imagined they might be. I’ve often wondered since how they actually get there, and this is the answer.


I wrote about Green Thing a while ago. It’s an on-line community where you can find inspiration to do a little something green each month, with the excellent twist of a constant supply of funny photos, audio files and videos on each theme. December’s Green Thing to do was actually aimed at Christmas present buying, and was to “give an old thing, not a new thing”. It works easily as well, though for that time after Christmas when we either try to get rid of the unwanted gifts we received, or clear out to make room for the ones we do want. The theme’s video is so gorgeous and nostalgic, it’ll have you crying into your turkey soup.



There are so many solar, biofuel, electric, hybrid – whatever – green cars coming on to the market these days that I could easily only write about them. The problem is that they are largely incredibly ugly. Now, this one turned my head first because it is cute, but the back story makes it even better, as this bloke actually built it himself. This is a fascinating little video – it almost makes me want to do one myself



Hands up who got a sweater for Christmas! Now, when I was little, my granny used to knit jumpers for us, and when we’d grown out of them, we’d give them back to her. She’d unravel them, and knit something else. It struck me that this would be a good way of using up the knitted sweaters, socks, etc that you got for Christmas, but don’t like, and at the same time getting yourself the most beautiful eco-friendly car in the world. It runs on absolutely no petrol, and is 100% recyclable, but most importantly, it’s a Ferrari.




The British government has announced new energy-saving and eco-friendly school building projects as part of its drive to ensure that all new schools are carbon neutral.

A total of 200 projects will be taking place over three years and will include the use of greener technologies such as wind turbines, solar power and biomass boilers.

England’s Schools secretary, Ed Balls, has said he will be appointing a taskforce to look at how schools could reduce their environmental impact. There is also a separate target to make school travel more environmentally friendly by 2020 as part of a wider plan for “sustainable” schools which includes promoting greener power, reducing energy consumption and encouraging more recycling.

Under the projects announced by Mr Balls, a typical secondary school will receive £500,000 to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Measures could include improving insulation, using lower-energy lighting and energy-saving devices on school computers.




If you are still looking for last minute gifts, you could check out the Big Green Market in Reading (December 14-16) or in Oxford (December 21 & 23).

It claims to be “a street market with a conscience” and shoppers can expect a range of  eco-friendly, ethically traded and organic products. 

And if you’re gift shopping for a bookworm, you might like to visit the Amnesty book sale on December 17 at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London. Books will include second hand stock and warehouse clearance items, as well as brand new remainders, plus there will be giftwrap, diaries and calendars.

(As always, check online before setting out since events can change or be cancelled.)




It’s just too long since I covered any shiny pretty things, so here’s LunaBrite. This immensely lovely lighting system is said to be eco-friendly, child safe, non-toxic and weather resistant.

Although information is a bit sparse (the website is pretty, but not very informative), I’ve gleaned that they are fully solar, probably, as they don’t need any batteries or electricity, and recharge in sunlight. I say probably, since there are patents out for bio-luminescent and chemo-luminescent light sources, and hybrids of these and other lights. LunaBrite lights are supposed to fully recharge after about 30 minutes of sunlight, and to glow for up to 12 hours, gradually fading as they lose charge.


The website does speculate on where LunaBrite systems might be applied, giving a gorgeous illustration of the lights being used to illuminate the edges of a harbour walkway.  They have probably made the light casing sew-able or glue-able, too, since their other ideas are for sports clothing piping. I particularly like the glowing trainers, though.


Personally, I’d mostly like to glue it to my skirting board tops, along my hall, stairs and landing, and dispense with the need for electric lights in those areas altogether. I think they’d look so lovely that I’d actually look forward to night-time.