Centre for Alternative Technology

I didn’t think that I was going to get the opportunity to write for a few days, but then it dawned at me that being here at the Centre for Alternative Technology was too good an opportunity to miss in terms of blogging. So, yesterday I had a little wander round to take some photos of the site that you just might find inspiring…

A map of the site

A map of the site

There is so much to see, that I can only give you a flavour of things here. There are lots of examples of renewable energy:

An old-fashioned wind turbine

An old-fashioned wind turbine

Solar energy options

Solar energy options

A really large-scale solar array

A really large-scale solar array

Some information about it

Some information about it

There are ideas for small spaces:

Container gardening in a yard

Container gardening in a yard

Information about building:

Choose your insulation

Choose your insulation

Applied in practice in the buildings:

The accommodation was built using sustainable materials

The accommodation was built using sustainable materials

And there are activities and exhibits galore:

Plenty to learn and enjoy

Plenty to learn and enjoy

And I even encountered another mollusc:

That's one big slug!

That’s one big slug!

Plus, my learners have been very busy creating their own display whilst increasing their understanding of ecology:

All these were created on the first day of my Introduction to Ecology course

All these were created on the first day of my Introduction to Ecology course

This afternoon we are off to see the sand dunes at Ynyslas and (hopefully) visit the submerged forest that has been exposed by the recent storms.

If you want to visit CAT, it’s open to the public from Easter and located in the middle of Wales, near Machynlleth. Really, it is well worth a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter fuel payments

In the UK, people who were born before 1951 are eligible for a ‘Winter fuel payment’. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, this is

an annual tax-free payment made to eligible people to help towards their winter heating costs

A toasty jacket

A toasty jacket

It ranges from £100 to £300 depending on age and circumstances, but generally it’s used for people who need extra heat in the winter to pay their bills. However, the other day I came across someone who had taken a slightly different view of the payment. Rather than paying for fuel (gas, electricity, wood or whatever), she and her partner had ‘invested’ their payment by each buying a puffer jacket. They had chosen to buy them from Patagonia, and selected designs made mainly from recycled polyester. She described how, when doing active jobs around the house, they don’t have the heating on, but wear their new jackets, thus keeping toasty and warm time and time again. What a great idea – genuine renewable heat that will last them for years to come!

There are, of course, a number of ways to keep warm if we can be active and have enough to eat, as Henry Ford said

Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice

which is great if you burn wood for heat, but not such useful advice if you have gas central heating! If you are mobile, however, moving about is a really great way to warm up. Often if we’re finding it a little cold in the house, a brisk walk with the dogs helps to get the blood pumping and when we return home, the house always feels warmer, even if it’s the same temperature as when we left. It doesn’t last if you become sedentary once more, but it’s a great feeling whilst it does.

Multiple functions: cleaning and heat generation, with added insulation

Multiple functions: cleaning and heat generation, with added insulation

It’s certainly not an option for everyone – my dad, for example, being confined to a wheelchair, really has to be kept warm by external heat, even if he is dressed warmly – but for many of us, exercise is a good option… with health as well as heat benefits. So, next time you’re feeling chilly, why not don a nice warm coat and do something to get the blood pumping? In fact after 1o minutes of chopping wood, doing the vacuuming, digging the garden or playing with the kids, you may find you don’t even need that extra layer!

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