Tuesday, 25 November 2014

We are currently in the process of making our first compost bin from old wooden pallets. By demolishing the pallets we have acquired planks of wood, perfect for making the compost bin. Using tools provided by the Technology department, we will use the planks of wood to build the first Eco Group compost bin. Once assembled, it will be filled with soil and from there on in, food waste from the kitchen and students can be put into it. Over 9 months, the food waste shall decompose to leave us with just soil. We will hopefully have enough wood in order to fill two compost bins, and therefore twice as much compost can be produced.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Borris%2520Johnson%2520with%2520electric%2520carsThe mayor of London has proposed an ultra low emissions zone (ULEZ) in the city which will restrict any traffic passing through to being zero or low emission vehicles. This proposal was put forward in aid of the polluted air in the city centre which is said to be partially responsible for around 4,000 deaths in 2008.
The mayor hopes to implement the ULEZ in 2020 and hopes that it will stimulate demand for low emission vehicles which will help contribute to lowering the country's CO2 emissions as a whole, benefiting both the environment and our health. The mayor is also hoping that the implementation of the ULEZ will encourage use of public transport systems such as busses which are being made greener through the use of hydrogen powered engines to reduce their emissions.
A public consultation has been taking place as of yesterday concerning the ULEZ and will continue through to January of next year. To stay updated on the ULEZ, visit the TfL website and also stay tuned to this website!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Members of the EU met yesterday at a summit in Brussels to discuss a proposed energy and climate plan for 2030 including a binding goal of cutting Europe’s carbon emissions by 40% from 1990 levels. Prime Minister David Cameron believes climate change is “one of the most serious threats facing our world” and the UK has been praised by other leaders including Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb for taking “a much stronger role than it used to” towards solving the EU’s energy and environmental issues.
The deal also proposes a 30% improvement in energy efficiency and a 27% share of Europe’s power coming from renewables by 2030. 
However, trouble is expected after Poland has stated that it will consider vetoing the goal due to its reliance on coal for 90% of its electricity, stating that it expects coal to still be its primary energy source by 2050. Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz warned that the EU’s planned goal would raise energy bills by 120% and as such intends to oppose such “drastic” measures, asking other EU members to understand that Poland is less developed than many of the wealthier countries in favour of the deal. Unfortunately it is expected by British officials that a compromise may be necessary to gain Poland’s support towards the plan.
Additionally, various companies including Shell as well as the European Trade Union Confederation fear that the goals are too “unambitious”, claiming that the proposed 40% cut is a wasted opportunity to create potentially millions of new jobs in the renewable energy sector. This comes from a recent analysis by the ETUC suggesting that further binding goals could drastically improve employment rates around Europe. The Union proposes a binding goal of improving energy efficiency by 40% as opposed to 30% and a target of 30% of Europe’s power coming from renewables rather than 27%.
Professor Jim Skea, vice-chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, disagrees with the EU-proposed goals, believing that the 40% cut is “too little too late” to make a difference towards global carbon emissions. He claims that “many people (have not) grasped just how huge this task is” and that cutting emissions by 40% is not the best solution “if we are really serious about our long-term targets.”
Personally I remain optimistic about the outcome of this summit. You should see another post regarding the final verdict of the European Union after the summit is over. 

Thursday, 23 October 2014


In the recycling division we’ve had a rough start. We didn't really know where to begin and what to do. All we knew was that we had to improve aluminium recycling as well as recycling in general. Creative and innovative ideas can be hard to come by especially when trying to motivate teens to recycle and dispose of waste properly - lets face it: not the most fun or cool thing in the world.

Initially we thought of designing a bin that would automatically sort out metals from nonmetals. However upon going over the plans, we saw many flaws. Then we thought that instead of rushing everyone into a recycling mania (which they are all likely to reject) we’d introduce the idea of recycling gently and slowly to them. First off we’d buy some large recycling bins of the colours of each house and we would put appealing posters next to them explaining what waste is allowed to go in the bins. We then also thought that we could start updating the website's “waste” section and make some displays around the school to inform others how bad failing to recycle is and how much recycling can benefit us: For instance, if the whole world recycled their cans for a year the whole world would save enough power for six years.

One of our more fun ideas is a basketball bin. We’d have a basketball hoop and net for people to throw their cans into: if they get it in then they look cool in front of their friends, if not then they'd still be recycling as it would still fall into the bin. Another of our ideas includes the Duke of Edinburgh award. Recently some students in the DofE have approached the Eco Group and asked if there were any opportunities in volunteering for us and we thought that once a week they could give up their lunchtimes and litter pick or stand by the bins and possibly monitor what people put in there.

Overall, we've put a lot of thought into what do do regarding the school's abysmal recycling, particularly over the last few weeks. We aim to push forward with our ideas and hopefully leave a good mark on the school after we leave at the end of Year 11.

Yesterday, a small group of students from the eco group stayed behind after school to get their hands dirty in some crowbar action! We were recently given some unneeded wooden pallets by the school which  we dismantled after school yesterday in order to build a compost bin from the recycled materials. 
We've been thinking about composting for a very long time, however we thought that this would be a great opportunity to make one as, not only are we finally building one, we are also building it completely from recycled materials! 
We hope to have finished building the compost bin shortly after the half term (next week) and we will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of its construction and practicality (once it's built). 
Here are some pictures from yesterday:

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cardiff%20RecyclingAn interesting case study on the idea of recycling in UK cities has arisen. Cardiff council may be fined over £800,000 after failing to meet its goals of increasing the percentage of recycled waste to 52% by 2013/14. The city only reached a rate of 50% during this period. Further fines are expected to rise to up to £21 million if the city has not increased recycling to rates to 70%, cut landfill levels to 5% and reduced the level of energy from waste to 30% by 2025. Despite recycling 85000 tonnes of rubbish per year, the council must find ways to recycle an extra 32000 tonnes in the future to avoid hefty fines.

The Cardiff Waste Management Strategy 2011-2015 was introduced in 2011 and resulted in a drastic change to the city’s waste management, introducing more frequent rubbish collection and various methods of collection. Despite reaching its target in the 2012/13 period, the city recently failed to reach its next target. A report considered by the Environmental Scrutiny Committee on the 7th of October outlines the fines the city will face as a result of these errors, which, if Cardiff council fails to rectify, could equate to over £21 million for “doing nothing.”

The author of the report, county clerk Marie Rosenthal, writes that over half of what is thrown away in the city could be easily recycled. She went on to say that domestic waste represents the majority of waste processed by the council and that the city should focus on improving recycling in this area. Unfortunately, the council believes the only way to improve domestic recycling rates is to decrease the frequency of waste collections and introduce unpopular recycling methods such as kerbside sorting, where different types of materials are sorted by residents. It seems Cardiff Council is faced with a difficult decision regarding the future of waste processing in their city.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Each year, the UK alone sends 227,000 miles wrapping paper to landfill, and that’s just at Christmas. This is the equivalent of flying from London to Los Angeles forty-two times! There must be an alternative to paper? Surely? 
Here it is: Lush. The ‘Fresh, Hand-Made Cosmetics’ company. The people who make using seaweed shower jelly and sandalwood perfume look as cool as Disney’s Frozen (VERY cool), and now, the pioneers behind the reusable revolution – the creators of Greenspun.
Greenspun, in its simplest form, is the transformation of two 250ml plastic bottles into a large square of patterned, recycled fabric in a variety of different styles. To create Greenspun, the company have rescued over one million plastic bottles from landfill and turned them into ‘Knot-Wraps’, the final product of Greenspun.
To advocate Greenspun, famous designer, Vivienne Westwood has got on board creating the ‘Climate Revolution’ wrap. Could this be the future of wrapping?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

In a world where action against environmental issues is urgently required, the younger generation bring with them the most potential in preventing environmental issues (i.e: global warming, climate change) from occurring or getting dangerously worse as they - we - are the generation who will be most effected by the issues at hand. We are the next generation of leaders, we are the next generation of decision makers , we are the next generation. We are the people who will be effected by environmental issues unless we make change and prevent them. We could be the generation to be looked back on as 'the generation that turned things around,' 'the generation that made change,' 'the generation that saved the world. Literally.'
How do we make this change when so many of us are uneducated in the field of these environmental issues? We take advantage of these awesome campaigns such as Learning Their Place, an Indiegogo project which aims to educate the younger generation of the problems we face regarding the environment today, and how these problems can be prevented by us to make a better future possible. It aims to teach the younger generation to appreciate and love nature to the extent that we come to realise that we need to preserve and look after the environment so our children can grow up in a better, greener world and come to appreciate, as we do today, the beauty that is nature.
As well as educating us on the subject of the environment, it also gives us a place in society where we can voice our opinions to how adults should be treating the world we are due to inherit and what we think adults should be doing to help prevent environmental issues from escalating to a degree that they can pose a threat toward us.
Please help this amazing project on Indiegogo (by clicking here) and be proud to say that you contributed toward helping the next generation Learn Their Place.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Last Thursday, the Eco Group got together in the evening in order to show of some of our work to some of the visiting parents for the open evening. The student outcome was great with about 15 of us there all working different stations and all showing off some great projects to next year's potential year 7s and their parents! 
I, personally, was working the EcoTech station in which we were showing off the Raspberry Pi microcomputers and their functionalities that we will be taking advantage of in order to carry out a variety of projects such as an automatic irrigation system for the vertical garden, creation of a live video feed of the garden and also a solar powered (Raspberry Pi hosted) cloud server. The parents were also thrilled to hear that we are planning on visiting local primary schools to share our knowledge of using the Raspberry Pis and teach the younger generations how to use them so that they can help us out upon joining our school next year!
Overall, the evening was a success and we can't wait to participate in similar activities in the years to come!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

After the ill-fated summit hosted in Copenhagen five years ago, more action has been called for to tackle Climate Change. After protests happening all over the world this month, world leaders finally felt the urge to discuss plans for change. 
On Monday, around 120 leaders from all over the world came together for a Climate Change summit called by UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon. After personally attending the protest in Chicago, which saw over 300,000 people take to the streets earlier in the week, Ban stated “this is the planet where our subsequent generations will live. There is no plan B because we do not have planet B”. 
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio also attended the summit as UN Climate Change Representative, stating “as an actor I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems. I believe humankind has looked at climate change in that same way: as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet, as if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away.” 
 For more information and updates on the Climate Change Summit, check out this website and also be sure to watch this space!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Earlier today, I was delighted to hear that the camera module for the Raspberry Pi had arrived for a project I am carrying out in order for a live video feed of our solar garden to be accessible from anywhere in the world. I plan on achieving the final result of this project through the use of the Raspberry Pi's camera module along with a live streaming service which can be embedded onto this website. 
Currently, I am working on configuring the camera to work with the Pi and I will soon move onto the internet side of things which requires a lot of complex procedures to be carried out. I will be sure to keep you updated on the progress of the project, along with a variety of other projects, via our Twitter feed, our Facebook page and, of course, via this website. Stay tuned for more information!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

With plans to begin construction late this year, the Pollution-Cleaning Towers in Wuhan, China, will become amongst the biggest and most environmentally friendly buildings in the world. The towers go beyond the typecast features of a skyscraper, to help the restoration of the surrounding area. 
When constructed, the towers will be based on an ‘island’ within a lake, and will help to extract pollution from the air and water around it. Of the two, the larger tower will act as a clarifier for the lake; the water is ‘cleaned’ in a series of filters, before being put back into the lake.
Moreover, both towers will include pollution-absorbing coatings, which help to purify the surrounding areas, as well as vertical gardens and a thermal chimney. 
To add to this, the towers are completely self-sustaining; wind turbines, solar panels and hydrogen ‘fuel cells’ (powered by waste) will all help to reach the huge energy demand the towers need, the excess energy produced being used by the surrounding buildings. The designers, Chetwood, claim that the buildings will ‘serve as a catalyst’ for more sustainable buildings. 
Pending approval, construction on the towers could begin soon, and be completed by 2017/18.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The following blog post was written in the form of an informative proposal to the head teacher, Mr Hine, for potential EcoTech Group projects. It has been uploaded here for your benefit to keep informed and up to date with what we will be doing in the future. 
Upon completion of the current project, the EcoTech Group would like to commence a variety of innovative new projects in order to apply and demonstrate the crosslinks between ICT and environmental technology. We would also like to use technology in order to help the school better understand the use of green technology and how the environment is currently in need of our help. The following document will summarize potential EcoTech projects and the materials/resources required in order to carry out the proposed projects.

Solar Garden

The Solar Garden project has been underway for a while now and, upon arrival of some materials which we have ordered, will conclude very soon. The Solar Garden project hopes to demonstrate the practicality of Solar Power and the Raspberry Pi microcomputer by running a small website and/or a cloud storage server. We also hope to use another solar powered Raspberry Pi, with a camera module installed, to send a live video feed of the chickens, which will soon inhabit the garden, to the BBHS Eco website.

Solar/Wind Phone Charging Station

A solar phone charging unit, located in the LRC, would serve practical use to a lot of students in the school due to the popularity of mobile devices in modern society! This could also serve great practical use to the new year 7s who would be able to use the unit to charge their iPads. The unit would be crafted from transparent plastic and would be in the style of a set of lockers. A locker would be rented from the librarians who would issue keys to the charging lockers with a £1 deposit and would be useable for one day. The result of this project would serve use to most students AND staff due to its practicality and indirect demand. Almost every student, at one point, requires a charging station for their mobile device; they just don’t know they can get one from the Eco Group. To carry out this project, we would need the following things:

  • The materials to craft the locker unit or, even better, a prebuilt locker unit which meets the required specifications. 
  • Another solar panel or a small wind turbine. 
  • Phone chargers (which can be second-hand or donated to us)

Solar Shelter

A solar shelter would serve similar practical use to the Solar/Wind Phone Charging Station. It would, ideally, be a modern bus shelter styled structure crafted from glass and would have solar panels on the roof to power some power outlets on the inside which could be used to charge mobile devices.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Imagine a world where the roads are “smart.” Suppose that these roads produced energy in amounts that quickly cover the cost of installing them. The roads ahead of you are marked not by paint, but by LEDs. This is the future that Solar Roadways proposes.

The ambitious husband-and-wife duo conceptualized the idea and founded Solar Roadways Incorporated in 2006, receiving a $100,000 grant from the Department of Transportation in 2009. Using the grant, the company built a parking lot covered in hexagonal glass solar panels, complete with LEDs to display messages and heating to prevent buildup of snow and ice. The panels are capable of withstanding loads of up to 110,000 kg.

In April, the company launched a crowd funding campaign on internet crowdfunding site Indiegogo. With support from celebrities including George Takei, the project has raised over $2,000,000 to continue developing the technology. The site states the companies aims of cutting greenhouse gasses by 75% and optimizing the price of the solar panels so that it would cost $40 million to cover a mile of roadways.

The idea behind the project is as follows. Many miles of the US are covered in roads, so why isn't the space being utilized? Converting all of the roads in the US into solar roadways would drastically reduce the countries requirements on fossil fuels. And that's just the start of the environmental benefits Solar Roadways could provide. The panels are designed to be recyclable, as well as using as much recycled materials as possible in production. Additionally, as they are a modular system, they remove the need to replace damage roadways as damaged solar panels can simply be removed and reinstalled or replaced.

Another important feature of the roadways is the "cable corridor." At the edge of a Solar Roadway is a channel with space for electric cables, water pipes, fibre optic cables, telephone wires and more, removing the need for unsightly overhead cable systems. As 50% of the US's water pollution comes from storm water, the piping could help to reduce river pollution and transfer the storm water to treatment plants or other locations other than waterways.

The roadways would also make driving a whole lot easier. As the solar panels use some of the generated energy to heat themselves, they will not be subject to the issues that ice and snow cause on our current roads. Bicycles will be available for use year round, icy conditions will not cause traffic problems, and it will be safer for pedestrians.

Furthermore, the LEDs that cover the surface of the panels are designed to be reprogrammable, eliminating the need for costly repainting jobs. Need to repaint a parking lot to add disabled parking spaces? Reprogram the LEDs to any configuration needed. Imagine walking onto a solar sports field and choosing the pitch you need, from tennis court to football field. The panels are also pressure sensitive. This will improve driver safety; the roads could display warnings about debris on the road, or detect animals moving across.

Personally, I see Solar Roadways as the most promising and practical display of ecological energy production I have seen. The idea combines renewable energy, practicality, and general wow factor in a spectacular way. I give all my support to the company and hope that they achieve great things.

Donate here.
After numerous complex negotiations and intense meetings, China and Russia signed a whopping $400 billion, 30-year, gas deal that will see Russia supply China with over 1 trillion tonnes via new pipelines fitted to the east of the country, connecting the two together.
The deal between Gazprom, a Russian Oil Company, and China National Petroleum Corp, has been 10 years in the making, and is expected to begin operations in 2018. The gas supply will aim to replace China's coal fired power stations and aid the ever-growing population and economy as well as, obviously, the environment. However, this deal isn't all good. Will it affect other countries? Will it cripple Russia’s relationship with the EU? Keep following the blog for more updates on the story!
Over the past weeks, a budding team of gardeners have set to work on one of the schools disowned gardens, with the aim to decrease our impact on both the community and the surroundings. So far, we have cleared plants and trees to create a flat surface, to make ready for the installation of both a vertical garden and a VERY small urban farm, however have had to halt the developments after uncovering a duck's nest which was in use at the time!
The Duck's Nest
For the vertical garden our plan is to use recyclable materials, such as plastic bottles, to create ‘pots’ for herbs, plants and vegetables. We are also looking into the use of an automatic irrigation system and water butts, to keep the plants watered when students are not present, during the summer break, etc.
Our ideological design can be seen in the image below, however, this is not our final design. If you have any other ideas or tips about the vertical garden or the ducks, pleased feel free to leave a comment below this post!
Image Taken from

Monday, 19 May 2014

In recent discussions we have been brainstorming ideas on extra fundraising to fund our future projects. One of the main ideas was to bring our Eco Group to local primary schools. From this, we can raise extra money as well as encouraging younger generations to get involved in saving the environment. So far, we have chosen various local primary schools to go and produce eco workshops for the pupils to participate in. This includes a short talk about what we are doing and also a practical activity in which students can create things for their own gardens! As an example, they will create things like bug houses and wormeries. We also hope to give others a few tips on how to make their school a more eco-friendly place!

Friday, 16 May 2014

As you know at BBHS Eco group we’ve been working on many different projects, such as the Raspberry Pi project, and the garden rejuvenation project. But what we haven’t looked into yet is recycling. At the Eco group we hope to start a project related to recycling; more specifically recycling drink cans. Although each type of recycling is important, we’ve decided to tackle cans specifically. We made this choice because our school does seem to have an outstanding problem with recycling. It also helps that we can sell the cans and help the Eco Group fund to future projects.
With this project scheduled to start soon, we aim to not only teach other students about recycling cans and the benefits of it, but to make the school cleaner by recycling. Hopefully we can get this project started and in the works before we go into Year 10. To get this project up and running we will be thinking over the next week how to make this a sustainable project that can continue after we leave, and before we think of that we need to think of an incentive to encourage people to recycle cans.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

For the past couple of weeks we have been working on a new project. We are creating a short film about our recycling system at school. This is for a competition hosted by Suffolk Recycling. The prize that we are hoping to win is a compost hot bin. A hot bin is a compost bint hat can produce compost extremely quickly; we can even put our cooked food waste in there!

We have developed a team of enthusiastic students who have been planning and developing their ideas to create a short film. We have incorporated techniques on recycling plastic bottles and aluminium cans.

We have decided that the Hot Bin will be extremely beneficial to the schools compost system which also includes our future projects.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The EcoTech Project has been well underway for a long time now, over a year in fact, and it's time to start concluding it as we have nearly met our goal... Kind of.
Although our project aims have changed drastically we have finally decided that our current project, hosting a cloud storage server from a solar powered Raspberry Pi microcomputer, is coming to an end! When we first set out to create an EcoTech project, out aim was to monitor the school's energy usage using a Raspberry Pi  After analysing the project several times, we finally decided that out ambitions for the project outcome were too high and we were forced back to the drawing board! 
After weeks of brainstorming, we decided to set out at another project - hosting an Eco Group website from a solar powered Raspberry Pi. This project was seen through right to the concluding stage - we purchased a domain name, I coded the website (with help from a template), and the project was more or less complete... We even won a prize in a competition hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation!  However, problems hit when we realised how little power we'd be giving the site and how slow it would be if it was hosted from a Pi and problems also struck when we started communicating with the school's ICT department and realised how hard it would be to host the site ourselves! Back to the drawing board - again!
After a few days, our next project was in the works - hosting a cloud storage server from a solar powered Raspberry Pi with OwnCloud  This project will be concluding this week as we've finally got the cloud platform functioning inside of the school - now we just need to get it working externally and also we need to get the Pi hooked up to a Solar Panel and put on display in the Eco Garden next to the Learning Resource Centre. In order to display our Project, we have put together a display case from unused scrap wood and plastic in the technology room department of the school.
All together, our project has been, in my opinion, a great success and I am proud to say that I took part in making this project happen as the outcome is something we can all be happy about! I enjoyed working with my friends on this project and I look forward to working on more projects with them in the future!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

On the 3rd of April 2014, the eco-garden project began. Our ambitions, however, were put on hold when we discovered a duck's nest, a pigeon's nest and one other which does not appear to be inhabited. We hope to continue the project with the ducklings and squab still living in the garden. Soon we will have a few birds tables and bird baths for our feathered friends.
In the months leading to this blog entry, we have undergone vast changes in our garden to improve it environmentally, and aesthetically. Today is the second phase of the transformation. Due to weather (and laziness!) the garden had been left in a derelict state for many years, until a month a two ago, when the refurbishment began.
We are also planning to plant flowers in the garden where there were previously weeds and moss. At the moment we have Fuchsias, Primroses, Forget-me-nots, Lily of the Valleys and Wild Violets which have been gathered and selected to be placed in the garden. We also plan to place a vertical garden against a north facing wall, and will hopefully make it using recycled plastic bottles and wire. This would be the most eco-friendly and effective idea for our garden. Follow this link to follow up on our ideas.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

New research published in the Nature journal suggests that the pine scented aerosols that rise above forests play a part in the reduction of climate change.
The vapours found above pine forests form clouds of aerosols that block sunlight and reflect the rays back into space. The smell of pine rises above the forest, reacting with oxygen and forming the clouds in the atmosphere. Forests are one of the largest sources of these clouds on the planet.
Using modern technology, researchers have discovered that a previously unknown organic particle present in the vapours plays a critical part in the process. These particles condense onto any particle they come into contact with, such as the oxygen that reacts with the vapour to form the clouds. This helps to bind the reagents together to form the aerosols. This “missing link” in the process will aid scientists in predicting how effective the vapours will be at reducing the effects of climate change.
The pine smell present in forests may be having a far larger impact than previously expected.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Here at the BBHS Eco Group, we have been working on a new project. To adequately showcase our work, we have decided to create a dedicated website for the Eco Group. This will feature a blog that will post regular updates from all of us here at BBHS, a section containing the work we have been doing regarding the energy mix, and an interactive timeline that will allow viewers to track the progress of some of our ambitious projects and view the relevant information, such as our notes and letters. Speaking of ambitious projects, we aim to meld the website with the Raspberry Pi project: the website will be run off of a solar powered Raspberry Pi, which we are working on currently. We hope to share more information soon.