Saturday, 7 March 2015

In a beautiful display of how form and function are not mutually exclusive when talking about green power, energy firm Urban Green Energy has installed a par of vertical axis wind turbines within the metal structure of the Eiffel Tower. The twin turbines will provide enough energy to power the entire first floor of the tower which features restaurants, shops and informative exhibits and displays.
The turbines are only 17 feet tall but use an innovative triple-bladed design to maximise energy generation without the ugly mechanical look of other such structures. The design also keeps noise levels at a minimum and the turbines are equipped with vibration dampeners, eliminating concerns about sound pollution when constructing wind turbines in occupied areas.
Project head Jan Gromadzki hopes that the turbines will “make a visual statement” and demonstrate how renewable energy technologies “that can be easily integrated into the daily lives of people around the world.” It is estimated that two of these turbines would be enough to power the average Western household.

Friday, 6 March 2015

A few weeks ago, this website turned one year old and it got me thinking about what I originally had in mind as my ambition for what I wanted this site to be after a year. To my surprise, I haven't really managed to get a lot of the things done to the site that I would have liked to have had done in the past year. With that, I present to you my manifesto for for the next few months!

Learning Resources

One of the main things we set out to have on the site right from the start was a "learning resources" section which could be utilised by our school as well as other schools in geography lessons. Unfortunately, we faced a few problems at school with our site being inaccessible via the school's network and this obviously obstructed the project slightly and forced it lower down our to-to list. It's now at the top of our task list and we will complete the learning resources section of the site within the next few months.


Yes, the Raspberry Pi live garden cam. The one we told you was near completion a few months ago. We backtracked slightly. We had it working fine but then something went wrong along the way and we're now struggling to get it working. We have, however, got one of the Pis set up to take timelapses and we plan on taking advantage of this function when the newly constructed structures and chickens are being put into the garden. The timelapses produces will be shared on this site when they're complete but for now, enjoy this timelapse I made with the Pi when testing the function!
Once everything is in place in the garden, we will definitely crack on with the livestream project and get that up and running in the coming months. We might even get a chicken cam set up for you! 
As well as providing a source of entertainment for you, the audience of this site, this feature will also prove useful for ourselves to monitor the activities of the chickens and the garden when we aren't in school.

Energy Monitoring

This wasn't part of the original plan, however I do hope to get it up and running in the next few months though. This feature will allow you to monitor the energy output of the solar panel in the solar garden which we'll be using to power the Raspberry Pis streaming the garden as well as any other electronics in the garden. Hopefully, the result of this project will be something like this. I have contacted the creator of that site and am still awaiting a response but I'm hoping he will be able to assist us in recreating his project via the internet!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Recently, my friends and I joined the BBHS Eco Group and were astounded by the amount of effort and thought put into making these promising projects a reality. Over the past few weeks, our group have built the chicken coop and are almost ready to accommodate some chickens! This exciting new project should bring a new element to the group and attract some of the younger years to join in in this awesome project.
Hopefully, over the next few months we will begin a gardening project using recycled musical instruments and other items that would usually be thrown away, adding an inventive and imaginative element to our many plans. For more information on this gardening project, see the blog post by Mr Champion which will be published in the coming days!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Last week, myself and another member of the eco group interviewed Miss Wisker, the school's textiles teacher who has been using upcycling with her GCSE students. Here's what she had to say:

What is upcycling?
The process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value, or in my words; taking something old and making it into something fabulous!

Why do you use upcyling?
Firstly, it’s environmentally friendly and saves a lot of money as well, it also means we don’t have to buy things in, we can use things we’ve already got.

What sort of things do you use?
Bed sheets, duvet covers, pillow cases and curtains which are basic expensive fabrics. We can also use old clothes such as shirts, jeans and even socks!

What is made from the materials?
We can make all sorts out of them: skirts, ugly dolls, drawstring bags, sock aliens. Although, nothing ever goes to waste as the scraps are used as tests for the sewing machines or weaving

Who gets involved?
Mainly the students that take textiles are the ones who donate materials, but we have had a lot of support from teacher, they mainly donate old baby clothes!

How does it benefit the GCSE students?
Part of the year 11 AQA exam board is to create a product out of recycled materials, they’ve all really enjoyed this project as they got to use old materials to craft a patchwork quilt.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Artist's Impression
The UK is set to pioneer an innovative new form of energy generation known as “lagoon power” in a billion-pound scheme recently unveiled in Wales. A series of 6 artificial lagoons constructed for £30 billion could provide up to 8% of the UK’s energy consumption. The constructions would capture and use sea tides to turn turbines, thus generating energy. One such lagoon with a cost estimated at £1 billion is currently in planning in Swansea.
The proposed plan would involve artificially constructed walls stretching miles out to sea lined with tidal generators that use the natural and reliable ebb and flow of the tide to generate energy. The design allows tides to pass through the turbines four times per day.
Locals have expressed concern that the wall would disrupt fish activity around it, but the project heads claim that it creates a natural reef that encourages biodiversity in the area.
Despite the high cost of the project, those behind it are confident that after the initial investment further constructions of these lagoons would become cheaper. Ed Davey, the UK’s energy secretary, has expressed an interest in backing the project.

For more information, visit the project's website.