I am pleased to announce that in conjunction with Sustainable Hockerton we are now working with students who are solving the climate crisis on a regular basis.
We often get requests for help with dissertation projects in the form of requests to answer questionnaires or taking part in interviews. Sustainable Hockerton has agreed to fund some time to enable this support to occur. This is a limited resource so there will be a queuing system. In exchange for our input students will be requested to supply their finished work for publication on our website so that others can share their insights.
The climate crisis needs all hands-on deck to create a new way of living that does not destroy our atmosphere and decimate the wonderful species around us. Academic learning on how we do this is a critical step. Action based on good knowledge and understanding is now urgent for all of us.
As an example, Ellen Potter a student from the University of Sheffield ask us to be interviewed on the a topic she was assigned to written on. The title was How Do Cooperatives Put into Practice New Ecological Relations? HHP is a cooperative acting as a catalyst for change towards sustainable development and Sustainable Hockerton is a cooperative society developing community owned renewables and promoting sustainable living, so we were able to help her with this. Her report can be found here and is a good example of the in depth thinking necessary to start solving the problems we face. She has produced a thoughtful and well-argued case for cooperation and its ability to value what is not on a typical business balance sheet. working with students is very rewarding. This fits well with Dr Geeta Lakshmi and my work on community, value and power. This latter work may help facilitate financiers to understand arithmetically the wider value of capital within organisations. Link to paper and here.
How can better ecological relations be put into practice? We have been working on this. Here is a practical live project. Located at the western gateway to the Nottinghamshire village of Eakring, the site’s 10 acres have been taken out of agriculture production to provide nine homes within a managed wildlife area.
Eakring farmer and retired GP, Dr Chris Parsons, describes his project, Howgate Close as an opportunity to address some of society’s most pressing issues: rural housing shortage, climate change, soil restoration, carbon sequestration, biodiversity, water management and purification and community cohesiveness.
Howgate Close’s main objective is to provide local people who’ve been priced out of home-ownership, with high quality rented homes, offering low running costs, low maintenance and access to the open countryside. Also underway are plans to benefit the wider community with permissive access rights to part of the wood pasture.
Dr Parsons engaged the local ‘Hockerton Housing Project’ (HHP) to design ‘Howgate Close’ formally Eakring Eco Houses, using the design principles applied at HHP by its Architects, Professor’s Brenda and Robert Vale. Jerry Harrall is now also closely involved and writes more about the project here. It has an impressive SAP score you can see above, 142A.
To conclude. As Ellen says “humans and nature are not separate entities”.
Sustainable construction – what is thermal mass? Lets have a look at what this means:
Lets start with what is Sustainable Construction?
Sustainability is the creation and maintenance of systems that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
There are three key interacting aspects to sustainability: economic, environmental and social. If one of these is lacking, people will find it difficult to meet their needs.
The challenge for self-builders or any new-build is keeping costs of the build under control, but it is important to not let short-term costs deter you from making long-term savings from lower energy and water costs.
The principles of high thermal mass and passive solar gain work in HHP homes to eliminate the need for artificial heating. It also underlines the priority we give to helping people develop and deliver low budget, low tech and buildable designs.
What is thermal mass?
‘Thermal mass‘ describes a material’s capacity to absorb, store and release heat. For example water and concrete have a high capacity to store heat and are referred to as ‘high thermal mass‘ materials.
Thermal mass acts as a thermal battery. During summer it absorbs heat during the day and releases it by night keeping the house comfortable. In winter the same thermal mass can store the heat from the sun and release it much later, helping the home stay warm.
Thermal mass is not a substitute for insulation. To be effective, thermal mass must be integrated with appropriate design techniques such as areas of glazing facing the appropriate directions, tight construction and insulation on the outside of the mass.
So how does this work?
Thermal mass reduces the need for any form of whole house heating in the Hockerton homes. The house construction of concrete creates thermal mass because it is insulated on the outside. The mass stores the energy from the sun, our bodies and incidental gains to keep the houses at a constant temperature throughout the year typically around 20 degrees. In the summer the houses feel cool and in the winter they feel warm.
More information on Thermal performance and the construction of HHP houses are available here and from the concrete centre.
We hope once we have tested the waters we hope to repeat these depending on the demand and also add some more technical tours.
Please share this with your friends and family.
New eco home emerges from the ground.
A new eco bungalow starts to take shape here in Hockerton. As usual built far beyond the building regs…. at little to no extra cost! Similar onsite buildings have had net positive energy figures meaning they make more than they consume.
We know that nothing is quite like visiting Hockerton for
yourself and experiencing the site and the homes. We have been thinking for some time of
alternative ways people can ‘visit’ so that more people can enjoy the
experience and learn from the innovation that is Hockerton HP. The recent challenge of Covid 19 has
clarified our thinking on this but we hope it is something that many schools
and students can use in their future learning as well.
We are also encouraging students who are interested in
sustainability in any way to access our videos these can be found on the
website. For primary aged children years 5 and 6 we would suggest they
follow the link https://hockertonhousingproject.org.uk/sustainable-living/co-housing/
and look at The Green Pioneers Open University video. If anyone wanted to
then have a zoom meeting to talk to us about climate change or what it is like
to live here we could set that up afterwards. They would need to express
their interest in this by following this link: mailto:email@example.com.
This is a great book which gives the carbon facts about our consumption in a relatively easy way to understand. Mike has covered all aspects of life including a detailed first chapter on food but also travel, money, investment and values. Whilst he is very clear about what needs to be achieved to prevent 1.5 degrees of climate change he offers choices about our consumption in a way that left me feeling empowered and not guilty.
This is an essential read for us all! My response to this book has been to give a copy to all in the executive team at my hospital and to all of our current cohort of medical students. Those with the power to make high value decisions and the senior leaders of the future need to be thinking about this. In between , each one of us can use this book to guide us to reduce our carbon emissions urgently. I urge you to buy it, read it and pass it on to someone else.
Feeding the world, climate change, biodiversity, antibiotics, plastics – the list of concerns seems endless. But what is most pressing, what are the knock-on effects of our actions, and what should we do first? Do we all need to become vegetarian? How can we fly in a low-carbon world? Should we frack? How can we take control of technology? Does it all come down to population? And, given the global nature of the challenges we now face, what on Earth can any of us do?
Fortunately, Mike Berners-Lee has crunched the numbers and plotted a course of action that is practical and even enjoyable. There is No Planet B maps it out in an accessible and entertaining way, filled with astonishing facts and analysis. For the first time you’ll find big-picture perspective on the environmental and economic challenges of the day laid out in one place, and traced through to the underlying roots – questions of how we live and think. This book will shock you, surprise you – and then make you laugh. And you’ll find practical and even inspiring ideas for what you can actually do to help humanity thrive on this – our only – planet.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press ISBN: 9781108439589 Number of pages: 302 Weight: 380 g Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 17 mm