Alan Simpson MP and over 70 shareholders and suppliers came to Hockerton to celebrate the official opening of our community-owned wind turbine.  It was a stunning day, with plenty of wind and solar power, and inspired plenty of ideas of how to spend the income from the turbine – the most popular being a foot and cycle path to Southwell, a village green and playground, and energy audits of local homes – a good mix of social, environmental and economic options for sustainable Hockerton.

As well as Alan, one of the main campaigners for the new feed-in tariff, we were joined by a small film unit from the Energy Saving Trust who are covering the project for their Green Communities site to show what communities can achieve.

Now we’ve lived here for a full year, I was keen to see how much energy we’d actually consumed in the house (OK, I’m a geek!)

So the headline facts are as follows:

  • 1 year’s energy consumption in the house – 3,395kWh.  For those of you with a life, you may wonder if that is good or bad; well, the EST published figure for annual energy consumption for the average UK house (a 3-bed semi with gas central heating) is 25,500kWh, so I’d say it is good, especially when you consider that …
  • in the same period, our community solar PV panels and wind turbines generated 14,035kWh, so our share of that is 2,807kWh, meaning that our net annual household consumption was 588kWh
  • however, that’s not the full story, because we also have a separate home office, which Liz uses for her work, as did I when in full-time employment; the total consumption of the home office for the year was a further 337 kWh, so that puts us up to 925kWh
  • mind you, that home office consumption really “belongs” to our respective employers, so I think it’s fair to ignore that
  • and since Liz has “migrated” back to an office in the house since mid-Nov (the home office isn’t as well insulated) then a significant (?) proportion of our energy use in the last quarter (Nov-Jan) really “belongs” to Consumer Focus; it’s not possible to determine the exact amount though I’m afraid – Liz wouldn’t let me put energy monitors on every electrical device in the office (I don’t know, some people  …)  It is worth noting however that until the last quarter (as at 13th Nov 2009), our net energy consumption was -148kWh (do they call that carbon positive or negative; I’m never sure)

Anyway, time to turn this computer off, I’ve an energy debt to pay off … I’ll bore you with water consumption data in a day or two, next time the sun shines or the wind blows …

Oh, and our £3k share in the village community wind turbine is estimated to be worth 5,000kWh/yr, so what am I worrying about?

Well, it’s exactly one year since we moved to Hockerton Housing Project, and fitting perhaps that on the same day as we appeared on Country Tracks on BBC talking about the village community turbine, we were at the turbine giving it an unofficial christening.

We failed miserably in our plans to Blog our first year here, but who knows, maybe we’ll do better in the second, and hopefully many, many more to come.

Here are a few snaps from today; cheers.

Here are the remains of the snowman in the middle of the lake … look carefully, he is there

We’ve not had it as bad as most of the UK, but it may not be over yet, and it is very cold.  The lake has been frozen for a couple of weeks, and is now home to a snowman!  Some snow scenes below.

Beach hut north of Mablethorpe

Beach hut north of Mablethorpe

We’re on “staycation” at the moment, and today took a day trip to our local coast in Lincolnshire.  We headed to Mablethorpe, known to the locals as “the village of the daleks” due to the unusually high number of motability scooters in town (and it is true!)

A very traditional British seaside resort, with beach huts (although some unusual designs as you can see), donkeys on the beach, sticks of rock for sale, only bucking the trend with a complete absence of “kiss me quick” hats and both a nearby on-shore and off-shore wind farm.

A beautiful coastline with great beaches, and the pinnacle is surely the Gibraltar Point nature reserve just south of Skegness; maybe it was the fact that it was such a vivid and welcome change from it’s neighbouring resort, or the fact that the sun finally came out when we got there, but the peace and tranquility was stunning.

Selected highlights below.

Another beach hut

Another beach hut

And another

And another

And a load more!

And a load more!

Donkeys on the beach

Donkeys on the beach

And sticks of rock!

And sticks of rock!