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  1. 5 Things You Can Do To Help The Earth

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    Erthygl Gymraeg yma

    This article was written by a volunteer from a recent workshop held at the EVI. Community members volunteered themselves to create content focusing on environmental issues. During these video and blogging workshops they were taught the skills to create their own online content. This was all made possible with funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. Check out the related articles at the bottom of the page.

    There are many ways to help the Earth. Some are efficient, and some are not.  This blog will show you the most efficient ways to help the Earth along with the reasons why they are efficient. 

    1. Getting serious about water 

    We use water everyday in our lives, some people use it more than others but that doesn’t matter.  If there are any noticeable leaks in your home then make sure to fix them as soon as possible to prevent any water loss and to improve your local environment. 

    Another essential thing you could do with the water in your household is to turn off any taps that are being unused. For example, some people leave the tap on while they are brushing their teeth – wasting water that could otherwise be put to good use. 

    Tips to save water from the Energy Saving Trust.

    2. Installing smart technology

    Installing a smart meter in your home will let you keep track of the energy you’re using and it’s cost. Seeing how much energy your actually using might encourage you to make changes and cut down on your energy use. A smart meter connects through your Wi-Fi connection and sends your energy usage to your supplier meaning you don’t have to submit energy readings yourself. This gives you a more accurate bill based on the energy you’re using rather than a guesstimate.

    Installing a smart thermostat can also help you cut down on your energy costs. This allows you to control the heating in your home through an app on your phone; you can be at work and connect to your smart thermostat to turn the heating down at home.

    Further information about smart meters and technology – Energy Saving Trust

    3. Energy efficient light bulbs 

    We all use light bulbs- we couldn’t see inside many internal rooms without them.  A way to help the environment is to use LED light bulbs instead of the old tungsten bulbs.  LED light bulbs are more efficient, can be easily replaced, last longer and they shine brighter too! 

    The lighting at the EVI has been replaced with LED thanks to funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. Find out more here.

    4. Installing solar panels 

    Another way we can get energy is from the sun via solar panels.  Solar panels take heat and light from the sun and convert it to energy for our everyday usage.  Solar panels don’t produce energy at night due to there being no sun but energy that isn’t used during the day can be stored in batteries to be used during the night, or if there isn’t enough you can get still get your energy from the grid if you need it. Any solar energy you don’t use can be sold to the grid, which can make you a little money.

    Check out this How Solar Power Works in the UK information from uSwitch.

    5. Recycle and reuse 

    Recycling is a must if we want to save the Earth.  Recycling itself uses energy, so re-using is better where possible. There are two simple things you can do to start – reuse bottles to drink out of and ask your local council to add more recycling bins around town so that the oceans and local wildlife habitats can stay safe and clean. 

    You might find some ideas to reuse everyday items from this list on Recycling Guide – like using old clothes to create cushions or donating old egg cartons to schools.

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  2. 5 Steps To Live a More Sustainable Life

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    Erthygl Gymraeg yma

    This article was written by a volunteer from a recent workshop held at the EVI. Community members volunteered themselves to create content focusing on environmental issues. During these video and blogging workshops they were taught the skills to create their own online content. This was all made possible with funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. Check out the related articles at the bottom of the page.

    In 2019 due to rapid population growth and urbanization, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from 2016 levels to 3.40 billion tonnes in 2050.

    However times have changed and people have found amazing new ways to sustain the life we live and it may even change the future of humanity.

    Plastic

    Plastic pollution is a massive concern, polluting our oceans and harming wildlife. However major influencers like YouTuber Jeffree Star and other celebrities have become aware of the situation and are committed to making a difference. Star has released a metal straw that is reusable and eco friendly (compared to plastic straws, which can’t be re-used).

    Heating

    By using the heating system in our home, we increase the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. Most people have central heating systems in their homes and use them throughout the day. Everyone can reduce their use of their heating by wrapping up warm and putting on layers of clothing.

    Transport

    In 2019 it is calculated that over 79 million cars were sold. Though many people have cars, they require a great deal of carbon in production as well as for driving. More and more people are innovating in active transit, like cycling and walking. Cars are most helpful in situations where people have to travel long distances. Here’s a handy list of cycle routes in Ebbw Vale from RouteYou.com.

    Materialism

    Times have changed and, according to research, experiences result in longer lasting happiness for people as opposed to materialistic things that usually have limited meaning. Next time you want to show someone how much they mean to you, give them your time, and an experience like no other- one that neither of you will ever forget. Materialistic things are usually thrown away and forgotten about, which wastes away a small but meaningful part of our world. Here’s Going Zero Waste’s list of 50 experience gift ideas of varying costs from coffee to a holiday.

    Food

    Finally, by using leftover food from the fridge and freezer people can become sustainable. By keeping track of what they buy and throw away, you can waste much less food. There is also evidence that Best Before dates are often misleading and lead to people throwing away food too early. Check out some of these recipes from Love Food Hate Waste using leftover food.


    Overall the main idea of sustainability is to focus on the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In short we need to make small changes in the way we live so that future generations don’t make the same mistake.

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  3. Using Air To Heat the EVI

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    Darllen yr erthygl yn Gymraeg

    In an age where saving money and being aware of your carbon footprint is more important than ever, Ebbw Vale Institute has been through it’s very own energy efficient makeover.

    We’ve already told you about changing all the lighting in this historic building to LED lights after receiving funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. In this article we’ll tell you about the changes made to improve draught exclusion and the heating source.

    EVI is a Grade II listed building ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue dating back to 1849. We provide a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. A variety of third sector organisations have settled into EVI and we welcome over 5,000 people a month.

    Banishing the drafts

    New automatic door closers were installed

    It’s inevitable that a big historic public building like this has draughts and this was a big problem when it came to the EVI’s energy bills. Doors were left open all the time so it took more energy to heat up rooms, empty rooms were being heated when it wasn’t needed and tenants were using electric heaters to warm their rooms.

    Following receiving £32,523 through the WCVA funded scheme we decided to use some of this to try banishing the drafts and improving the energy efficiency of the building.

    Automatic door closers were fitted on top of the doors. Automatic controls were fitted on the radiators, meaning they activate only when the room is occupied. This saves energy on unnecessarily heating an empty room.

    “We identified that the kitchen and the recording studio were the areas with the highest energy consumption,” explains Samantha James, Operations Coordinator at the EVI.

    “So we had energy meters installed and we took corrective action to reduce the power requirements in the kitchen.”

    Cold air and warm rooms

    Using cold air to dry hands saves energy

    The hand driers in the toilets were replaced with eco-driers, which use cold air rather than warm air. This should reduce energy consumption and reduce the use of hand towels.

    “Many of our tenants and hirers had been using electrical heaters to warm cold areas of the building. We’ve now installed energy efficient wall heaters which ensure safety and efficiency.” adds Samantha.

    “The heaters are on 10 minute timers and are invaluable when it comes to eradicating cold spots.”

    Using air to heat

    ProMo-Cymru took over the running of the historic building over ten years ago, saving it from demolition. The building went through a huge regeneration and energy efficiency was top priority back then too. Two state of the art air heat pumps were installed.

    The 40kW air source heat pumps were installed at the rear of the building and provided low-grade heat. These would work with the original cast iron radiators as well as installing SmartRads to keep the building warm. A gas boiler was also installed to supplement the heat pumps in extremely cold weather.

    Using air to heat the historic building saves money and energy

    Problems and solutions

    We carried out an inspection of the heat pumps when we were looking at making further energy efficiency changes and found that one was not operating. The pumps had been running at significantly different times on the compressors. There was a blocked condensate pipe with fluid leaking and the piping was too small and poorly insulated. The pumps were also operating at 50 degrees, which is expensive to run. It made up 41% of the EVI’s energy consumption.

    But we didn’t have the funds to fix these issues and repair the heat pumps, resulting in having to use the back up gas boiler in the winter. This caused a spike in energy usage, while the inefficient heat pumps were still running and increasing consumption further.

    “The funding received through the Landfill Disposal Tax Community Scheme came to the EVI’s rescue and allowed the repairs to go ahead,” says a relieved Samantha.

    “The EVI is once again being heated primarily through the energy efficient heat pumps.”


    Check out our other article looking at the changes made to the lighting at the EVI to help cut costs and become more energy efficient.

    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.


    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.

Foundation Funders:

National Lottery Community Fund Logo
Welsh Government Logo

Current Funders:

Lloyds Bank Foundation Logo
Landfills Tax Scheme Logo
WCVA Logo
Blaenau Gwent County Council Logo
UK Gov Wales