Move water with a Ram Pump – with guest Mike Cahn

My guest today is Mike Cahn, who along with Suzie Cahn owns Carraig Dulra farm – a hill-side four acre smallholding  in Co Wicklow that provides education about permaculure and sustainable living.

When they bought the property over 10 years ago, one of the challenges of Carraig Dulra was that it was not on the mains water supply. Instead Mike and Suzie were given water use rights to a stream below the property.

To solve the challenge of getting water up the hill to be used on the property, Mike installed a hydraulic ram pump. Mike is full of enthusiasm for this system. Like solar power, it doesn’t need mains electricity. Instead the pump is powered by the water flow itself. In addition, the hydraulic ram pump has some unique sustainability features that, for Mike, make it a more sustainable choice than solar.

Join me as I ask Mike how how it works, and what he loves about this system.

To listen to this programme about HYDRAULIC RAM PUMPS please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=9f8c5a3e-b63f-47c4-b4b4-4aa02b4974d2

(If you want to listen to this show and the link is not working – please let me know! We endeavour to re-air our older popular shows on request.)

For more information –

  • Carraig Dulra website – www.dulra.org
  • On facebook – Carraig Dulra

This show was recorded in early June 2017 and originally broadcast on the 3rd August 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Mike Cahn holding a fitting from a hydraulic ram pump

Fittings for the ram pump

Close up of the valve system

 

Advertisements

Fostering Energy Resilience in Blueskin Bay – with Scott Willis

Since it was formed in 2008, the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) has had its share of successes as well as its challenges. Back in 2013, Scott Willis from the group came on the show to talk about their exciting proposal to build three wind turbines to generate energy in the community of Blueskin Bay, just north of Dunedin. Unfortunately, despite community support, the turbine proposal has also faced some local opposition leading to a reduction in the number of planned turbines being proposed.

But BRCT is as resilient as its name suggests, and provides many other positive benefits to the local community (and Dunedin) such as Home Performance Assessments, the ClimateSafeHouse project, Community Energy Advice, bulk firewood and insulation, and Climate Change planning.

In this show, recorded on 3rd April 2017, I talk to Scott Willis about positive developments for BRCT, setbacks, the big picture of community based energy resilience – and what keeps Scott motivated over the long term.

To listen to this programme about COMMUNITY ENERGY RESILIENCE please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=a9a0ad0b-edcd-4133-aa92-6beed95bb4b3

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

This show was originally broadcast on the 13th April 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Scott Willis, Project Manager at Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust (BRCT) in Waitati, Dunedin, New Zealand

Early mock up of the proposed wind development on Porteous Hill. Currently for one turbine.

Preparing the wind site for geotech assessment

Services that BRCT provide include firewood delivery to the Blueskin Community.

BRCT also provides advice on energy efficient homes. Here are most of the Home Performance Assessment team

 

 

 

 

 

 

Permaculture Forest Farming – with Philip Allen

Philip Allen has a forest farm in Northern Ireland in gentle rolling hills south of Belfast called Lagan Valley Permaculture. As well as providing sustainably produced timber primarily for firewood, Philip also applies his skills and principles as a permaculturalist. For example, he has a few goats to provide a variety of functions to aid in the maintenance of the forest as well as the processing of the timber. Philip selectively harvests his timber to reduce soil erosion. And he uses his permaculture skills for social good both on his forestry block and in the city of Belfast.

On this show, recorded on the 29th January 2017 I talked to Philip Allen, PERMACULTURE FOREST FARMER about his permaculture practices, as well as his optimism for a sustainable future.

To listen to this programme about Permaculture Forest Farming please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=6f946940-686a-4ecf-bf7b-19417e3499e7

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

This show was originally broadcast on the 23rd February 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Philip Allen sitting in his home by his woodburner.

Philip’s goats usefully clear land and debark cut wood.

Philip clears narrow strips of land, collecting the wood at the bottom. These are then planted into with new forest species.

Philip leads a tour of a community garden in Belfast that he and others set up at An Droichead. Here he is talking about no-dig gardening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campaigning for Renewable Energy in Northern Ireland – with Declan Allison

While I am staying in Northern Ireland, I’m keen to profile as many of the key environmental and sustainability groups here as I can. When I assisted with the Feed the 5000 event in Belfast, I found out that FoE NI was one of the organisers. And when I checked out on the internet what is happening here in Northern Ireland with regard to protecting the country from environmentally damaging energy extraction, FoE NI again came back as a major player, a group that is assisting communities to defend themselves against hydraulic fracturing for gas (fracking).

FoE NI is an active grassroots group campaigning on a wide range of issues from transport, to creating wildflower meadows, to campaigning for more renewable energy generation. It is also part of an international organisation that is based in around 70 countries. In preparing for this show, I’ve discovered that there is also a Friends of the Earth New Zealand. Unfortunately it does not have an active website.

For this show, recorded on the 28th October 2016, I met with Declan Allison, Campaigner, with FoE NI to ask him about energy generation and use in Northern Ireland. In this show I find out about the potential for renewable generation in Northern Ireland, as well as what FoE NI are doing to help Northern Ireland to transition to a 100% renewable energy province.

To listen to this programme about Campaignging for Renewable Energy Generation in Northern Ireland please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=789b02ae-b621-46ca-b802-41c9eb5bcdc9

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 17th November 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Declan Allison, Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland.

Declan Allison, Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland.

Installing PV electricity yourself – with Mac MacDonald

Solar electricity or more accurately photovoltaics (or PV for short) is gaining in popularity at the domestic level as prices continue to drop due to the increase in production by China.

PV is the method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. You can read more about the technology behind PV on various sites including Wikipedia – where I got this definition!

as at 2015, it is now more economical to install PV to produce the electricity needed to heat your hot water that it is to install evacuated tubes for solar hot water. More importantly there are many environmental benefits of installing PV, both for our own use and also to supplement the grid supply with energy from a renewable resource.

In a previous show on 8th August 2013 – with Chris Freear, we talked about the pros and cons of getting PV installed for electricity generation at your home.

In today’s show, I will be chatting with Mac McDonald about why and how he installed PV himself to supply hot water for his household. And how, with a bit of practical know-how, we can do the same!

Mac is a builder, owner of Mac ??? He lives on the Otago Peninsula.

To listen to this programme about Installing PV Electricity Yourself please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=49183d99-ba0b-42bc-a67a-c73424f358d3

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  4th June 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Mac MacDonald in the Otago Access Radio studio

Mac MacDonald in the Otago Access Radio studio

Workplace Energy Initiatives – with Neville Auton

Energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation are areas where we can make significant improvements to most workplaces, that also generally bring financial benefits too – making them much easier to sell to the decision makers at our workplaces.

The Otago Polytechnic is not an organization that needs to be convinced. This tertiary educational institution has been a leader and early adopter of sustainability initiatives in the workplace and has embedded sustainable best practice into its operations as well as the education that its students get.

In this programme, I chat with Neville Auton, Energy Consultant, at the Otago Polytechnic, about some of the energy efficiency initiatives that are being progressed at the Otago Polytechnic.

To listen to this programme about Workplace Energy Initiatives please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=ba7b0e47-ba24-4358-94e2-1aad75e9feb9

For more information –

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  16th July 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard PhD, Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.

Home energy assessments – with Peter and Alex

During winter, here in Dunedin, we can be sure its going to be chilly, so it is always a very good time to look over your home and make any changes you can afford to achieve a home that is warm and cosy, draught free and without damp!

What actions should we be prioritising? Should we be looking at heating systems, or insulation? Is our insulation as good as it could be. What can we do to make a drafty home less drafty!

The good news is that there is professional independent advice is at hand! There are trained household energy auditors here in Dunedin who are assisting people with advice on how they can improve the energy efficiency and warmth of their homes.

On this programme I spoke with Peter McDonald and Alex King who are both accredited Household Energy Auditors, trained at Level 2 Certification for Home Assessment provided through the Community Energy Network which is a nationwide body. Now through Transition Valley 473, The NEV Community Development Project and the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust, they are looking to do home performance assessments in the Dunedin area.

We talk about the service they provide as well as gaining some very useful tips on what you can do to achieve a warmer home.

To listen to this programme about Household Energy Assessments please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=f161a130-49ce-4921-82bb-4c19c780c6a7

To find out more about

  •  Transition Valley 473’s household energy assessments – contact Peter on peterd0n@clear.net.nz or Alex on alex@king.net.nz

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  23rd April 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.