Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Energy, Events | Tags: skillsharing, solar, workshops | No Comments »
Guest blog by, Rachael Anne Roberts, workshop participant and volunteer at Grow Heathrow
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Grow Heathrow, a place of beautiful greenery and a worthy cause to fight for, not to mention to friendly residents who happen to have immense cooking skills! And if that all wasn’t reason enough, there was a certain workshop drawing me to the site: Learning How to Build Your Own Solar Panel, run by Demand Energy Equality.
I was unsure what to expect from the workshop. Before visiting the Grow Heathrow website and seeing the list of workshops, I was unaware that it was even something that could be done by hand.
The workshop was put on by a lovely lady called Emily Donavan from Demand Energy Equality. She taught us the science behind how solar panels work as well as how to actually build them, a process that I was soon to learn was a lot simpler than I had expected! Fun science fact that I was reminded of: Power = Voltage x Current!
We were making fairly small, 18 watts solar panels, enough to charge a phone but not quite a house. Which makes it the perfect, simple, and not to mention handy, accessory to any home. The material of the solar cells that we used to build our solar panel was made out of thin silicone and if held too tightly, would crumble in your hands. Cautiously soldering the metal strip over each solar cell to attach the current to each, there were a few cracks and mishaps, but Emily’s patience and light hearted attitude never faltered. And she had expected this and brought plenty of spares!
Next came the gluing the solar cells to the glass and placing another glass panel over the top of it, using more silicone glue to seal around it, keeping the glass panels in place together. Making a solar panel was so much fun, but requires a steady, gentle hand. I began to feel guilty of the amount of solar cells that was being wasted when cracked. However after a few breakages, we started to get into the rhythm of solder, solder, glue, glue and the whole process of making a solar panel became far less complicated than I had previously imagined.
The whole process took a lot longer than previously expected but we were all having so much fun, it was not an issue, in fact we were al more than happy to stay at Grow Heathrow for longer. Although a fiddly process, making a solar panel by hand is rewarding not just in the sense of a unique achievement, but also that you now have free, renewable energy which you were able to achieve by yourself – saving more money and is even better for the environment!
My home made solar panel turned out a lot better than I had expected. I decided to donate it to Grow Heathrow, since I figured that they may make a better use out it then I will. I had such an amazing weekend at Grow Heathrow that I have been to visit again since the solar panel workshop and will most definitely be going again soon. After all, I need to see how my home made solar panel has been put to such a good use!
Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Cool Projects, Energy, Events, Residents | No Comments »
Come limber up for resistance
in the Strawbale house
on Saturday 9th
Jana teaches Ashtanga Vinyasa, a fast pace yoga practice where the aim is to move fluidly from one posture to the next.
Justin’s style is more about endurance, in holding postures for longer a sense of alignment is created.
please pass on the message
see you there
Another free class brought to you by Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson UB7 0JH
All abilities and children welcome.
Posted: June 17th, 2014 | Author: Lizzie | Filed under: Action, Energy, Events | Tags: activism, climate change, direct action, fracking, no dash for gas, peak oil | No Comments »
Dates for your diary: get involved to stop fracking in the UK
19 – 20 July, Nottingham: Build the site!
Making radical spaces happen from the ground up is a big job, but it needn’t be a mystery. So we are dedicating part of this gathering to site training! There will be something for everyone, with all levels of knowledge and mobility.
More details at nodashforgas.org.uk, @nodashforgas and on Facebook
14-20 August, Location TBA: Action camp
Take on the frackers! The action camp will be at a fracking site and to keep the industry in suspense, the exact location and travel information will be revealed near the time. Hunt the Facebook event page for clues as they are revealed…
*Support the community fightback
*Get skilled up and take direct action
*Build the world you want to see
- This year the target is fracking – a form of ‘extreme energy’ that threatens our human rights to a safe climate, clean water and a healthy local environment.
- New fracking sites are being opened across the country every month. Up to 60% of England is under threat
- Reclaim the Power will support a community on the frontline fighting fracking and join the dots between climate, social and economic justice
- Alternatives exist here and now – we could create a million climate jobs, reduce energy demand and convert to community and publicly owned renewables
- We need to reclaim OUR power. The government wants to drill under our homes, keep us hooked on fossil fuels and keep our energy in private, profiteering hands.
- Meanwhile, climate change is getting worse, fuel poverty is killing people and economic and social crises are hitting us harder every day
- We can stop this. We can stop fracking and build a democratic and clean energy system that works for us. The UK has a long history of civil disobedience, from the suffragettes to the disability rights movements.
- We’ll share skills, meet friends, participate in workshops and take mass civil disobedience.
Get involved and get inspired – let’s take on the frackers and win!
Action camp on Facebook
We CAN stop fracking in the UK!
Posted: May 26th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Education, Energy, Residents | Tags: com.cafe, community, food, Residents, sustainability, wild food | No Comments »
Yet another amazing day of making homemade smoothies on the bicycle powered blender with Transition Heathrow the Com.Cafe!
Com.Cafe come to Grow Heathrow for seed sewing Thursday 29th May
Posted: September 1st, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Energy | Tags: activism, balcome, climate change, direct action, fracking, protest | No Comments »
28 Days Later: Please spread far and wide
A Rolling Blockade of the Balcombe fracking site, 1st September – 28th September
Fracking company Cuadrilla’s governmental licence to drill in Balcombe ends on September 28th. The government may be allowing them to drill but they have no social licence from the people of Balcombe to frack their land and threaten their water supply. Neither do they have any mandate to begin an entire wave of fracking across the country. The vast majority of people in the UK want cleaner, greener energy.
After the upsurge of climate activism at Reclaim the Power in August, let’s make these last 28 days count. Let’s halt their work at Balcombe, and also send a strong message to those wanting to frack elsewhere.
A blockade has been on-going at the drilling site, but trucks have still been getting through. Now it’s time to up the ante.
We invite groups from around the country to come and play a part in a 28 day rolling blockade.
Think creatively and act responsibly. Pick a weekday before September 28, gather friends and useful kit get yourselves to Balcombe.
Fracking is stoppable, another world is possible.
Posted: May 25th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Energy, Events | Tags: activism, climate camp, climate change, direct action, energy, no dash for gas, resistance, sustainability | No Comments »
Is Climate Camp back?
Big decisions are being made now about how we’re going to power the UK. The government’s policy of increasing our reliance on gas is pushing millions into fuel poverty. This – coupled with ruthless cuts to essential services – leaves many with an impossible choice between heating and eating. And the same policy guarantees that we’ll miss even our modest carbon reduction targets. Both the financial and the climate crises are related to the pursuit of profit above all else, in the interests of the few and at the expense of the many.
We need a win. And one win we need is a secure future for generations to come, where profits don’t trump the public interest and where we have safe, clean energy to meet our needs.
Be part of creating something BIG this summer, get involved now and Reclaim The Power.
We can fight back, as the student, trade union, women’s, disabled rights and anti-cuts movements have shown us. There has never been a more critical time to take action. The solutions are there to be grasped.
21 people went up two chimneys but 64,000 came down
Last October, 21 environmental activists shut down EDF’s West Burton power station for a week in protest at the government’s Dash for Gas. West Burton is the first of up to 40 new gas fired power stations being planned. With your help, including a solidarity petition signed by 64,000 people – they fought off EDF’s attempt to sue them for £5 million.
This summer, inspired by their action, we are building a wide coalition of groups and individuals who will be coming together to Reclaim the Power. We’ll plan together. We’ll put forward solutions. We’ll cross the border from anger to action. It was people power that stopped new coal and stalled plans for a third runway at Heathrow, that made bankers’ greed and tax avoidance toxic and that is now fighting austerity attacks on workers, women, pensioners and the disabled. Together, we will stop the dash for gas.
Want to be part of creating Reclaim The Power? Wondering where we’ll be, how you can get there or what you need to bring? More info to come soon, keep up to date at:
Posted: May 13th, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Energy, Gardening Club | Tags: food, garden, growing, organic, permaculture | No Comments »
3 Sisters Companion Planting Skill Share Sunday 18th May!
The Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash – are 3 great plants that grow and thrive together. Corn provides a natural pole for bean vines to climb. The beans take nitrogen to the corns roots, improving the fertility of the plot by providing nitrogen for the following years corn. Bean vines also help stabilize the corn plants against the wind. Shallow-rooted squash vines become a living mulch, shading emerging weeds and preventing soil moisture from evaporating, improving the overall crops chances of survival in dry summers. Spiny squash plants also help discourage predators from approaching the corn and beans.
The large amount of crop residue from this planting combination can be incorporated back into the soil at the end of the season to build up the organic matter and improve its structure.Corn, beans and squash also complement each other nutritionally. Corn provides carbohydrates, the beans are rich in protein and squash yields both vitamins from the fruit and healthful, delicious oil from the seeds.
Last year the 3 sisters shared an vibrant and full bed in the front meadow. This year, to give them more space, we’re going to be venturing to the newly mulched sunny plot in the back.
Next Sunday 19th May every one is welcome to come and join in the preparing of the beds and planting of the vegetables. Growing Sundays will be starting at the usual time of 2pm and ending at dusk, but feel free to drop in whenever you like. I’m not an expert on this, in fact I’ve never done it before, so hopefully every one can share what they know and work on it together and we’ll all come away knowing a little bit more.
If you have any questions please give us a call on 07890751568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: April 18th, 2013 | Author: Holly | Filed under: Cool Projects, Education, Energy, Events | Tags: climate change, energy, peak oil, resistance, sustainability | No Comments »
The Energy Group at Grow Heathrow is kicking of a series of Sustainable Technology training days with a workshop on how to build your own generator from scratch – Saturday 27th April at 11am – 6pm
The small Wind Turbine that was kindly donated by one of our supporters isn’t quite up to scratch for our battery bank. We need to make some new windings, so what better opportunity to share our knowledge than by inviting people to come and share in the experience.
We’ll be going through winding our own coils with ceramic coated wire, setting the magnets in resin and then configuring the coils to produce energy as the magnets pass.
The workshop will be accompanied by a delicious lunch. Donations gratefully accepted where possible. Check out our Facebook event or email us at email@example.com for more information.
Come on down to Grow Heathrow to get skilled up for the Self Empowered Energy Revolution!
Posted: February 1st, 2013 | Author: Sam | Filed under: Action, Energy | Tags: activism, direct action, energy, resistance | No Comments »
A national weekend of fuel bill assemblies and action will be taking place from Friday 15th – Monday 18th February.
Find out what’s already planned and get organising in your own area. There will be a mass fuel bill assembly at the Department of Energy and Climate Change
Join and share the Facebook event
Call out for Stop the Great Fuel Robbery below.
Reblogged with love from fuelpovertyaction.org.uk
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 13th, 2013 | Author: Ian | Filed under: Cool Projects, Energy | Tags: energy, skills, sustainability | No Comments »
For the first part of this article, see How we built our wind turbine – Part 1.
So we had ourselves a wind turbine, but no place for it to go. What’s more, for the turbine to cope with the wind and rain it would be subject to, it would need a good coat of protective paint. Over the next few weeks, the finishing touches were put to every part of our turbine – de-assembling, painting, sanding, painting again, checking and then re-assembling.
The turbine head was painted with Hammerite for maximum durability. The rotor disks were taken apart and re-assembled several times, making slight adjustments each time to make sure the disks were parallel and spinning with as small a gap as possible between them. When we were finally satisfied with the assembly, the blades were attached and the bolts were secured in place with a generous application of threadlock. The turbine blades were then painted, each one given several thin coats of gloss paint, to make sure the final coat was as smooth and even as possible.
To connect the turbine to our existing power system, we had to run armoured cable from the base of the scaffolding tower that we would be mounting the turbine on through the greenhouses to where our batteries were stored in the living space. The turbine would be generating 3-phase electricity, so the supply would have to be passed through a bridge rectifier to convert it to 24V DC power. A charge controller connected to a 1000 Watt heater acting as a dump load ensured that the batteries wouldn’t be overcharged on windy days. To make the power system as accessible as possible, a new display board was created to show how everything was wired up, which included an ammeter connected to the wind turbine supply to show how much power it was generating at any given moment.
With all these tasks to complete as well as the other commitments we had going on, it wasn’t until after the Christmas and New Year break that we were able to sort out a weekend for the final installation of the turbine. The last few details were seen to – designing and building a custom hinge to allow us to raise the turbine into position on the pole that ran through the middle of our scaffolding tower, cutting steel cable to the right length for our guy lines, balancing the turbine blades, and lifting everything up onto the tower platform. And so it was that a few hardy souls braved the cold, crisp January weather to stand on a platform high above the Grow Heathrow greenhouses to raise our turbine into its final position.
Success! The turbine was up! And just in the nick of time, too. As the evening shadows lengthened that Sunday, the first visitors arrived to begin a week long arts residency at Grow Heathrow. As excited as we all were to have our turbine finally up, we had to wait a couple more days for the wind to pick up enough for it to start spinning, at which point we could be sure that it was all working according to plan. And then the following weekend a howling storm blew in from the North Sea, and our turbine was given a thorough workout that proved it could handle strong winds without a hitch.
In the year since the Grow Heathrow turbine was erected, it’s harnessed the energy from the wind to provide us with much-needed power, especially during the winter and on grey, overcast days when there’s not much sun around. The turbine has become one of the most prominent features of the site, being easily visible from the road outside, and it’s something we always look forward to showing off to visitors whenever we give tours of the site.
We’re now thinking about how we can add another turbine, to give us even more energy. Now that we’ve done one, building another should be much more straightforward. And we’re keen to share what we’ve learned – if you know a community-based project that would like to build a turbine of their own, please contact us and we’ll do what we can to help.