Science Cafe: Feilden Clegg

'Exceeding expectations' is one of those new phrases. The architect from Feilden Clegg exceeded my expectations in his Science Cafe talk. He spoke with great intelligence, wit and depth. Here are the points that particularly interested me:
  • Heat Recovery Ventilation. I intend to install this in my house. My question was, 'what if there's a power cut in the night, will everyone asphyxiate?!!'. The feeling was that there'd be enough air in the house for everyone to survive, and then they could simply open a window when they awoke.
  • On-site electricity generation. In the Code for Sustainable Homes, there is a bias towards local generation. I'm disappointed in this. It may be more efficient to have a huge distant off-shore wind farm than numerous local turbines. Government should restrict itself to increasing the cost of CO2 pollution through CO2 TaxBack, and leave the detailed choices about generation to the market.
  • Grey water recycling. The speaker, an architect, said he used to be skeptical of grey water recycling as he hadn't yet seen it done properly. What changed his mind was the EcoPlay system. This costs about £1,500 and replaces the cistern in the downstairs loo. It fills up with water from the shower / bath upstairs, and then uses it to flush the loo. If the grey water hasn't been used after a certain period, it is discarded to avoid the water going bad.
  • Water softerners. I'm about to install a water softener in my house, and I wanted to know whether it was a good idea on environmental grounds. The speaker said he didn't know definitively, but he was installing one in his house for practical reasons.

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