A Hamburg home is powered by its algae
NEXT weekend I can indulge one of my secret passions, checking out the neighbours' houses. Bristol is a fantastic city for its art trails and open doors events. Where most cities might have a single arts trail annually, every community in Bristol has its own event throughout the year. Plus there is Open Doors Day for architecture, the Get Growing Trail for vegetable growers, and even Bristol Green Doors, this weekend, for checking out your neighbours' insulation and solar panels.
Now in its third year, Bristol Green Doors has 32 homes opening this weekend at locations right across the city, 21 of which are brand new to the trail this year. You can meet and talk to your neighbours who have made their homes energy smart, more comfortable and cheaper to heat.
With a typical three-bed semi costing around £800 to keep warm, their money saving tips could save you a packet.
Bristol Green Doors homes are open from noon until 6pm this Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September. Check out their website (www.bristolgreendoors.org) for the trail map showing all the locations.
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These Bristol homeowners may be leading the way, but recent research found that the UK public generally wants to see a reduction in polluting fossil fuels and an increase in renewables.
For most of us at home that means solar panels on the roof.
Bristol Solar City is a group of local organisations supporting the goal of Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson, who wants to see Bristol become the UK's solar capital.
They are working to put many more solar panels on city roofs, with an ambitious target of installing 1GW of solar PV in Bristol by 2020.
That would produce more than enough electricity each year for all the homes in Bristol!
As energy prices continue to rise, generating our own clean green energy would provide energy security and economic stability for our city and provide a lasting legacy for generations of Bristolians to come.
One thing for sure, is that in the future you will see amazing new green innovations at future Bristol Green Doors weekends.
A building in Hamburg is already generating heat and electricity from algae on its outside walls.
The apartment block has two south facing walls covered in bioreactors – clear algae farm containers growing in the sunlight before being used in a biomass plant to produce electricity.
While in Norway, a transparent solar spray has been developed.
So in the future you may just spray it onto your ordinary windows, and before you know it you'll be converting sun rays into free electricity as part of Bristol Solar City.
Paul Rainger is director of Bristol's BIG Green Week Festival in June.