Archive for September, 2009

September 16, 2009

Sanford’s in the News: The Guardian article

Sanford featured in The Guardian today in a piece by John Vidal, environment editor. The article suggests Sanford is an example of sustainable living and “a model for using green energy to refurbish estates and build communities”. I’d agree it’s an important example of what can be done with existing buildings, a successful urban retro- eco-refit. The reduction in emissions just from insulating the walls and switching from gas to biomass and solar whooped the arse off the government’s local and national targets.

brand spanking new burner

This is one of the seven solid fuel burners installed at Sanford in place of the gas supply. It’s fed small pellets of hard-compressed waste wood (shavings, chippings, etc, I believe) for the water and central heating for 2 houses. Ultimately reduced the whole streets carbon footprint rather dramatically, though unfortunately the pellets are delivered – tons at a time – in small 5kg unrecyclable plastic bags! The plan was to have all pellets delivered loose and pumped in to each house’s pellet store by a specially modified truck but this still hasn’t happened as far as I know.

sanford chimneys

This is a pic of the flues along Sanford. Each pair of houses shares a burner and pellet store where there were originally outdoor cupboards just outside their main entrance, with a smokeless (well mostly, if the burner is cleaned regularly) shiny chimney.

sanford solar tubing

This is the solar tubing installed on the roof between each pair of houses. Yep, it’s solar tubing, not photovoltaic panels – it heats the water, when there’s enough sun.

September 15, 2009

More Edinburgh housing co-ops

You’d think housing co-ops would’ve been early adopters of social media, it seems plenty of workers’ co-ops and other bigger co-op organisations and institutions are blogging and tweeting away, but most independent housing co-ops hardly have an online presence at all. Some have websites with their basic information and contact details (rarely up-to-date), even a few photos, but since starting this blog I’ve realised that the smaller more independent places are mostly only found by word-of-mouth. Searching online for other places here in Edinburgh, for example, easily turns up info on larger co-ops and housing associations only accessible via EdIndex, which is effectively the council waiting list, but bugger all else.

An online search led me to Ploughshare but their site hadn’t been updated for what looked like about a year, and a month after emailing them I’d had no reply. So I thought sod it, I’ll start a new one!
I asked around, put out a call via a couple of email lists to see if anyone else was up for it and I got some pretty quick response, even someone from Ploughshares got in touch AND they’re looking for new members! I’ve now been to visit, it’s just around the corner from here, still fairly central. They told me about a few other local co-ops but didn’t know their address. One is an all-womens’ place and another, Shindig, is apparently across the road from me!
I also discovered Sprouts, a newly formed group looking to set up a radical housing co-op here in Edinburgh. And I’d already met one of the members a few times without knowing it…at climate camp.

Now just a matter of finding and contacting these other places and encouraging a bit of communication…