A Good Life 





Proud Co-Founder of Transition Town High Wycombe


Proud Member of the Low Carbon Chilterns Cooperative



Proud owner & retrofitter of Superhome 59

Superhome 59


This website proud host of the High Wycombe Local Food Guide

Local Food

Switching Off, Tuning Out & Insulating

Turn Off, Turn Down

Welcome to the wonderful world of "OFF". Here is another good word: "Down". Oooh, another great word: "less". What is it with this life? Why are we programmed to expect, and demand, more and more of everything? What ever happened to the concept of 'less is more'? A generation of adults and children in the wealthy, industrialised, nations, have never learnt to go without. Office buildings are built in which the occupants do not know where the light switch is. We grow up expecting everything to be on all the time. It is part of a culture of instant gratification.


Here at Post-Carbon Living we are calling time on "on". It is time for "off". Powerdown, switch off, drop out, tune off, whatever. Find the power switch and turn it off. Find the thermostat and turn it down. Welcome to peace, quiet & Sheep's Wool Insulation. Read on...



Your Next Ten Steps

  • Your To Do ListOrganise
  • Powerdown
  • Recycle
  • Substitute
  • Stay
  • Generate
  • Grow
  • Invest
  • Make
  • Community


The Coming New Reality

Find the Off SwitchInstant gratification is a privilege known to an elite of the global population. In many places of the world where their Carbon Footprint is too low to measure, the concept of an 'on' switch is quite alien. They would love to have something to switch 'on'! But this isn't about them. If the rest of us had THEIR problems, well, you wouldn't be reading this web site. The concept of 'Powerdown' is one for the affluent Nations of the Planet.


The word "Powerdown" is borrowed from Richard Heinberg's book of the same name (also shown on this page). Whether it is by Government intervention, or the end of oil, we will all be forced to switch off sometime. However, a lot of this 'off' is easy. It is probably more easy than most people realise. It is not until you do without that you realise how little of the stuff, you leave on, is really adding anything to your life. Just try it.


The people who have often tried this are the people who have actually started doing something else. Post-Carbon Living lists this as one of the first things to do but, oddly, it is often one of the last in reality. What happens, when you make a dramatic change to your pattern of energy consumption, is that you become conscious of what you use. When you become conscious you are aware that you can get rid of the unnecessary usage. It becomes a habit.


Will have to live in a tent with no power at all? No. Well, we hope not. What we try and explain to people is that the earlier we are ready for a low-energy and low-carbon-life the easier it will be to transition to a scenario where we only use, say, 20% of the power we do now. The cost of doing nothing and continuing with "Business as Normal" is that we will ignore the problem until it could be too late to do anything about it. Then you will be living with 0%.


So this is all about reduction. What else will help you reduce your energy usage? Reduction in waste. Learn to insulate. It is estimated that the UK Government could pay several Billion GBP to have every home in the country fitted with Cavity Wall Insulation. This would make a major dent over-night in the UK Carbon Footprint.


Efficiency works. To learn more about efficiency visit our section on "Substitute" for guidance on the things that everyone can do in our own homes.


  • Buy an Electrisave to monitor your Electricity usage
  • Switch every appliance OFF "Standby" when not in use - if it helps buy a "Bye Bye Standby" kit
  • Make it your personal mission to switch TEN things OFF (or down if it is Air Conditioning or Heating) every day
    • If it isn't hurting it isn't working.
  • Once you can do this ten times, try and make it fifteen or twenty times....
  • Check out your Wall and Loft Insulation. If there isn't any - get some. If there is then it probably isn't enough.


Low Carbon Man

  • I'll miss the hum of stuff running for no apparent reason. It means I can hear those voices in my head.

  • Enough is enough. You don't need it so kill it.

References Notes