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

Finding something better

Substitute for the More Efficient Option

Substitution is a large and rich topic covering a range of gadgets, gizmo's and transition technologies that many may already be familiar with. The icon of this new wave of replacement lifestyle items is the energy saving light bulb ("Compact Fluorescent") but this is but one example. Practically every home in the developed world can adopt such technologies at little cost. Each make a contribution to a low-carbon future.


However there has to be one big caveat to any technology-based solution. All truly sustainable items will need to have been manufactured and transported through their entire Supply Chain without the expenditure of a drop of Fossil Fuel. Sadly the stacks of Energy Saving light bulbs down at your local Hardware store were made in, and shipped from, China. Their embedded carbon will need thinking about. Read on.....




Your Next Ten Steps

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


The Coming New Reality

The days have now passed when making purchase decisions were simple. When Oil and Gas were too cheap to measure, we could churn out vast quantities of consumer products in factories on the other side of the planet before shipping them into our shops. Materials were cheap, manufacturing energy costs were low, and transport cost irrelevant. This was the spirit of Globalisation. The only competitive edge was the cost of labour - so the work went to the cheapest labour markets. These moved further and further away from the primary consumers - from the developed world to the developing world.


These days the Consumer has to make more ethical decisions about the things they buy. Do I really need it? How efficient is it? What is its Carbon Footprint? Everyday more information is coming available for Consumers to make such choices. However we still lack basic information on the 'embedded carbon' in the things we buy to reduce our Carbon Footprint. What is worse for today's ethical consumer, is the very idea that technology isn't the answer, unless we break the dependency on Oil...


Oil furnishes every possible element of life in the developed world that it has become utterly ubiquitous, indispensable and invisible. We take it for granted. Fossil Fuel's finite-resource is required to build every wind turbine, every photo-voltaic panel, every Electrisave and SavaPlug - you name it - it has Oil smeared all over it. It is made of Oil, with the energy of Oil and transported to us with Oil. Until we break that linkage then nothing we buy will ever be truly sustainable.


Hence we do not label these products as being "sustainable technology". A Horse-drawn wooden cart is sustainable technology but it is not the definition of "technology" as many in the West would see it. Therefore we label our low-carbon devices as "transition technologies". They help us move in the right direction but are not long term solutions in themselves. Most solutions proposed in this theatre are "minority technologies" (i.e., they can only practically be exploited by the minority) or Transition Technology. We are still a long way from moving along our understanding of technology towards true solutions.


As Consumers we must act with wisdom with one eye on the future......


Substitution Technology is a big topic, but here is what you need to do:


  • Change your Electricity Supply to a renewable tariff
  • Change EVERY tungsten filament legacy light bulb in your home with an Energy Saving alternative
  • If you can buy and fit a Wood Burner in your home for space and water heating
  • Replace your Car with one the emits less CO2
  • Replace your old boiler with a modern condensing model with over 90% efficiency ("A" rated)


Low Carbon Man

  • Nothing wrong with this. I like it.

  • Turn this world upside down but carry on as normal. Just find a better way of doing things. Easy.

References Notes