Julia Stephenson: Green Goddess


I am made envious by recent pictures of David Cameron's partially dismantled house, which is being greened up. He and I share the same architect - a tenuous link with the bastions of power which once gave me a frisson of excitement. But not any more. I see Cameron speeding ahead in his eco-building improvements while I lag behind waiting for the shared party wall agreements I must have before we can start work.

Of course, there are more effective eco-improvements to be done than all the flash stuff such as wind turbines and solar panels. It's important to remember that insulation, installing a water meter (a great incentive to cut down on water usage), switching off lights and transferring to an energy supplier that sources its energy from renewable sources (for example www.ecotricity.com) is just as important.

There is a danger that people start thinking that being green is an expensive add-on rather than an unglamorous but essential reduction of what we consume.

Anyway, people say I should be in no great rush to get the builders in but the trouble is, I already have.

My squeeze, who is doing the renovations, is already fairly much in situ, and leaving a trail of beer bottles, ravaged tabloids, packets of crisps, grubby cups half full of old tea, fantasy football leaflets and piles of old coupons of which when you collect 10 you get some boring David Attenborough DVDs. (I know these will never be sent off but I am forbidden from throwing them away.)

He hoped we could start in the summer but at this rate it will be winter before we begin. Thank goodness he is hardy - funds won't stretch to any kind of tarpaulin, or "tin hat", as it is called in building jargon, so he'll have to make do with a woolly hat covered in clingfilm.

As I may not live to see a return from my eco-improvements (an optimistic five years but I'll be gone long before that if I keep having this sort of aggro), I'm thinking of becoming a wind guerrilla and just bunging a wind turbine up anyway. I mean, who would notice?

Domestic wind turbines are smaller than the average satellite dish and are so beautifully designed these days that they're barely noticeable. They are very quiet, too, making far less sound than the average snoring man-squeeze.

According to eco-architect and wind guerrilla Bill Dunstone, who has done just that, they are no harder to assemble than an IKEA table.

I don't know anyone who has actually managed to assemble anything from IKEA but my squeeze reckons he's up for the challenge.

But if you're shopping in the Peter Jones haberdashery department and you see a turbine precariously dangling off the next door roof and a woman being dragged into a Black Maria in handcuffs, you'll know I've been shopped.


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