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Gloucester takes green counsel from Mira


If there is an impression that some councils are slow in reacting and getting to speed with some modern technologies: the accusation cannot be levelled at Gloucestershire County Council. Its Climate Change Champion Network is really getting to grips with the complex issues of reducing the council’s carbon footprint. The programme includes awareness training, encouraging behaviour change amongst colleagues, questioning the carbon credentials of suppliers amongst many other initiatives, such as dimming and part-night lighting street lights and the introduction of LED traffic lights.

To help in this mammoth task, the ‘eco talents’ of Mira Showers’ Christian Wagner’s knowledge was recently exploited. Using the extensive knowledge gained through 38 years managing training and development at Mira – combined with that from ‘self-building’ his own SAP A designed home and updating his current one to dramatically reduce running costs – Christian has delivered the council with a thought-provoking, interactive and dynamic set of materials entitled Are You Eco Solvent? The materials demonstrate the nature and benefits of incorporating sustainable and efficient materials and systems into the domestic environment.

These range from basic draught exclusion and dimmable low energy bulbs – costing only a few pounds – though to Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) and solar-heated DHW systems. Water saving is achieved by using the Mira Eco head, and harvested rainwater for WC flushing. A programmable two zone central heating thermostat is combined with radio controlled radiator valves and a condensing system boiler with climatic compensation to accurately and comfortably control the heating.

Cooking is done with an electric induction hob, running at an efficiency of around 84% compared with 40% for gas, and without the dangerous products of combustion. The increased use of the latest generation of LED lighting has reduced even further the power consumption of even low energy lighting. And the best of all, the house does not look like a test laboratory!

Christian commented on Are You Eco Solvent?, saying: “There is much talk about eco, but insufficient action. From conversations with GCC and others, it seems that this is not for a lack of enthusiasm but a want of practical knowledge on what can be achieved in the home”.

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