I live with my family in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh in an old farm house. A few years ago, a strange and ancient lady knocked on our door and told us that when she was a child she was evacuated from Leith to live in the house during the Second World War. One day, there was much excitement when a German fighter aircraft was shot down and crashed in the moors behind the house. What was left of the plane was removed to the barn beside the house and put under armed guard.
Fast forward 70 years and a different type of propeller now whirls above our house. With three 5m blades slicing through the air, our 20kw wind turbine is the latest addition to my plans to create a sustainable self-sufficient home. We started with insulation, draft proofing and a wood burning stove. Two years ago we installed a ground source heat pump. This year we commissioned our wind turbine. Next year we plan to convert our oil fired Aga to electricity and perhaps fit some solar thermal panels for our hot water.
Like my business, the motivation to go green does not exclusively emanate from the moral high ground. At Maximillion, we have for some time embraced the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit. Loosely explained, by supporting a sustainable community and investing in environmental initiatives, there is a commercial payback measured through a strengthened reputation and improved PR, both resulting in increased sales. At home, it feels good to be doing our bit for the environment and I feel we should all be doing more to reduce individual carbon footprints to help combat the consequence of climate change. But each measure that I have invested in has been carefully assessed for its opportunity to save expenditure or generate income. I am proud that we are now a net contributor to the grid and once our Aga is electrified, we will be fossil fuel free. It will not be long, perhaps a single generation, before our entire economy will be electrified, generated by a blend of nuclear and renewables. My home is simply slightly ahead of the curve!
Each generation has its crisis; for the old lady it was a world war. Our crisis is climate change. I thought it fitting that our wind turbine, a symbol of our climate change crisis if you like, should be a metaphor for a crisis seventy years ago. And you’ll see from the photos that we had a lot of fun in the process!
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