Snow time like the present (to look at your roof)

We’ve had snow over most of the UK this week, and media and social-media have been saturated with it. So get out in it and take some pretty pictures, and whilst you are at it, take a look at your roof.

Why? To see how much snow is on it! Why? Because it will give you a good guide to how much heat is escaping through your roof, and thus how much money you are wasting.

Given that it’s only just below freezing at the moment, it doesn’t take much to melt snow; you may notice that some of the man-hole covers in your street are snow-free: that’s due to the energy we flush down the drain when we bathe or otherwise use hot-water. A similar thing may be happening on your roof.

A well insulated loft or roof will have a nice coating of snow that will last all day, a poorly insulated roof may have no snow at all and look wet. Here’s some examples from my walk about today:

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The front roof on the centre house is completely snow-free, and very wet looking: in comparison the roofs on either side are nicely coated in snow. There’s either some major tropical heating going on up there (which is incidentally how the police often spot cannabis farms!), or there’s zero insulation in this loft. The ironic thing is that the windows look like decent double-glazing, which is relatively expensive, but nearly as much heat escapes through an uninsulated roof as a single-glazed window, and insulating the loft is much cheaper than new windows!

Another example:

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These houses are basically identical; which has the better loft insulation? No prizes for guessing that the right one is either completely unheated, or has some decent insulation; the left one may have some insulation, but escaping heat is rising to the apex and melting the snow. I’d top it up, if that were my place, and make sure the loft-hatch is sealed and insulated.

Finally, my house 🙂

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Mine’s the roof on the right. No slush here! I’ve got about 400mm (1’6″) of fibreglass insulation, and I also insulated under my loft-storage area with polyurethane boarding so it didn’t have less insulation than the rest of the loft. The loft-hatch is also insulated with a couple of layers of foil-backed bubble-wrap, and sealed with draft-excluder tape.

Next door has a loft-extension, which must have been well done, since it’s also thaw free; I see a lot of loft-extensions in Ealing, and very few of them seem to have been well insulated, judging by the amount of melt!

Apologies for following my winter obsession, but properly insulating your loft is one of the cheapest and best value DIY jobs you can do, and you don’t need anyone to come and do a survey with a fancy infra-red camera to see if you need it, just a little bit of snow.

Happy New Year & January Film Showing

Ealing Transition wish you a very happy New Year.

2013 begins on a sobering note as bush fires rage during record temperatures in Australia, and the US National Climate Assessment reveals the profound effect that climate change is already having on the lives of American citizens. The authors of the report have not flinched from naming the culprit: “Global warming is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuels,” they state. The need for practical, local action continues to exercise our minds.

Sunday 27th January 7.30pm: Film Showing: A Farm for the Future

With the above in mind, we have decided to re-show this inspiring film about film maker Rebecca Hosking’s exploration of the challenges faced by modern farming.

A Farm for the Future_cows

With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family’s wildlife-friendly farm in Devon to become the next generation to farm the land. However she is alarmed by how energy-intensive farming is, and realizes that a new way of working may be necessary

With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, she explores ways of farming without high inputs of fossil fuel. In the process, she learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy, low carbon future.

As usual, the film will be shown at St Mary’s Church, St Mary’s Road, Ealing W5 5RH. Entry is free however we will ask for donations to help us cover the cost of screening. As usual a selection of warm beverages and cakes / biscuits will be served after the film so we can discuss what we have seen and its implications for our efforts in Ealing.

Happy Christmas & Edible Ealing Festive Hampers

Thanks to all who attended our festive get-together on Wednesday. All that remains for us in 2012 is to wish you a fantastic Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. We would also like to bring to your attention a seasonal offer from the organizers of our box scheme, Edible Ealing.

Edible Ealing have put together a fantastic Christmas hamper including goodies made and grown locally by Ealing Abundance, W7 Emporium, Celestial Cakes, Bonasera Creations, Antonius of Apulia and Cultivate London.edible ealing

You will also receive all your seasonal organic fruit and veg requirements including sprouts, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, red cabbage, beetroot, lemons, oranges, and some other more unusual offerings.

The hamper will be available to buy at the next box scheme gathering on Friday 21st December (please note we do not deliver, but there are now four different pick-up sites around Ealing).

Details will be emailed to all box scheme subscribers early next week. If you would like to receive an order form on Monday 17 December for orders to be picked up on Friday 21 December please send an email to with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. It is also now possible to pay in advance by BAC.

For more information see or the Edible Ealing Facebook page.

Happy Christmas, see you in 2013!

Ealing Transition Steering Group

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