Hello, hello! Happy Hump Day! Hope your week is going great! I’m trying to get back into a regular routine to get over the jet lag and catch up on things that happened while I was away. =)
As mentioned Monday, today I’m going to be discussing some items that I noticed (and relate to tiny house living) during my time spent in the UK. First, I spent most of my time in London but was able to get away from the city for a few days to explore other parts of England.
The first topic related to tiny house living is energy consumption. One of the first thing that we all noticed (it was a group of 17 individuals. 15 college students and 2 instructors) was that very few places had air conditioning. And those places that did have AC it wasn’t blowing full force to freeze you to 55- 65 degrees it just made it a bit more pleasant to get out of the heat. Now there could be a few factors that contribute to this. The first could be that even though we did have a few really hot days that were up in the 90’s most of the days it was a pleasant 75 or so. Because of their climate the need for air conditioning isn’t as necessary as places in the South of the US. The climate kind of reminded me of the Pacific Northwest in the US. Second, London (and Europe in general) have deep roots and the architecture is older than the US. Installing AC units into 2,000 year old buildings just isn’t going to work. Most of the buildings are stone – which amazing me because it was all built completely by hand – and drilling holes through that stone for AC duct work and the necessary items would do some serious damage to the integrity of the building.
Other items related to this was that their appliances were not gigantic like what we see (and most people want) in the US. An example is refrigerators with built in ice makers and dishwashers. I noticed that most pubs I visited had a small countertop dishwater (similar to the one I was thinking of getting for me house) instead of the industrial sized ones we’re all so familiar with in commercial settings in the US. They also didn’t have huge ice makers that are a requirement for bars in the US. Ice, in general, isn’t used as much. In my two weeks there, I didn’t see a single fridge the size of what we have here in the US. Refrigerators are all small in size so I would imagine take less electric. I can’t confirm the energy efficiency of the appliance because of the 220 volt electric and not being familiar with the brands.
Another thing I noticed, and this is coming from my design background, is that many commercial places we visited didn’t have A) illuminated electrical exit signs which require energy B) automatic swing doors for accessibility use in the US and C) street lights everywhere. In fact, I often relied on the flashlight on my cell phone to help navigate back to campus if we were out past dark. Quite a shock to our over lit cities in the US.
In summary, the places I visited in England didn’t use or rely AC so that the energy consumption would automatically be lower than that of the US. The appliances are also smaller so one would assume the energy consumption would be less.
Do you have any experience with this or noticed built in energy consumption practices in other locations in the world? I have to admit that America is an energy hog! =(