London Sustainability Weeks: A Green House

It's London Sustainability Weeks and the city has been engulfed by an awe-inspiring number of events celebrating the creation of "a better quality of life for everyone, whilst protecting our environment and being aware of the limits on resource use." It kicked off with the Camden Green Fair; in a park, complete with booths representing just about every environmental group that exists, plus the requisite food, children's activities and a bicycle-driven forge. On Open Garden Squares Days, private squares and private parks across the city were open for public envy. Donnachadh McCarthy, creator and owner of London's first green house, opened his doors to the public. The genial Irishman started working on it in 1999, recognising that he wanted to change his lifestyle and make a difference. He has installed the first wind turbine for electricity on a private house in London (the same one that David Cameron wants to put on his house). On his roof he also has solar electric PV panels and a single solar electric panel for a hot water system. He made a profit of 20£ from energy sold back to London Energy but emphasised that in fact the paybacks are very little, no matter what anyone says. "You get into this to save the environment, not money". His house has made him reconnect with the weather—if it's raining he knows that his rain barrel is filling up, if it is windy, the turbine is working away and if it's sunny, the solar panels are being used.