Earth Notes: Diarycast - Year In Review (2023)

Updated 2024-04-04.
The rollercoaster thrills and spills of 2023 at EOU Towers... #podcast #yearInReview
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Hi, I'm Damon Hart-Davis, and welcome to Earth Notes podcast on all things eco and green and efficient @Home!

28th January 2024.

EOU review for 2023: a brief round-up of the year.

(The full diary can be found in the Show Notes.)

2023 has been largely taken up with work on my PhD, as an unconfirmed (ie probationary) student.

Courtesy of student life and some good friends I have rediscovered night clubs, and am kinda sorta trying to get into music.

Here are some brief snippets from each month...

I did a "dry January" with a fairly dry February (for 2024 I have done "dry-ish" which is also good). I officially started my new life as a PhD candidate, though it took quite a while to get my ID card and so on sorted! I bought a second hand Dell monitor, set up in portrait, for reading long documents such as academic papers. It is a long time since I have had anything other than my small laptop screen.
I attended FOSDEM for the first time in many years (and I am going again in 2024). I worked out that we need to replace about 20 million gas boilers with heat-pumps in the UK by 2050, at least once. We had another window implosion! There was a mixture of diversion and grid-top up to the heat battery.
The central heating was turned off mid-month. We had a small (1 hour) power cut at home a few days later. Then I went to my first Whirl-Y-Gig!
Twitter finally killed off the EOU grid carbon-intensity feed that started in 2009, along with many other public services. The local Piper Hall was demolished as part of the estate redevelopment. I helped out with the Surrey university Hackathon.
I created the beginnings of a bass track for "gentle" data sonification. Unexpectedly, I got to meet Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition Town. The first Kingston Efficient Homes Show went well!
My son was a ballboy on centre court at the Surbiton Trophy with Andy Murray playing! Turning the boiler off completely this month took gas consumption down to zero and no one got a cold shower or bath...
I started switching all appropriate Twitter links on my site to Mastodon. I visited a heat-pump installation in progress in north London a couple of times. No gas used at all this month.
A fortnight's holiday in Perpignan (south of France, near the Spanish border), with temperatures reaching the high 30[°C]s.
I helped out as a "waste marshal" at Kingston Carnival. The boiler was switched back on for hot water. The 40-year Mirfield school reunion was fun; I stayed B&B in the monastery. Another (half-hour) power cut; as before our Internet connection and main servers stayed up, powered off-grid.
I received an NHS bowel cancer screening kit (results were negative). I spent time organising a Kingston community solar working group, the university departmental weekly coffee hour, and a quiz team.
I joined an interesting Elexon workshop (issue 109) about possible netting of import/export for domestic customers. I got my first DOI for a data set [hart-davis2023central]. I visited York with my daughter for an open day in the university chemistry department; and I also visited the tiny house where I was born on School Lane!
The heating was turned on on the 1st ... and the boiler failed on the 13th; luckily the rest of the month was relatively mild and our enforced zero gas consumption was not too bad. The Thermino provided hot water. Annual mains gas use dropped from about 3MWh a couple of years ago to about 1MWh this year. I got us in the queue for an Octopus heat pump; maybe we will get a survey in February or March. My first paper's preprint went on-line.

I still do not know how well I will hack life as a part academic. My first attempt to publish a paper was rejected [hart-davis2023waste], and I am still working on getting that back on track as I write this!

There's more on my "Earth Notes" Web site at Earth.Org.UK.

Show Notes

That came out rather more "me me me" than the abstract EOU roundup intended. A consequence of trying to do it in a bit of a hurry, I think...

Full diary notes:

Many other interesting things happened during the year, such as the start of Repair Café Kingston: too many to list here!


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