Mrs Green reflects on E.ON Innovation

Filed in Blog by on March 31, 2012 7 Comments
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Eon Innovation BloggingYou may remember me talking about the crowdsourcing project by E.ON, called E.ON Innovation . It was based on the highly popular Channel 4 show “Home of the Future” in which one lucky Sheffield family had their home filled with futuristic technology and gadgets.

Although the show has now finished, the E.ON Innovation community will carry on sharing ideas for the next day or two. The purpose of the community is to allow everybody the chance to have their say. The future isn’t all about new technology; it might be about redesigning existing technologies to work better or to automate processes.

The areas up for discussion are Rest, Work, Play, Food and Wellbeing. Interestingly, the work theme has had the most ideas submissions, whereas Food has had the least. I personally find that fascinating, because the other day I asked the zero waste Facebook and Twitter communities about the most pressing challenges they faced with reducing waste and the top concern was food.

I’m a great fan of crowdsourcing because it gives everyone an opportunity to participate and potentially change the future. There are so many people out there with fantastic and inspiring ideas; people who might not otherwise get a chance to voice their opinion. And of course it’s a huge benefit for the companies who set it up because they get, basically free consultation and brainstorming from people who are passionate and creative. It’s co-operation at its best.

But there is a little incentive apart from the warm fuzzy feeling of inspiring others! The best submission from each challenge will win a home energy makeover worth up to £2,000, and one of the five winners will be selected to receive the ‘Shining Star’ award, which increases the prize to a home energy makeover worth up to £10,000.

There was a lot of buzz on Twitter during each episode of the show, particularly the 3D printer (which blows me away; I can’t get my mind around that concept AT ALL!) and the edible insects; Hmmm, ‘use it up soup’ anyone? I’m not sure – do you really think that eating insects and creating 3D object from files is the way we are heading? Personally I’m still trying to catch up with the idea of running a website, 24 hour take aways and sending emails!

I’ll leave 3D printing to the geeks and get back to a realm in which I feel more at ease – saving energy with storing, preparing and cooking food (just so long as it’s not insects). I’ve been browsing some of the suggestions and have pulled out a few favourites:

“Brightspark” suggests a barcode recycling app where you scan your used food packaging bar code and it tells you whether or not it’s recyclable. With so much confusion around packaging and recycling information this could be a great idea to be developed.

Meanwhile “BenjaminClayton” wants to bring back bulk buying from bins. He suggests we take our reusable containers to buy dry items such as rice and pasta. See; you don’t need to be technologically advanced to use your common sense do you?

“RichardTaplin” suggests we get back to community by cooking in bulk and swapping with neighbours.

“levent” says “Instead of a bin every home should have a Shredder and Composting filtration tank powered and heated by the sun with gases produced to generate power”.

What do you think? Although I appreciate using futuristic technology to reduce energy usage and prevent waste I’m personally a fan of some of the back-to-basics, no nonsense, common sense approaches to life.

Instead of wasting food, don’t buy so much!

Don’t fall for the marketing of “3 for 2” offers.

Learn to serve proper meals instead of super-size portions of junk food

USE YOUR NOSE instead of throwing something away just because it’s reached its best before date.

View your leftovers as ingredients.

It really doesn’t take futuristic technology to put those principles into practise…

I’d love it if you went and had a peek at all the ideas and came back to share your thoughts. Or perhaps there is something glaringly obvious that is missing – go ahead and share your idea; you might just be the winner 😉

You can keep up to date on twitter by following @talkingenergy and using the hashtag #eoninnov

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. Naomi says:

    Since the inception of your blog, I’ve given this subject a lot of thought and am proud of our progress. I used to bin far too much produce. The strategy at first was to back way off how much I purchase but that’s not ideal for health; I bought it because it is good to eat! I gradually ramped back up as improved at preparing healthy meals from scratch. Preparing bone broths is also helpful because it’s a way to clear out dregs in the veggie drawer. And we compost the few scraps we have and keep the compost in the chicken area so it all comes around again as eggs or compost.

  2. Tracey says:

    I love the idea for the barcode scanners – it would be amazing if, with one scan, it links up with the location app on your phone and tells you:
    – the material it’s made from
    – if your local council collect them as part of their door-to-door collection scheme
    – if not, where the nearest recycling plants for that material are
    – if there are no local plants, if it can be sent somewhere to be recycled and the address.

    I’ll be keeping an eye out and hoping this become a reality. 🙂

    I dream of the day when it is illegal for companies to produce packaging that is not recyclable! I still don’t understand why there is not a deadline for this to come in to encourage R&D for appropriate recyclable packaging, instead of letting them get away with non-recyclable packaging on into the future with the excuse that there is nothing better.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Naomi: Hey Naomi, good to see you again and you’re right to feel proud of that awesome progress – well done you; sounds like you have happy chickens too!

    @Tracey: Totally agree about companies not being allowed to produce non recyclable packaging; I’d like to see that as a reality too. Love your barcode scanner idea!

  4. Teresa says:

    I agree with you, Mrs Green, about not needing futuristic innovations to reduce waste and energy. It just takes common sense. All these wierd gadgets aren’t about being ‘green’ as they purport to be; they’re about saving time and giving work to inventors and funding to the MIT in Boston. They do dumb people down as well. You wouldn’t have to check what’s in your fridge and sit down and plan meals and make a shopping list if your ‘smart’ fridge orders food for you and you end up buying the same items every time. Where’s room for a change of diet or trying out new recipes? With all those ‘smart’ gadgets and the ‘smart’ grid there will be an increase in EMF’s in the home causing all sorts of serious illnesses from migraines to multiple sclerosis to cancer. Maybe that’s what the establishment want?

    Intuition and sensing things directly being replaced by scientific measurements. This might have it’s place in manufacturing industry but not in the home. We need to escape from all that gadgetry when at home. RFID chips in everything we purchase to enable recycling; no thanks. Why not make a pair of trainers for example more long lasting in the first place rather than inserting an RFID chip into every component so the parts can be traced back to the original manufacturers.

    I bought a book called ‘World Changing: A User’s Guide to the 21st Century’ and at first couldn’t understand much in it and then recently read it with new understanding. Most of what’s in the book is cods-wallop.

  5. Teresa says:

    Having watched the video I could say that the electric bicycle is a boon for older and less fit cyclists who live in a hilly area. However the battery pack adds to the weight of the bicycle making it harder to cycle when not in use say when cycling on the flat. Also it would cost more to buy, maintain and run than a manual bicycle. They should be an option for those who want them only and manual bicycles still produced.

    I’d rather not have all my music on an MP3 player so I still keep some on cassette tapes and CD’s. They are less susceptible to electro magnetic pulse attacks and the content on MP3 players can be switched off by the Government when the right technology and laws are in place.

    Call me a Luddite but the correct term is refusenik as the latter don’t break up the machines just refuse to buy and use them.

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Teresa: Thanks for your thoughts Teresa; ever coherent and calming to frazzled minds. I do have an electric bike but when the battery runs out it is SO heavy to use; I end up getting off and pushing the thing 😀 And as for just making things built to last well yes; that’s the ultimate in common sense…

  7. Teresa says:

    @Mrs Green: Thank you Mrs Green though in real life I do get stressed out and anxious. I like to see things from different angles. Still prefer my manual bicycle as I live in a fairly flat area with a few hills.

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