Page 21 - Final Report-8 NO TRANSPARENCY

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Resilient urban systems:
a socio-technical study of community scale climate change adaptation initiatives
“You say, okay, how many really hot days are there going to be where I’ll be sleeping
down here in a year? Well, there may be four or five, so far, a year… So you balance it off
that way. If that happens to be on a day… where you’ve got to perform the next morning
or whatever, you say, well, hold on, let’s go and spend a hundred bucks and go to a
motel.” (W2)
“There is mezzanine third level and that can get a bit cold and we did have a duplex thing
[an electric heater] up there so if you were working up there all day in winter you’d need
something extra”. (W6)
“A couple of my neighbours are buying air conditioners. For instance, you got this so
called second bedroom right here…it’s a glass one…I use it as a study. The one next to
us, it gets to well over 50 degrees.” (W2)
“I have enough money to go out to a hotel [if it is uncomfortably hot].” (W2)
Priorities around the need for certain appliances, such as clothes dryers and air conditioners appear to be
different at WestWyck. However, in some cases, this may be due to the central location and availability of
shared resources, as well as financial resources:
“If I had a load [of washing] and I really wanted to dry them, I’d probably take them to the laundrette”. (W3)
Some changes are a more direct result of the systems themselves. Most householders at WestWyck note
that the grey water system causes more discolouration, and occasionally odour, than mains water to the
point that one or two residents identify a ‘need’ to
“scrub your toilet every second day because it does
actually, you know it starts to go grey”
(W6). However, most residents do not regard this as a big issue –
care factor is pretty low”
(W4) – and the required use of non-toxic cleaning products for the black water
system means that the implications of any additional cleaning are minimal.
In terms of influencing the practices of others, WestWyck residents are doubtful that they have had a
singular influence on the practices of family and friends, especially as most are already familiar with and
often active in, alternative systems and/or sustainability. However, the interest and response is reported as
being unanimously positive:
“Not directly because of me; because I think it’s a general build-up of ideas and
information and cost effectiveness. “(W6)
“Whether they actually carry it out I don’t know but yeah everyone usually has a very
positive reaction.” (W4)
, as at WestWyck, changes in the practices of interviewees tend to be in response to broader
design features of the home and the way the systems have been designed and installed. In particular, higher
levels of insulation and double-glazing have been recognised as creating greater levels of comfort compared
to their previous homes, requiring less intervention in the form of additional heating or cooling:
“I don’t even have a pedestal fan or anything… I find I don’t need it now, if I keep
everything shut, if it’s really hot outside, if I keep … things closed there is no… problem…
and with double glazed windows yeah, I swear by them I think they’re really, really, really
good yeah.” (A6)
“Because of the shading and where the house is situated, it’s pretty good. Also in
summer, in winter as well it keeps quite warm because they’ve got the windows,
obviously the sun comes in and warms it up.” (A9)
“When it’s a hot day – I mean, I haven’t got any air conditioning in here, I’ve just got the
ceiling fans and that seems to keep the house cool enough. So I think from that point of
view, it’s a good talking point.” (A12)
“We’re not having to turn the heating on as much, and turn the cooling on as much,
especially downstairs.” (A5)