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Low Impact Living Initiative

Low Impact Living Initiative
LILI was founded in 2001 by two members of Redfield Community. The community itself was founded in 1978, and in 2001 had solar hot water, compost loos, straw-bale buildings, organic gardens, orchards, soft fruit, bees, sheep, chickens, natural paints, lime, wood stoves, and one member was experimenting with making biodiesel from waste cooking oil.

Most importantly, the land was owned co-operatively, and decisions were made by consensus (both of which are still the case - and because of the founding documents, are unlikely to change).

For us, there seemed nothing unusual in any of this. It seemed infinitely preferable to consumerism, competition, and lives lived far removed from nature and other people.

We wondered if anyone else might be interested in learning about natural building, renewable energy and local food production. We formed a not-for-profit organisation, came up with a name, and started running some courses in 2001: biodiesel, permaculture, solar hot water, straw-bale building, natural paints & lime and compost toilets.

Well, yes they were interested. Our course programme has grown every year since, and we've added books, including our own publications, free factsheets, magazines, a huge links database, forum, 'ask the expert' products, services and online courses on over 180 topics. In 2007 we took over the day-to-day running of WWOOF UK, matching up organic farms and smallholdings with volunteers.


lime factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/lime/0

Lime is a traditional and environmentally-friendly building material that was largely replaced by cement during the 20th Century, but is now coming back into fashion. Various types of lime are used in building as mortars, renders, plasters, slurries and washes. All are made from limestone, which is a sedimentary rock made from the dead bodies of sea creatures that produce calcium carbonate (coral, shellfish, some planktons). Most limestone was laid down in the Cretaceous period (60-150 million years ago).

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natural paints factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/paint/0
Natural, or 'eco-' paints are household paints, manufactured for interior and exterior uses, and also for floors and furniture.
All paints contain pigment (colour), binder (carrier and a ‘glue’ for the colour), and solvent and / or additives (aids application, after which solvent evaporates); in eco-paints these tend to be natural rather than synthetic. Synthetic ingredients tend to be by-products of the petrochemical industry.
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rammed earth building factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/reb/0
It is building with earth (subsoil rather than topsoil). Two billion people worldwide live in earth constructions and rammed earth building is on the increase in Europe as well as in other areas.
The oldest surviving rammed earth buildings are around 8000 years old, and were built in areas with few trees, like the ancient city-states of Mesopotamia; the Romans introduced it into Europe. The technique was also used on the Great Wall of China. Cob and adobe buildings are not rammed – a mixture of earth and water is built up slowly to form walls, or made into blocks.
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round wood timber framing factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/rwt/0
First the round wood part – round wood is straight from the tree (with or without bark), without any processing, squaring or planking.
Timber framing is creating the structural framework for a building from wood. The frame bears the load, then the walls are filled in with something else, which could be timber cladding, straw bales, wattle & daub, or bricks and mortar.
Traditional timber framing uses mortice and tenon joints secured with wooden pegs and wedges, all of which is traditionally done with hand tools (although commercial timber framers now use power tools). Mortice and tenon joints are female / male. The mortice is a slot, and the tenon fits into the slot. Then a hole is drilled straight through the joint, into which fits a peg. There are different types of pegs: a tapered peg wedges itself into the hole; the peg could be untapered and octagonal, so that the corners make the diameter of the peg slightly larger than the hole, and it locks itself into the wood when it is hammered in; the peg could just be round; it could be wedged in; or there could be wedges in the end of the joint.
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straw-bale building
SKU: lili/sbb/0
It is a building technique that uses straw bales (or even hay bales) for walls – which can be load-bearing, or used to infill a timber frame. It was pioneered in the US mid-west in the 19th century by farmers whose only building material was the waste from their wheat crop. The buildings were intended to be temporary until conventional building materials were delivered. However, they found them to be solid, warm and comfortable, and many continued to live in them in preference to traditional houses.
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Timber building factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/tb/0
what is it?

Way before stone-age people lived in caves, trees would have provided a haven for our ancestors. And after caves, timber would probably have been one of the first human building materials.

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biogas factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/b/ebook/000/000
Binding: ebook - pdf

Biogas is mostly methane (around 60%) with carbon dioxide (around 40%) and a little hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide. It is made by anaerobic bacteria breaking down organic matter in the absence of oxygen (when the organic matter is waterlogged – i.e. a slurry). Biogas is generated naturally in the mud at the bottom of marshes; it is called marsh gas, and often ignites. The process also occurs in landfill sites, and in the digestive system of humans and other animals.

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green electricity factsheet - ebook
SKU: lili/ge/0

It is obtaining the electricity that you use from environmentally-friendly sources. The electricity you use in your home is probably from the National Grid. There are ways of being 'off-grid', for example using a generator, solar pv, wind, hydro, or micro-chp, together with batteries. But the vast majority of people in the UK are connected to the National Grid. And most of the electricity put into the National Grid is 'brown' - from power stations using fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil) or nuclear. But now some companies are feeding the National Grid using renewables, for example large wind turbines or hydro-electricity. This is 'green' electricity. Also included in the 'green' category is electricity from companies that use your money to research and build new renewable generation capacity, or to offset carbon by investing in projects to absorb or reduce carbon emissions in some other way.

Two more things that you need to know: Firstly, there are two types of companies involved in providing green electricity – suppliers and generators. Some companies have no electricity generating capacity, but supply the public with electricity that they have purchased from generating companies. Other companies (e.g. Ecotricity) are both suppliers and generators. Ecotricity operate around 25 Megawatts of wind turbine capacity, and also sell direct to the public. Secondly, if you switch to a green electricity supplier, you won't then be able to trace your electricity back to a wind turbine. It simply means that the more people switch, the greater the proportion of green electricity in the National Grid.

what are the benefits?

This is not about home-scale micro-generation from renewables. This is about your contribution to large-scale renewable energy developments, like wind farms, large hydro-electric power schemes, and also wave and tidal power.

There is some opposition to large renewable energy projects, notably wind farms, and we respect people's opinions about the effects of wind turbines on the landscape. We wouldn't want turbines on every hillside, but we think that ultimately, ecology (which after all, supports human life on this planet) is more important than the view. And anything that mitigates the problems below has to be explored. It's too important not to. If you switch to green electricity, you are helping develop large-scale renewable energy projects, which help counter the problems associated with the alternatives - which are:

climate change
There is no 'debate' any more. 99.9% of scientists recognise that climate change is happening, it's dangerous, and it's man-made. The media promote the idea of a debate to sell papers and put bums on seats. There is a direct link between CO2 in the atmosphere and average global temperatures, and CO2 has gone up by about a third since the industrial revolution (and is rising rapidly). You may think this means warmer summers and milder winters (good), but it also means more deserts, melting ice-caps and large-scale coastal flooding, more hurricanes, environmental destruction, famine, and the deaths of millions of people (very bad).

peak oil
Oil is a finite resource, and its use is increasing dramatically. This can only mean one thing – it's not going to be around for much longer. 'Peak' oil means the point of maximum production, after which prices increase and production tails off to (eventually) tiny amounts as we try and find the last drops from currently uneconomical fields. As most of our food (especially in the West) depends on oil for fertilizers, machinery and transport, unless we have alternative energy supplies, or you produce your own food (and manage to hang on to it), you're going to go very hungry.

nuclear power
There's not enough uranium left for nuclear power to take over from fossil fuels for more than a couple of decades. Fast breeder reactors could increase that, but they're not safe; and it's not at all sure that nuclear fusion (what happens inside the sun) can ever be harnessed, or at least in the near future. And there's the question of devastating accidents, and nuclear waste, which is highly dangerous for tens of thousands of years (and we're still discovering Roman ruins from a couple of thousand years ago!). And yet nuclear continues to receive billions in taxpayer subsidies while renewables receive next to nothing.

Who knows, there may be an invention around the corner that will solve these problems, but it's not looking likely, and it's too much of a risk to do nothing.

what can I do?

You can switch to a green electricity supplier – today. It is probably the easiest and quickest way to have a significant effect in helping to reduce the damage to the ecology of our planet.

The green electricity market is constantly changing as new players enter, new generating capacity is built, and prices change. Also, because suppliers are in direct competition with each other for your custom, there is a huge amount of marketing information out there, which can be daunting and confusing. Fortunately, there are websites to help you keep up with the changes, and to compare green electricity suppliers. As mentioned, there are different kinds of green electricity, so price isn't everything. Having said that, you can compare the tariffs of green electricity suppliers in your area by visiting Green Prices.

So, once you have checked out some of these websites and decided which supplier is the one for you, as regards their activities and the price of their electricity, simply go to their website and switch online, or give them a call. It can be done immediately, with no interruption to your supply.

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solar electricity factsheet = ebook
SKU: lili/es/0

It is the generation of electricity from the power of the sun, via photovoltaic (pv) cells. It is different from solar water heating, where water passes through panels to be heated directly, and no electricity is generated. Photovoltaic cells are made from silicon; when particles of sunlight (photons) fall on the cells, they dislodge the outer electrons of their atoms, and push them along to the next atom; a chain of moving electrons is produced, and if a wire is attached to the panels, these electrons can be pushed down it to supply a useable electric current. This current is measured in amps, and to give some idea of the scale involved, one amp of current involves the movement of 6 million million million electrons per second

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wind generator factsheet - ebook
SKU: wef/lili/ebook/0/0
Binding: ebook - pdf

Wind generators are devices that produce electricity from the power of the wind; inside the body of a generator, there is a coil of wire and a magnet. When a coil of wire is moved inside a magnetic field, it produces an electric current in the wire - the same principle as a dynamo on a bicycle, but the wind provides the movement, not your legs.

Wind generators come in many sizes and shapes, from small units found on caravans and boats to enormous machines that can power a whole village. Wind farms have many generators which produce a large amount of power. In the UK there are large wind farms in Wales, Cornwall, Yorkshire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Cumbria. Some people object to wind generators on the grounds that they can be noisy and may be thought to spoil a beautiful view. Recently, wind farm planners and engineers have improved the noise problem considerably. Many people living near wind farms think that they enhance the view.

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Solar Hot Water: Choosing, Fitting and Using a System
SKU: shw/397/598
Binding: Paperback: 270 pages
Particularly applicable to domestic dwellings in the UK, although the principles described are widely adopted throughout the developed world. Lee has over 10 years of experience in consulting, training and installation work, field trials, technical research and developmental thinking in the solar thermal industry. He combines this with a passionate personal commitment to making the best use of the earth's most abundant energy resource. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to every aspect of solar hot water, including relevant equipment, components, system design and installation and even how to build your own panels.
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Compost Toilets: A Practical DIY Guide
SKU: ct/198/598
Binding: Paperback: 124 pages
Compost toilets reduce water usage, prevent pollution and produce fertiliser from a waste product. Built properly they can be attractive, family friendly and low maintenance. This DIY guide contains everything you need to know about building a compost toilet, plus proprietary models, decomposition, pathogens and hygiene, use and maintenance, environmental benefits, troubleshooting and further resources. A well-designed composting toilet system is at the pinnacle of sustainable sewage treatment.
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Make Your Own Natural Soaps: All Vegetable Herbal Recipes
SKU: myons/254/598
Binding: Paperback: 166
The author, Maxine Clarke grew up in Jamaica and as a child was taught to make soaps by her grandmother. 'Make Your Own Natural Soaps' is intended for beginners, includes both hot and cold process soap making, with careful step-by-step instructions. There are extensive bar, liquid and cream soap recipes, full details of the equipment needed to make a start and a re-batching chapter just incase anything goes wrong! And for anyone interested in turning their new skills to profit there is information on the legislation and regulations you need to comply with to be able to sell soap.
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Make Your Own Essential Oils and Skin-care Products
SKU: myoeo/310/448
Binding: Paperback: 206 pages
There are many books available on using essential oils - now there is one on how to make your own. Making your own essential oils can be a fascinating hobby, or for the professional aromatherapist, a way of ensuring that your products are fresh, unadulterated and organic. This book also describes how to make creams, lotions, balms, gels, tinctures and other skin-care products from the essential oils and distillate waters you have produced.
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Food Smoking: a practical guide
SKU: fs/286/598
Binding: Paperback: 192 pages
Back in our cave-dwelling days, food smoking was used to preserve food and then our ancestors discovered just how great it makes food taste. Turan T. Turan has been a passionate smoker of food for many years, teaches courses all around UK and now crystallises his knowledge in Food Smoking: a Practical Guide. Within its covers he explains the basics of cold and hot smoking; delves into the principles of combustion and explains brining and dry salt curing. He also outlines how to source wood for smoking and provides plans for building a cold smoker and smoke generators
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How to Build a Wind Pump
SKU: htbawp/171/598
Binding: Paperback 108 Pages
Good for developed or developing countries, the wind pump described in this book can pump rainwater, greywater, river, pond or well water for irrigation, aerate a fish pond, run a water feature or even be a bird scarer. This system does not generate electricity. The turbine is 700mm diameter and the turbine head plus rotor weighs less than 4kg. In a light-to-moderate wind it should pump about 1000 litres a day with a head of 4-5 metres. If you have good engineering skills and equipment you can fabricate nearly all of the system yourself; if you get all the parts manufactured, it's not much more complicated than DIY flatpack furniture.
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How to Spin: Just About Anything
SKU: hts/338/648
Binding: Paperback 226 pages
How to spin: just about anything is a wide-ranging introduction to an ancient craft which has very contemporary applications. It tells you all you need to know about the available tools, from hand spindles to spinning wheels, what to do to start spinning, with illustrated, step-by-step instructions, and a comprehensive guide to the many fibres you can use to make beautiful yarns. Janet Renouf-Miller is a registered teacher with the Association of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and has taught at their renowned Summer School. She has also taught courses for many spinning and weaving Guilds, knitting groups, shops and voluntary organisations.
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Wind and Solar Electricity: A DIY Guide
SKU: wase/320/598
Binding: Paperback 214 pages
The author has been providing his own electricity from the sun and the wind for many years and in the first edition of wind and solar electricity he shared his knowledge and experience to explain how his readers could do the same. Subsequent developments in the associated technology and UK government incentives have led him to make substantial revisions and additions to the original text, including new illustrations and photographs, for this second edition. He provides practical, hands-on advice on all aspects of setting up and keeping a home-generation system running and the text reflects his own recent experience.
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Heating with Wood
SKU: hww/256/598
Binding: Paperback 168 pages
This second, expanded edition reflects improvements in wood-fuelled appliances, developments in the type and availability of wood-based fuels and the author's own recent experience of installing and using an automated biomass system. Also includes how to choose, size, install and/or build a wood stove, plus how to obtain, grow and store firewood, health and safety, chainsaws, water heating and cooking with wood.
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50 Great Ideas for Sustainable Living
SKU: 50gisl/311/598
Binding: Paperback 206 Pages
This book contains 50 practical ideas for ways that you can help to stem the tide of destruction that is overtaking the ecology of our one-and-only planet. It's a random selection from the 170 topics on our website. Each chapter is a topic from one of the following five categories: shelter - the way we house ourselves and provide electricity, warmth, water and other utilities to our homes land - everything for gardens, allotments, smallholdings and small farms lifestyle - how we live, shop, save, make our living, make and fix things, get around and look after our bodies food & drink - getting, making, preparing, preserving and consuming it nature - all about the stuff you can do in the great outdoors Each topic is divided into three sections: • what is it? - definition, history, background • benefits - environmental, health, money saving etc. • what can I do? - how you can take the next step • Why don't you get started and give them a try?
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