Sunday, June 03, 2012

35. When There's a Will, There's a Way

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Surely your house looks like the one on the left – or, better to say, like one of the partitions inside it – rather than like Spielberg’s rooted house that you can painstakingly make out in the background of the picture on the right; or is it that I want it to be just a plain flat in a residential area...because it makes me feel happier by comparison (scroll down to Land of Plenty below for more details)?   
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You are going to read an article about conserving energy in the home. For questions 1-5, choose the correct answer A, B, C or D. Item (0) is given as an example.

Make Your Home Greener
[adapted from the Cambridge CAE Course, by Marta Spratt & Linda B. Taylor]

Residential buildings are responsible for consuming 27% of the total amount of energy consumed within Europe, and are the biggest source of global warming in the world. This is a fact that has, until recently, been overlooked by law-makers trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, who have concentrated their efforts on industry and transport. The EU has now issued a new directive which intends to cut carbon dioxide emissions from buildings by 45 million tons before 2010.This means that each of us can now save the planet from the comfort of our own homes.

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The first things we can do are simple and easy. We can block up draughts, switch off unnecessary lights and make sure taps are not left running. The next step requires more planning and some expense, but, as well as saving energy, we will also save on bills.

Many homes have loft insulation, but it is rarely enough. Most insulation is 100mm. thick, but to be truly effective the recommended thickness is 200-300mm. Full insulation can have a dramatic effect on energy consumption. It can save up to 25 percent on your heating bills. A variety of materials are available, but one of the most environmentally friendly is cellulose in the form of compressed recycled newsprint which has been fireproofed.

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We should use energy-efficient light bulbs. These are usually expensive to buy but consume less than half the energy of standard bulbs. Also, these bulbs last much longer than conventional light bulbs reducing the consumption of resources.

Thermal solar panels are very efficient. They are capable of providing all the hot water you need even in Britain's climate. Photovoltaic panels can be fitted as solar roof tiles or solar windows and are now capable of generating about half of an average home's electricity needs. A large conservatory with lots of glass panels on the south side of a building will tap light and warmth and reduce the need for lighting.

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We can install a 'grey' water recycling system. At present, water used to flush the toilets is of the same drinkable quality that comes out of the taps. This is an unnecessary waste of energy used in water purification. A grey water recycling system cleans water that has been used for washing and sends it through the toilet system reducing the use of clean drinking water. 

New buildings can incorporate much more energy saving features in their design. They can have a timber structure, extensive insulation, electronic environmental controls, triple glazing, a non-polluting heating system and a turf roof. However, it is how we deal with our present homes that will determine housing's contribution to global warming. It's down to each and every one of us, so get insulating!

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(0) It is the writer’s belief that
A.   efficient light bulbs are not worth the price.
B.    solar panels are unable to reduce the need of light under bad weather.
C.  it is pointless to use drinkable water to flush the toilet.
D.   not much can be done in buildings to contribute to saving energy.

1. The amount of energy consumed by residential buildings is
A.   45 million tons.
B.    27% more than that consumed by industry.
C.    mainly responsible for global warming.
D.   going to be reduced by 2010.

2. Until recently, law-abiding reductions in gas emissions only contemplated
A.   Europe.
B.    residential buildings.
C.    industry and transport.
D.   private houses.

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3. Blocking up draughts
A.   is easy.
B.    is expensive.
C.    requires planning.
D.   is energy saving.

4. The effectiveness of loft insulation relies on
A. correct thickness.
B. adequate materials.
C. recycled materials.
D. being fireproof.

5.     How can individuals reduce global warming?

a.     By buying a new environmentally friendly house.
b.      By designing new buildings with energy saving features.
c.      By insulating new buildings.
d.     By making changes in our current homes.

0. C
1. C
2. C
3. A
4. A
5. D

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