September 17, 2008

Biodiesel, Astro Turf & Roller Garage Doors

A strange title perhaps? Sounds a little like Richard Hammond's new tv series about engineering connections? (Great series, well worth watching incidentally). Well, for anyone who owns a biodiesel engine car that they keep in a garage, this blog post title will either ring a bell of familiarity or, if it doesn't, it might well set them on the path to better care for their car AND reducing their home energy bills.

Apparently biodiesel is susceptible to low overnight temperatures and can become lumpy if the car stands for long at a temperature of below -5 degrees centigrade. So ahead of the winter what can biodiesel car owners do? Quite simply, insulate their garage - but we're not talking about putting any complex panelling up or having to organise cavity wall insulation. You can of course always go that route, but here are two ideas for a DIY fix:

  • Artificial grass - this grass carpet is far more practical than any standard carpet. You can buy it in rolls or even grass tiles and what's more, you can fit it yourself. The advantages? It helps retain heat, is hard wearing, easily cleaned and gives you a nice, green colour to your garage floor. If you won't take my word for it then ask a Royal - HRH Prince Charles installed artificial grass as carpet in his garage for exactly the purpose I describe: garage insulation to help protect the biodiesel in his Range Rover.

    ** For anyone not familiar with artificial grass, they may know it as astro turf grass. People use lots of different terms to refer to this product, such as fake grass, artificial turf, synthetic grass, plastic grass and more. In fact, when you read more on the subject of artificial grass (or astro turf) you get to realise it's a whole world in itself. There's a good blog article that goes into some detail on the terminology of astro turf

  • Roller garage doors - these metal garage doors are insulated so help reduce heat loss from your garage. What's more, they are very effective as security doors to help protect what's inside your garage. They have other advantages too but I'll save that for another post another day!