Posted by Big Gav
Just a short post tonight - there is lots of fresh stuff in the link bucket though.
George Monbiot has a look at energy efficiency for buildings and dredges up a great quote from Tony Blair about nuclear power from the memory hole.
In Germany there are now some 4000 homes built to the “passivhaus” standard. A passivhaus is a house without radiators, fan heaters, stoves, air conditioners or any other kind of heating or cooling device. The only heat it requires is produced by sunlight coming through the windows and by the bodies of the people who live there. A study of over 100 passive homes showed they had a mean indoor temperature of 21.4 degrees during the bitter German winter. That’s 2.4 degrees warmer than the average British home.
All that distinguishes them from other houses is that they are built properly. They are airtight (the air which enters the house comes through a heat exchange system) and have no “thermal bridges” – material which can conduct heat from the inside of the house to the outside. The windows are matched carefully to the volume of the house. Because they have no active heating systems, they are not much more expensive to build than ordinary houses. A development of 20 homes in Freiburg, with a measured energy saving of 79%, cost just 7% more than a typical building of the same kind.
I fail to see why the passivhaus cannot become a universal standard. But this standard – like all those the government might propose – will be a waste of time until our building control officers are forced to do their jobs properly. What is the point in investing in nuclear power, or any other generating technology, if we can’t sort out something as simple as this?
The New Statesman reveals that in 1988, when Tony Blair was shadow energy secretary, he launched a passionate attack on the Conservatives’ climate policies.
“What is unbelievably depressing about the government’s response,” he said, “is that they see, in the evidence about greenhouse gases, not an opportunity to promote environmental concern but a chance to make the case for nuclear power. ... Having made a big issue of the greenhouse effect, it became clear that energy efficiency was the best way to deal with it, but … the government’s position has been characterised by a malign reluctance to have anything to do with the notion of energy conservation.”
What better description of his own legacy could there be?
This little video may get a laugh or two as well (via GristMill).