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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

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    • CommentAuthorRosemary
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2007 edited
    Another budget and yet another lost opportunity to reduce VAT on insulation materials and eco-friendly renovations. But anyone buying a zero-carbon house worth less than half a million won't have to pay stamp duty. Is this what they call joined up government?
    It's chicken feed Rosemary. Just what Gordon Brown is very, very good at. Most of the recent announcements around the environmental agenda from Labour have been to just grab the headlines and steal the momentum over any other runners. The Zero carbon homes promise is a case in point where Brown is taking credit now for something which cannot possibly be delivered by the date he has given. But come 2016, it will, more than likely, be someone else's problem. Politicians also take into account that the public has a very short memory.
    Hey, at least it is his last budget... err, oh yeah... he is about to become Prime Minister...

    So now we have to suffer his miserable, drop-jawed addresses every Thursday not just at budget time... great.
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2007 edited
    Brown is putting forward a proposal to the EU to reduce VAT on energy saving materials

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/21_03_07_budget_7.pdf" >BBC Budget

    See page 20.
    In Brown's defense, he has certainly gotten the mainstream building industry scratching their heads on how to try and meet the challenge he's laid down.
    • CommentAuthorRosemary
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2007
    Thanks Nigel. I'm pleased to hear it but find it incredible that in 2007 we are being told that Brown is writing to the European Commission and European Finance Officers to suggest that they do something about VAT (with the emphasis on light bulbs). All very gentlemanly and not much sense of urgency or looming planetary disaster. Are we to suppose that all the other European nations, even the Germans who are supposed to be, er, light-years ahead of us on energy efficiency, are meekly handing over vast amounts of VAT for the privilege of reducing carbon emissions? I intend to place a large order for sheep's wool insulation but the extra 17.5% on a wonderful but already expensive product is a real disincentive.
    If Brown was serious about zero carbon housing, he could not only zero rate all insulation materials and energy saving appliances, but could also prevent housebuilders claiming VAT back on new builds, levelling the playing field with renovations. It is crazy that is often cheaper to knock down a building and start again rather than doing a refurbishment because of the VAT implications. If a builder or developer reached the zero carbon standard (or something more realistic but challenging) on a newbuild or renovation then the Chancellor could then refund the VAT on the the project.

    Green building would take off like a rocket then and it wouldn't cost Gordon a penny.
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2007
    Dead right, Chris. Reinstate positive-rate VAT on newbuild (why on earth is it zero-rated?); and zero-rate zero-carbon building. Then developers can retain their perk just the same, but ony if the build zero-carbon. Neat.
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2007
    Regarding zero VAT on insulation, I would like to see this ONLY for insulations [and other materials for that matter] that are not derived from fossil fuels. This would create an instant demand for green products which would lead to lower prices.
    Sorry that was me
    Yesterday I ploughed through all 30m pages of the environment section, sucker for punishment I guess- the questions that crossed my mind was :
    1) How many zero carbon houses are there are on the market at the moment and how many are planned? Will having no stamp duty between now and 2012 flood the Uk with passivhaus estates. I am a little sceptical.

    2) On micro generation I went through it looking at some figures that Chris Goodall used in his new book- How to Live a Low carbon lifestyle. This is what I ended up with, the following calculations for a wind turbine plant on home in a windy location- estimated ROC payments £168, total export payment £80 and that is based on the manufacturers production estimates, for a Photovoltaic array of 12 square metres in a Southern location the ROC revenue may be £72 and the export revenue another £24. It fails to blow me away as a major incentive to strap PVs to the roof and stick a turbine on a pole in the garden.

    3) Is biofeul or agri-fuel as via campasino called it last week, really a carbon reducing alternative on a commercial scale or another way to hold onto massive car ownership.

    Hurm- if anyone knows about the number of zero carbon house could they let me know the source?
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeMar 22nd 2007
    >if anyone knows about the number of zero carbon houses on the market could they let me know the source?
    Source: me, just a hunch.
    Biff, that is what I suspect too.
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2007
    Storage of abundant summer solar heat/energy through to the winter will be the subject of my M Sc if I get round to it. That way, wipe out the building stock's reliance on fuel for heat, and less need for all the ingenious reconfiguration of buildings' fabric that Passivhaus etc implies.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeMar 23rd 2007
    You've seen the latest issue of Sun and Wind Energy with its articles about seasonal storage in Germany?
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