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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020
     
    With all this talk about global climate change, climate emergency and renewable energy for me there is something missing

    In recent years we have been fortunate to see the introduction of condensing boilers and LED lighting these have both helped us reduce energy use, what can we do to reduce it further going forward.

    The sport that I am referring to is “Energy Use Reduction” almost never talked about yet very necessary.

    Turning things off would be a good start, then using them less, replacing with lower energy use versions is happening and is one of the things that will help for a while going forward. Insulating floors is occasionally talked about but needs to become widespread and normal

    Any ideas for new areas where we make significant savings?
  1.  
    Posted By: tonyAny ideas for new areas where we make significant savings?

    IMO a mind set change is needed. Led lights reduce consumption....but I have been told on several occasions by people who don't bother switching off lights that 'they are so cheap to run it doesn't matter if they are left on!' Also new boilers don't always mean less consumption, it also means that some will maintain their expenditure and just run the house warmer.
    All the time major insulation works are not cost effective they are not going to happen. I have never seen a good ROI or business case for EWI or a decent amount of loft insulation.
    Where building regs. require upgrades to insulation standards for the whole beyond a certain %age of fabric works can be counter productive, the works either go ahead unreported or are not done because they are not cost effective or unaffordable.
    IMO a good start would be zero VAT on insulation products. This would help higher insulation levels and send the right message.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020
     
    ''never talked about yet very necessary''.

    +11



    Any ideas for new areas where we make significant savings?


    Yes - ban smart meters !

    they consume even *more* energy, while falsely lulling (certain...) consumers into thinking they are aiding energy-transition...

    gg
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020
     
    +1 Red Card for them, they publicly purport to save energy while not doing anything even vaguely useful
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020 edited
     
    You mention climate change etc.,tony, and yes there is something missing. It's a realisation that everything we do impinges on that particular increasingly gloomy scenario. Energy saving whilst laudable is just one facet, and we have to be wary of claiming that sticking plaster gizmos will solve things. The LEDs you mention for example may lead to greater consumption of energy, like much of technology.
    I agree with PiH that a change in mindset is what's needed and an acceptance that many things we have come to take for granted are unacceptable, if we are to escape the worst of what's to come, sadly, I don't see a lot of evidence of that.
    It's one good solution that gg suggests i.e. smart meters. We already have a perfectly good low tech means of measuring usage, and simple is generally the best.
    We could all point to our own particular hobby horse, but it strikes me that energy consumption will only increase, globally speaking, whilst ever the human population grows. The lack of discussion around that fundamental subject is proof enough that it's just too difficult to deal with, therefore energy saving will go as a result.
    True, individual "Stuff" becomes more energy efficient but not if you have to make ten times the amount, a case of one step forward, two steps back.
    How about increasing the cost of energy, let's start with a doubling of it. Oh wait, would that happen to industry too?, and thus make our "stuff" more expensive globally.
    There are no easy answers otherwise maybe we'd have done them already. Changing attitudes is the way but there has to be to be a carrot AND a stick.
    Here are a few other things to ponder, electricity wise :-

    Less all night street lighting.
    Time limited, illuminated street advertising.
    Time limited, illuminated shop window displays.

    Perhaps quadruple the cost outside of specified hours, that would concentrate the minds. Some one is sure to produce a good case why a specific measure shouldn't happen though with inertia as the result.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020
     
    The trouble with trying to regulate anything by cost/taxes is the more well off dont really care as they can afford it. I rarely go into town but it always amazes me the number of shops and restaurants with hot air blowers over the doorways and many with the doors open in the depths of winter. For many businesses that warmth only has to draw in 1 extra customer to cover the cost of the days electric so its affordable for most businesses and they carry on with business as usual.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: philedgeThe trouble with trying to regulate anything by cost/taxes is the more well off dont really care as they can afford it.


    Posted By: philedgeI rarely go into town but it always amazes me the number of shops and restaurants with hot air blowers over the doorways and many with the doors open in the depths of winter. For many businesses that warmth only has to draw in 1 extra customer to cover the cost of the days electric so its affordable for most businesses and they carry on with business as usual.

    I agree with what you said in your first sentence but the rest of your post seems to contradict it. If the price of electricity was (a lot) higher then shops wouldn't find it sensible to waste it.

    But what alternative is there to trying to regulate by cost/taxes? You can try to regulate by imposing rules but that can have unwanted side-effects and stifle alternative solutions. It's also open to corruption and incompetence - witness the current playing field for flat owners, for example.

    Generally I think that persuading people what is good so they want to do it is most likely to succeed, but that's most difficult.
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeFeb 16th 2020
     
    If you quadrupled the cost of a unit of electricity to 60p, then a 4 kw heater over a shop door is ÂŁ2.40/hr or ÂŁ19.20/8hr day. A shop or restaurant can clear that on a customer or two, which I guess is the reason so many places continue to run them.

    The only fair way to stop that happening is to charge as a proportion of personal income/ business profit which isnt going to happen. Without that charging structure the wealthier(individuals and businesses) have little incentive to cut back on something they can easily afford.
    • CommentAuthorBeau
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020
     
    People are the problem. I can't see anything other than draconian measures make us change our ways and in a democracy who is going to vote for that?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020
     
    If we do nothing then cost will eventually do it for us, it is the governments job to manage all upcoming problems but too often they can only take a short term view :cry:
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: BeauPeople are the problem. I can't see anything other than draconian measures make us change our ways and in a democracy who is going to vote for that?


    +1
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyIf we do nothing then cost will eventually do it for us, it is the governments job to manage all upcoming problems but too often they can only take a short term viewhttp:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/cry.gif" alt=":cry:" title=":cry:" >


    In a Democracy the Government is generally a reflection of the people, as Beau says. people don't want to change if it means giving up something.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020
     
    interesting philosophy ignoring "for the greater good"
  2.  
    Posted By: tony condensing boilers and LED lighting
    Both of these took off when governments banned the incumbent technology, there was grumbling but people found the replacement technology was better. See also: petrol cars; gas boilers in new houses.

    Any ideas for new areas where we make significant savings?
    We reduced the carbon footprint of our last place by ~90%, about half that came from replacing the boiler with a heat pump. The other half was hard work. Heat pumps need to be promoted much harder, the public think they only work in modern low energy houses, but ours certainly wasn't.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020
     
    Posted By: tonyinteresting philosophy ignoring "for the greater good"


    Sadly, yes tony, at least not the critical mass needed to effect serious change.
  3.  
    only buy 2nd hand stuff
    • CommentAuthorHollyBush
    • CommentTimeFeb 17th 2020
     
    Do we have the latest stats on energy consumption?

    I suspect an enormous saving is possible if we look at how it is used - for example the school run. If there were good cycle paths, my kids would be happy to cycle on their own to and from school.
    School runs are a nightmare

    Anyone know anything that we can nudge people towards? Maybe better labelling on clothes and food?

    Alter the way bills are calculated, so that the more energy you use it gets more and more expensive?

    Improve building regs for all building types
    • CommentAuthorSimon Still
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: gyrogearYes - ban smart meters !

    they consume even *more* energy, while falsely lulling (certain...) consumers into thinking they are aiding energy-transition...


    Posted By: tony+1 Red Card for them, they publicly purport to save energy while not doing anything even vaguely useful


    Posted By: owlmanIt's one good solution that gg suggests i.e. smart meters. We already have a perfectly good low tech means of measuring usage, and simple is generally the best.


    Posted By: owlmanPerhaps quadruple the cost outside of specified hours,


    UK smart meter implementation was/is poor yes, but the idea is sound. The reason the industry wants them is it's much cheaper to read them automatically than to have a team of people *driving* around reading meters manually so theres your first energy efficiency.

    Then you get to variable pricing - best way to encourage *most* people to use less (yes, won't work for the rich but they're a minority) is to put price incentives in place. First you make people aware of the cost of doing something (your washing machine load costs you 50p now, 25p at 2am) so that you can make your energy supply greener and more efficient.

    Posted By: tonyThe sport that I am referring to is “Energy Use Reduction” almost never talked about yet very necessary.


    "In 2018 transport accounted for a third (33 per cent) of all carbon dioxide emissions. The large majority of emissions from transport are from road transport."
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/790626/2018-provisional-emissions-statistics-report.pdf

    "20% of journeys in Britain are under 1 mile (a distance easily cycled in around 5 minutes);
    38% are under 2 miles (a distance easily cycled in around 10 minutes);
    66% are under 5 miles (a distance easily cycled in around 25 minutes)."
    https://www.cycling-embassy.org.uk/wiki/cycling-is-not-practical-for-the-transportation-or-commuting-needs-of-most-people

    "The average carbon dioxide emissions of cars sold in the UK rose for the third year in a row during 2019 as falling diesel sales and the rising popularity of SUVs "
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/06/uk-car-sales-brexit-diesel-electric-vehicles-emissions

    There's a few bits of evidence. The quickest, cheapest, and most significant reduction in UK energy consumption could come from transport. Need to make driving short distances, and overlarge heavy cars, and with a single occupant much more expensive. Can all be done quickly and without needing actual investment though taxes -

    Encourage people to own small efficient vehicles that are safer around pedestrians and cyclists and to use them less.

    - significant increase in fuel duty so that there are more marginal costs of making the next journey
    - mandatory parking charges everywhere (on street, at workplace, at shops) based on combination of vehicle size, weight and fuel efficiency and power output)
    - Vehicle excise duty - same basis as parking size, weight and emissions (to cut the absurdity of a massive 2 tonne range rover being cheap if they stick some batteries alongside an engine)
    - Cut VAT from Electric (all?) bikes.

    Then the more expensive spending part of it - though still ridiculously cheap compared to the cost of road widening or building bypasses.
    - create safe cycling space (repurpose road space to create protected lanes. Can be done cheaply and quickly with rubber or concrete bolt down blocks in short term).
    - more bus lanes, multiple occupant lanes, bike lanes. less space for driving on existing roads.
    - make public transport cheaper and more frequent.
    • CommentAuthorKenny_M
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020
     
    This thread resonates with me, and particularly the first comment about turning things off. My old house is inefficient in comparison, but my energy use is lower than many people living in modern builds, because we turn things off, and keep the thermostat low.

    Unfortunately I don't see answers to any of this, within the current global political structure. Western capitalism is fundamentally at odds with energy use reduction, because the economic model only works when there is continued economic growth. Economic growth relies on a combination of population growth and a throwaway culture of shiny new things. Most of what goes on in the west seems to be pretendy environmental improvements, that only happen if someone can get richer off the back of it.

    The current alternative, the authoritarian regimes, who could at the stroke of a pen enforce the changes needed, tend to be even worse. Developing countries will want the same lifestyle that we have, but we won't want them to have it because that would further increase emissions. Not normally a fan, but this is a not very well publicised (in the west) comment that Putin made, referring to the flaws in western environmental policy.

    Sorry for getting all political and negative on a green building thread. Not saying we shouldn't do it, but I can't see insulating a floor or having an electric car having much of an impact globally while other countries are building coal fired power stations, and my neighbours are buying SUV's and heated outdoor hot tubs. Also, how can we say that as a country we are serious about reducing energy usage, when you can still buy gas powered outdoor heaters, power boats, jet ski's etc.

    If petrol driven cars are a problem, why is formula 1 legal?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020
     
    Posted By: Simon Still"20% of journeys in Britain are under 1 mile (a distance easily cycled in around 5 minutes);
    38% are under 2 miles (a distance easily cycled in around 10 minutes);
    66% are under 5 miles (a distance easily cycled in around 25 minutes)."

    Well yes, but how many of those are shopping trips, which aren't practical by bike (I've tried)? For journeys under a mile, why not walk?

    significant increase in fuel duty so that there are more marginal costs of making the next journey

    I'm a big fan of this, or better still road-pricing. Insurance should be included in the road price.

    - mandatory parking charges everywhere (on street, at workplace, at shops) based on combination of vehicle size, weight and fuel efficiency and power output)

    How would you implement this? And, to play devil's advocate, why should it cost more to park a gas-guzzling chelsea tractor than a Tesla Model X or whatever? Fine to tax emissions and road space taken but why discrimate on fuel when it's not using any?

    But I do fully agree about the infrastructure. I would cycle a lot more if there were cycle tracks separate from roads. And where I live that means building new. Roads are already too narrow and bus services are being cancelled not embiggened.
    • CommentAuthorSimon Still
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: djhWell yes, but how many of those are shopping trips, which aren't practical by bike (I've tried)? For journeys under a mile, why not walk?


    How many are shopping trips? I don't know. At a guess, a tiny minority. Admittedly there's only two of us but we almost never drive to the supermarket (and when we do it's as part of a longer trip) - we have a large supermarket delivery of bulky/heavy stuff (tins, pasta, toilet rolls, cartons of juice/soya milk, beer etc) about once a month. Local shop for daily needs, shopping trolley to the nearby supermarket about once a week or less.
    Something like this is enough for a fair size shop on a bike - best part of a shopping trolley full -
    https://www.aosom.co.uk/item/homcom-cargo-trailer-bike-w-carrier-utility-luggage~B71-005.html?

    I've visited friends outside London who drive a 5 minute walk to a supermarket to buy a single item. That's not necessary

    Yes, trips up to a mile are easiest walked - that was a cut and paste.

    Posted By: djhI'm a big fan of this, or better still road-pricing. Insurance should be included in the road price.

    Yes, good point - don't know why I said fuel tax. Road pricing all the way. Couple it with gps based speed enforcement/limiters as well.

    Posted By: djhHow would you implement this? And, to play devil's advocate, why should it cost more to park a gas-guzzling chelsea tractor than a Tesla Model X or whatever? Fine to tax emissions and road space taken but why discrimate on fuel when it's not using any?


    Why should it cost more? because we're trying to use the tax system to drive efficient use of road space and resources and parking costs are a pretty effective nudge (people rage at paying anything for parking - making them pay more for their wankpanzer might make them think differently). Most car trips are single occupancy with no luggage. Most of the trips where people need luggage capacity (eg supermarket shop) could be done in something the size of a smart car rather than an SUV.

    And a Tesla Model X is still an overlarge, over powered inefficient use of road space.
    • CommentAuthorCharli
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020
     
    Transport could make a huge difference. And I'm guilty of that too, my commute is a mere 3 miles and most of the shops I need are within 3 miles too. I really shouldn't need a car. But I have one- for a single return trip a week because there's no buses that can get me there in less than 2 hours (its 13 miles), and I daren't cycle it in rush hour. (And because I have the car- I do drive to work half the time too, that's just laziness). I'd also cycle more if places actually had bicycle parking... Out of the 3 big shops near me- one has no cycle parking (lidl), one has a cycle rack that isn't fixed to the floor (tesco) which renders it useless, aldi has cycle parking but its frequently blocked by special buys. Ironically I go to a running club that leaves from the Tesco car park, and I drive because I there is no other way to get there!

    I think people seriously do think that smart meters are meant to save them money. My mother was very confused by hers and claimed 'she didn't know how it works'- well it just measures your leccy/gas consumption.. same as the old one... it isn't magic...

    The greenwash convinces people they're doing enough to save the planet and 'doing their bit', when waaay more is needed.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020
     
    Posted By: Charlithink people seriously do think that smart meters are meant to save them money.


    well if that is the case, Poor Them, just proves that they are being "pushed wrong" : the (alleged) intent behind them (at European level...) was to force people towards *energy transition*

    rather than start a rant, I'll go over to the Other Other thread...

    gg
  4.  
    I really support cycling for short trips in cities, although realistically it won't be practical or effective to build the necessary cycling infrastructure in rural areas in the time frame for net zero.

    Although many car journeys (66%?) may be short, unfortunately it's the 33% of long journeys that burn most of the fuel - eg we drove down south at Xmas, and burned more fuel than in the whole of January.

    Actually I think cycle infrastructure is one of many small changes that individually are very good ideas, but collectively become a displacement activity.

    For example: a family member uses cotton shopping bags when buying organic carrots, saving maybe 5 grammes of plastic bags each week. Then they feel they have 'done their bit' for the environment, so have no hesitation in filling up with 30kg of petrol...
    • CommentAuthorLF
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020
     
    Where is the incentive for people to be frugal, carefully and tread lightly on our planet.
    CO2 and climate change hardly gets covered in school these days. Plastic in the sea is all the rage but is it as important overall ?

    Has anyone seen this site. It gives all sort of stats for the world like population growth and energy usage.
    It seems legit basis. Do not read if feeling in a mood of "our impact on climate change is negligible"
    https://www.worldometers.info/

    10.6 million cars made this year so far, 128k more people born than died today (14 hours in)

    I have a 10 year old 2 litre diesel estate car that has 200k miles on it, it works fine and economy is 45 or more mpg. I need to use it for very long journeys too far for electric cars, I seldom drive in cities where NOX is an issue, it has DPF filter etc.
    Presumably my lowest CO2 impact is to keep it maintained and keep it running rather than get a new one ?
  5.  
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenI do support cycling for short trips in cities, although realistically it won't be practical or effective to build the necessary cycling infrastructure in rural areas in the time frame for net zero. Although many car journeys (66%?) may be short, unfortunately it's the 33% of long journeys that burn most of the fuel


    I don't agree - its a matter of priorities. The Government has budgeted 30Billion for major road schemes from 2020-2025. For rural areas, between towns and villages, take the Dutch approach and build the footways alongside roads for cycling (but allow walking - few people actually walk on them and sharing at those volumes isn't an issue, whereas it is in cities). They might need widening, or building from scratch if there is nothing but we compulsory purchase for HS2, for road widening, for new junctions. They need priority over side roads. BUT they don't need to carry heavy cars and trucks - the cost and complexity of building per mile is vastly less than building roads.

    The average commute by car in UK is 9 miles - that takes about 45 minutes on a bike and, with electric bikes, you don't need to be fit to ride that far. 18 mile daily journey, 230 working days is over 4000 miles per year - more than half the 7600 average annual mileage in the UK.
  6.  
    Posted By: LFPresumably my lowest CO2 impact is to keep it maintained and keep it running rather than get a new one ?

    Almost certainly. But the key is using it less.
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: LF
    I have a 10 year old 2 litre diesel estate car that has 200k miles on it, it works fine and economy is 45 or more mpg. I need to use it for very long journeys too far for electric cars, I seldom drive in cities where NOX is an issue, it has DPF filter etc.
    Presumably my lowest CO2 impact is to keep it maintained and keep it running rather than get a new one ?


    It depends a lot on what car you get, what your local energy mix looks like and how far you drive.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change

    I've replaced most of my short (and non storm) trips with a Tern GSD. I can get loads of shopping in it and a couple of kids. Most drivers respect my space but there are enough bad ones out there that it is dangerous. I'd like to see a lot more one way roads and the other lane given over to cycling.

    https://www.ternbicycles.com/uk/bikes/gsd
  7.  
    Posted By: dereke
    It depends a lot on what car you get, what your local energy mix looks like and how far you drive.


    "compared to a Golf diesel, the e-Golf has a greater carbon footprint in terms of production, but wait: After 125,000 kilometers [77,600 miles] on the road, it surpasses its brother and has a lower carbon footprint.”
    https://www.treehugger.com/cars/why-electric-cars-wont-save-us-it-takes-years-pay-upfront-carbon-emissions.html

    The Tern GSD makes me drool - I really have no use for one but they just look *so much fun*
    • CommentAuthordereke
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2020
     
    Posted By: Simon Stillhttps://www.treehugger.com/cars/why-electric-cars-wont-save-us-it-takes-years-pay-upfront-carbon-emissions.html


    Yeah those figures are wrong (actually just commented on that post) there was a comprehensive rebuttal on twitter from Simon Evans (Carbon Brief) but this is a more comprehensive analysis:

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change

    I think we need EVs in our future, but probably only like 10% of the cars that we currently have.
   
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