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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.

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    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2021
     
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-56552484

    Another HM Government classic.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    I haven't seen it explained why the scheme had to be axed rather than swiftly reorganised.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    according to the 'article £300m previously allocated for the GHG will now go into a programme administered by local authorities, targeted at lower income households.'

    300m is pitiful - I thought it was initially a couple of billion.. (still inadequate).

    imo we need clarity on grants and to start ramping up gas prices - if you are on mains gas a heat pump will save carbon but not money so not many are going to cough up circa 10k for a heat pump.
    • CommentAuthorSimonD
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: jms452according to the 'article £300m previously allocated for the GHG will now go into a programme administered by local authorities, targeted at lower income households.'

    300m is pitiful - I thought it was initially a couple of billion.. (still inadequate).

    imo we need clarity on grants and to start ramping up gas prices - if you are on mains gas a heat pump will save carbon but not money so not many are going to cough up circa 10k for a heat pump.


    Unfortunately ramping up gas prices isn't going to achieve anything other than to penalise those who can least afford it.

    I agree the heatpump situation is problematic. My recent experience is that a heatpump, after receiving full GHG, would have cost me over £7k in upfront capital cost as well as costing me more every year to run than gas, even after receiving the remaining RHI. My rough calculations suggested I'd be out of pocket by more £8k after the 7 years.

    One of the bizarre things I noticed with the way in which the Green Homes Grant scheme was explained was that it illustrated installing a heat pump would give me the greatest per annum savings in heating costs, much more than installing better insulation. Something is clearly wrong in the way the illustrations are weighted in that capital costs didn't seem to be included and I wasn't required to first install better insulation.

    What is a shame is that despite various programmes over the past couple of decades to subsidise insulation schemes, not a lot has changed. The current bureaucracy, however, is one big hindrance. I remember in a previous house we need loads of loft insulation - it had none whatsoever - and thanks to a scheme running then, I got the whole lot to significant depth delivered on the back of a lorry for £98 for diy install. All I needed to do then was call our utility company.

    I do think they need to support diy as well as profressional installation.

    The problem is multi-faceted, but there does seem to be the issue that reducing energy consumption isn't particularly valued yet on a wide social scale and there is the problem of expensive yet often poor workmanship provided in lots of retrofit installations.

    I bet the government and policy makers are praying for a silver bullet..hydrogen anyone? :bigsmile::wink:
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: SimonDI bet the government and policy makers are praying for a silver bullet..hydrogen anyone?http:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/bigsmile.gif" alt=":bigsmile:" title=":bigsmile:" >http:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title=":wink:" >



    Indeed, Any scheme to upgrade the insulation on houses will inevitably come with horror stories - about 25% of the people I know who have had significant building work done have had an absolute nightmare.

    In that context, however great the success there will always be problems with the Murdoch press rubbing their hands together to publicise. Those '[insert environmental measure here] ruined my life' story is very powerful even when/if it all gets rectified later.

    see - CWI, Solar, ASHP, ...

    imo this is why government struggles with this so much - they have to suitably distance themselves with outsourcing and bureaucracy and avoid any measure of compulsion.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: jms452start ramping up gas prices

    Agree but electricity prices are generally linked to gas prices so that link needs to be broken somehow as well. Plus avoid it being regressive on the poor. Can anyone say 'revenue neutral carbon tax'?

    Posted By: SimonDI remember in a previous house we need loads of loft insulation

    Indeed, as I remember it you could buy loft insulation very cheaply because it was subsidised by the energy companies. Also, VAT was 5%. Now we're out of the EU we should be able to reinstate that, no?
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    As it says in the BBC report, the £300m previously allocated for the GHG will now go into a programme administered by local authorities, targeted at lower income households. So I suppose at least the money will go to poorer people where it can be the most helpful.

    Yes I well remember the days of subsidised loft insulation and I capitalised on it when we did the attic in our previous house. It would be good to see this scheme reintroduced as insulating the loft should be well within the capabilities of most people. In fact I personally would not trust any contractor with this task in my house as it is well known that they literally throw the stuff down and merrily cover any electrical cables that may be in the way, rather than carefully tucking the quilt under them. Also there is the risk that they will block the ventilation of the attic by pushing the quilt tight into the eaves.
  1.  
    The previous owner of our place paid somebody to put wool insulation in the loft.

    I found it up there, neatly stacked in its rolls with the plastic wrappers still on....
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Maybe we need a totally different approach. It seems to me that one of the most successful energy schemes has been feed in tariffs. For those who need encouragement rather than up-front grant aid, something similar could be done to encourage energy efficiency.

    That is, Government could pay people for the energy they save. Submit 3 years of gas / electricity bills, and for every unit saved on future use, pay a proportion of the saving into an account for the individual up to a ceiling - say 150% of the invoiced value of energy efficiency work undertaken or (for those of us into DIY) materials purchased. Perhaps vary the percentage according to the nature of the work - 100% for loft insulation through to 150% for IWE / EWI. OK, needs more work, but...
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: SimonD

    The problem is multi-faceted, but there does seem to be the issue that reducing energy consumption isn't particularly valued yet on a wide social scale and there is the problem of expensive yet often poor workmanship provided in lots of retrofit installations.



    Here is certainly where the problem needs to be addressed first. Yes, we do have some who produce very good quality work but the majority that I see are both clueless and also don't care about what good work looks like.

    On top of that you are correct IMO that the emphasis should be on reducing the energy usage through better insulation. Only when this is achieved should any thought be given to putting taxes up on energy.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Let’s keep talking about reducing energy use - I am lovin it, a key that needs to be turned
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenI found it up there, neatly stacked in its rolls with the plastic wrappers still on....

    I was going to comment that I had heard of cases like that :bigsmile: When we first moved here I was walking around the neighbourhood and saw a man blowing cavity insulation into what looked to be a fairly new build. I was curious and he said it was remedial work under warranty, because the builder hadn't actually put the required insulation in :devil:
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: JontiOn top of that you are correct IMO that the emphasis should be on reducing the energy usage through better insulation. Only when this is achieved should any thought be given to putting taxes up on energy.

    I agree that we should concentrate on trying to increase insulation (and airtightness plus MV). But I fear we are running out of time to be able to have the luxury of waiting until this is done before explaining why (i.e. putting up the cost of energy). We need to reduce energy usage quickly.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Posted By: Mike1Maybe we need a totally different approach. It seems to me that one of the most successful energy schemes has been feed in tariffs. For those who need encouragement rather than up-front grant aid, something similar could be done to encourage energy efficiency.

    Then again we could just reduce the grant for EVs and cut it off at a very low level instead. Or just stop the latest grant scheme arbitrarily. Maybe that would work better :devil: :cry:
    • CommentAuthorkristeva
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    To illustrate the benefits of loft insulation my neighbour (builder) was called to a job last week where the client requested he removed some of the insulation in the loft as the upper floors of his house were too hot. He entered the loft and discovered the insulation was 460mm thick!
  2.  
    Posted By: kristevaTo illustrate the benefits of loft insulation my neighbour (builder) was called to a job last week where the client requested he removed some of the insulation in the loft as the upper floors of his house were too hot. He entered the loft and discovered the insulation was 460mm thick!

    Surely removing insulation must be the wrong approach, so when you are too hot do you a) open a window, b) turn the thermostat down or c) keep the upstairs doors closed + b) if needed. ....answers on a postcard !!
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2021
     
    Certainly removing insulation is NOT sensible, rational or sustainable- insane
    • CommentAuthorkristeva
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2021
     
    Posted By: Peter_in_Hungary
    Posted By: kristevaTo illustrate the benefits of loft insulation my neighbour (builder) was called to a job last week where the client requested he removed some of the insulation in the loft as the upper floors of his house were too hot. He entered the loft and discovered the insulation was 460mm thick!

    Surely removing insulation must be the wrong approach, so when you are too hot do you a) open a window, b) turn the thermostat down or c) keep the upstairs doors closed + b) if needed. ....answers on a postcard !!


    Well exactly, I wish I'd asked a few more questions.
    • CommentAuthormalakoffee
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: djh
    Agree but electricity prices are generally linked to gas prices so that link needs to be broken somehow as well. Plus avoid it being regressive on the poor. Can anyone say 'revenue neutral carbon tax'?


    Revenue-neutral Carbon Tax .
    As in remove or reduce Tax on many other things and bung it all on Carbon/Fuel .
    Someone must have modelled this ?

    But I remember the well-intentioned "Fuel Price Escalator" that some cowardly government removed back in the early 2000s. I vaguely remember protesters blockading fuel depots to disrupt deliveries to petrol stations.

    More recently, the Gillet Jaune protests in France started out as a protest against environmental, fuel-price hikes.

    Perhaps the only equitable solution would be to give everyone a Carbon Ration.
    I'd be delighted, but the voters might not go for it :wink:

    Here we are - locked into a cycle of self-destruction. Pathetically depended on fossil fuels - despite being adaptable, intelligent and educated. . . . . Glad I don't have kids . . .
    PS.
    Always available for fun at parties , me . . . :wink:
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2021
     
    Posted By: malakoffeeRevenue-neutral Carbon Tax .
    As in remove or reduce Tax on many other things and bung it all on Carbon/Fuel .

    No, as in tax things according to their 'carbon content' (whatever that is) and return *all* such revenue to the populace as per-head payments. So take-from-the-consumers and give-to-the-masses. Makes no difference to any other taxes.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 3rd 2021
     
    Posted By: malakoffeeAs in remove or reduce Tax on many other things and bung it all on Carbon/Fuel .
    Posted By: djhNo, as in tax things according to their 'carbon content' and return *all* such revenue to the populace as per-head payments.
    They're both approaches which have been discussed seriously. I have to say, though, that I prefer DJH's not least because it shuts up those who say such things will hit the poor worst.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: Ed DaviesThey're both approaches which have been discussed seriously. I have to say, though, that I prefer DJH's not least because it shuts up those who say such things will hit the poor worst.


    But that all depends on what the items are and how central they are to every day life. The problem with a none means tested tax is it will ALWAYS hit the poorest most if it is on every day items. Means testing is too bureaucratic to work. In my opinion, the best way is to offer a better and affordable alternative allowing the problem item to be phased out.

    No houses in the UK should be being built which aren't highly energy efficient yet we are further away from that now than 30 years ago. And looking at the lack of rolling out any sort of nation wide strategy for electric cars it seems this too is not going to happen.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: JontiThe problem with a none means tested tax is it will ALWAYS hit the poorest most if it is on every day items.
    Of course, but if the “dividend” (as James Hansen calls it) is paid out equally to all then the poorest will be net better off.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: JontiBut that all depends on what the items are and how central they are to every day life. The problem with a none means tested tax is it will ALWAYS hit the poorest most if it is on every day items. Means testing is too bureaucratic to work. In my opinion, the best way is to offer a better and affordable alternative allowing the problem item to be phased out.

    The tax doesn't work like that as Ed has explained. It hits the biggest consumers most and they tend to be the richest. It has no effect at all on an 'average' person, and it pays money to poor people, who consume less.

    Pretty much all existing taxes are means tested in one way or another. Income tax has bands and allowances etc. Council tax has bands. CGT has allowances etc etc. So means-testing isn't too bureaucratic, but simply isn't needed in this case.

    If you have a better and affordable alternative to all the things that produce carbon emissions available right now, please please put them on the market and solve climate change overnight. :bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: djh
    The tax doesn't work like that as Ed has explained. It hits the biggest consumers most and they tend to be the richest. It has no effect at all on an 'average' person, and it pays money to poor people, who consume less.



    SO the rich man in his well insulated house and with the array of solar panels on the roof providing free energy and extra income whilst being on a super low tariff is paying more than the poor man in the flat with no insulation paying for his electricity on a high cost pre-paid meter.

    As for means testing. Yes I am aware that many taxes are means tested but it is wrong to say they are simple to implement.

    As for an affordable and better alternative it is called progress and without it you would still be sitting in a cave wondering if there wasn't a way to be a little warmer. So no I am afraid I do not have such an answer off the top of my head but that does not mean there will not be some sort of improvement coming. :wink:
    • CommentAuthorSimonD
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: djh
    The tax doesn't work like that as Ed has explained. It hits the biggest consumers most and they tend to be the richest. It has no effect at all on an 'average' person, and it pays money to poor people, who consume less.

    Pretty much all existing taxes are means tested in one way or another. Income tax has bands and allowances etc. Council tax has bands. CGT has allowances etc etc. So means-testing isn't too bureaucratic, but simply isn't needed in this case.


    This is simply not correct. There are direct and indirect taxes, both of which function differently and are not all means tested. Both council tax and VAT are regressive taxes, even if some people are inclined to suggest VAT is broadly neutral - however, this depends on where people spend their money. Therefore, if people do not have a choice in spending their money in a particular place and a tax is applied to spending on that place, then it's likely to end up regressive. The only reason why VAT becomes broadly neutral is because spending by the poorer parts of the population tends to be on more items that do not attract the same levels of VAT.

    See for example:

    "Council tax, however, is markedly regressive as it is not linked to income, with the poorest tenth of the population paying 8% of their income on council tax, while the next 50% pay 4-5% and the richest 40% paying 2-3%"

    (https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2019/05/council-tax-only-regressive-tax-uk)

    The ONS states:

    "However, indirect taxes (such as Value Added Tax (VAT) and alcohol duties) can be considered both regressive or broadly neutral; the poorest one-fifth of people paid the equivalent of 27.1% of their household disposable income in indirect taxation, compared with 14.3% for the richest one-fifth of people. However, the incidence of indirect taxes on expenditure – which they are levied on – is more evenly balanced; the poorest one-fifth of people paid 19.2% compared with 17.1% for the richest one-fifth."

    (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/personalandhouseholdfinances/incomeandwealth/bulletins/theeffectsoftaxesandbenefitsonhouseholdincome/financialyearending2018)

    Perhaps some kind of carbon emission levy could devised as at least one thing we do know is that the richest percent or so of the population do emit the vast amount of carbon.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: SimonDThis is simply not correct.

    I think you're talking solely about the second paragraph of mine that you quoted here. It's an issue that I'm not particularly bothered about and certainly don't want to divert to discussing here.

    Perhaps some kind of carbon emission levy could devised as at least one thing we do know is that the richest percent or so of the population do emit the vast amount of carbon.

    And then you go on to exactly agree with my main point, unless I'm radically misunderstanding you.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: JontiSO the rich man in his well insulated house and with the array of solar panels on the roof providing free energy and extra income whilst being on a super low tariff is paying more than the poor man in the flat with no insulation paying for his electricity on a high cost pre-paid meter.


    I think this is a bit of a misrepresentation of a revenue neutral carbon tax

    Small flat = net beneficiary
    public transport = net beneficiary

    Big house = net contributor
    SUV/Porsche = net contributor
    foreign holidays = net contributor
    if they put solar on the roof to reduce this a bit that's the point of the RNCT

    [cross post with dgh below]
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: JontiSO the rich man in his well insulated house and with the array of solar panels on the roof providing free energy and extra income whilst being on a super low tariff is paying more than the poor man in the flat with no insulation paying for his electricity on a high cost pre-paid meter.

    If the rich man chooses to spend his riches on minimising his carbon footprint, then good for him. The point at issue is how to persuade people who don't make that effort to concentrate more. Social problems are a completely separate subject that may have some relevance somewhere else on this board.

    As for means testing. Yes I am aware that many taxes are means tested but it is wrong to say they are simple to implement.

    As I mention above, I really don't want to get into a discussion on taxation on this board. It's supposed to be about building. But you didn't argue whether they were complicated or simple. You said they couldn't work. That was what I was criticising, by pointing out counterexamples.

    As for an affordable and better alternative it is called progress and without it you would still be sitting in a cave wondering if there wasn't a way to be a little warmer. So no I am afraid I do not have such an answer off the top of my head but that does not mean there will not be some sort of improvement coming.

    So your suggestion that progress tomorrow is an alternative to today's problems is a nonsense.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2021
     
    Posted By: jms452
    Posted By: JontiSO the rich man in his well insulated house and with the array of solar panels on the roof providing free energy and extra income whilst being on a super low tariff is paying more than the poor man in the flat with no insulation paying for his electricity on a high cost pre-paid meter.


    I think this is a bit of a misrepresentation of a revenue neutral carbon tax

    Small flat = net beneficiary
    public transport = net beneficiary

    Big house = net contributor
    SUV/Porsche = net contributor
    foreign holidays = net contributor
    if they put solar on the roof to reduce this a bit that's the point of the RNCT

    [cross post with dgh below]


    Correct but that was not what being discussed.
   
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