Monday, 23 April 2007

Sending the Right Signals

It's official. Any home sold in Britain from June 1st must include an official Energy Performance

Certificate. The ratings will assess whether the house has double-glazed windows, loft insulation, and other measures, with the very greenest homes receiving an "A" grade and the very worst getting a "G". Unfortunately, about 70% of Britain's homes would only get a "D" grade without extensive (and expensive) retrofitting. With so little to choose from, experts believe that the energy efficiency rating will not have much effect on home prices in the near term.

So why bother?

Firstly, these information packs are useful because they send a message that energy efficiency matters.

Energy efficiency will become part of the regular vocabulary of builders, estate agents, home buyers and sellers. And that increased awareness will hopefully start to affect how houses are built in future.

The main reason I like these ratings, though, is because they help make the things that drive our energy consumption more visible. If your house is like mine, the gas and electricity meters are hidden in a cupboard or under the stairs. The quarterly utility bill only gives one number and doesn't tell you whether it's poor insulation, an inefficient furnace, or something else that's the culprit for high fuelcosts.

This is important because, while some of the energy we consume is truly useful, some of it is a waste.

Leaving the television on standby doubles its total electricity consumption, without providing any additional benefit. That's money down the drain - and carbon into the atmosphere.

The government-mandated energy ratings are good because they tell us where that energy is going. And that lets us figure out what to do about it.

At Carbon Clear we make a point of helping our customers get the right signals. Our carbon calculators help people see the impact of their everyday decisions, and our corporate carbon audits help businesses identify what's driving their greenhouse gas emissions. Then we provide practical advice and carbon credits from fantastic projects to help you control your carbon impact.

(Carbon Clear homepage)