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Going green is not cheap

Cutting household carbon emissions has full government support, in theory. But try taking bigger steps to turn your house into an eco-home and you end up generating more heat under your collar than anywhere else. As Jeanette Winterson writes, going green is not only hard work but also excruciatingly expensive because the Government is doing little to help in real terms. In her determination to use eco-friendly building methods when renovating her cottage, the author discovered that, rather than providing incentives, the Government is taxing homeowners trying to do the right thing, adding thousands to the cost of installing rainwater harvesting systems and geothermal energy.

It will take 43 years to recoup the cost of a new boiler

IT IS the end of “energy efficiency week”, and I’m sure you are feeling galvanised into taking action to save the planet. Your thermostat has been turned down, the DVD player has been taken off stand-by, and this morning you boiled just the right amount of water for your cup of tea.

With buildings accounting for 27 per cent of energy losses, we all know that there is more we could do. Much of it is relatively simple, and from next June anyone selling a home will have to obtain a compulsory energy performance certificate to prove that their home has reached the appropriate shade of green.

Cutting household carbon emissions has full government support, in theory. But try taking bigger steps to turn your house into an eco-home and you end up generating more heat under your collar than anywhere else.

As Jeanette Winterson writes, going green is not only hard work but also excruciatingly expensive because the Government is doing little to help in real terms. In her determination to use eco-friendly building methods when renovating her cottage, the author discovered that, rather than providing incentives, the Government is taxing... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

It will take 43 years to recoup the cost of a new boiler

IT IS the end of “energy efficiency week”, and I’m sure you are feeling galvanised into taking action to save the planet. Your thermostat has been turned down, the DVD player has been taken off stand-by, and this morning you boiled just the right amount of water for your cup of tea.

With buildings accounting for 27 per cent of energy losses, we all know that there is more we could do. Much of it is relatively simple, and from next June anyone selling a home will have to obtain a compulsory energy performance certificate to prove that their home has reached the appropriate shade of green.

Cutting household carbon emissions has full government support, in theory. But try taking bigger steps to turn your house into an eco-home and you end up generating more heat under your collar than anywhere else.

As Jeanette Winterson writes, going green is not only hard work but also excruciatingly expensive because the Government is doing little to help in real terms. In her determination to use eco-friendly building methods when renovating her cottage, the author discovered that, rather than providing incentives, the Government is taxing homeowners trying to do the right thing, adding thousands to the cost of installing rainwater harvesting systems and geothermal energy.

Even for those of us planning less ambitious projects, the costs could be hard to justify in financial terms alone. Figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors published this week show that insulating a roof can cost from £525 for a terraced house to £3,130 for a detached house, saving between £140 and £170 a year. That means that homeowners would have to wait for more than 20 years to recoup the financial outlay. Replacing a free-standing boiler is even more expensive, at £3,910. It might cut your bills by up to £90 a year, but it will take you more than 43 years to recoup the full cost. With the average household occupancy lasting only 14 years, there is little financial incentive to make significant energy-saving changes. The sums do not add up.

Fewer than 100,000 properties in the UK have some form of microgeneration system, such as solar panels and geothermal pumps. By contrast, in Germany householders installed more than 75,000 solar power systems alone last year. The difference between the two countries is that in Germany homeowners are paid handsomely for their surplus electricity. Over here, grants aimed at householders installing renewable energy have already run out. This week the Solar Trade Association, the British Wind Energy Association and the Renewable Energy Association said that £3.5 million of government funding had already been allocated halfway through the financial year. The groups fear that householders will not proceed with their installations until next year’s “pot” is made available.

Worries over global warming are not proving enough to make us use alternative sources of energy. Money is the only way to persuade enough householders to cut carbon emissions to make a difference. Homeowners looking to go green need real financial incentives, not another sermon on how to boil a kettle.

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EMPTY HOMES

The first step towards greener living is recycling. There are almost 300,000 homes standing empty in England. These properties have been out of action for at least six months, according to the latest survey by the Halifax bank. Most of these empty homes are in areas where house prices are lagging behind their regional average. For example, the cost of homes in Stoke on Trent, one of the local authorities with the highest number of empty properties, is 35 per cent lower than in surrounding areas. Yet restoring a home which has been vacant for less than three years attracts the full rate of VAT at 17.5 per cent. Building a new home from scratch, on the other hand, does not.

 


Source: http://property.timesonline...

OCT 27 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/5476-going-green-is-not-cheap
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