Thursday, 6 December 2007


Trafalgar Square eco house attracts comment

The Mayor of London's temporary green showhome in Trafalgar square has attracted comments from the building industry as well as green groups. Ken Livingstone launched the Mayor of London's 'green homes' service, from outside the specially built eco house in London this week. The initiative has attracted mainly favourable comment, but it seems clear that the government needs to do far more in the way of financial support for homeowners to make their properties more efficient.

Kevin Brennan, National Housing Manager, VELUX Company Ltd said "From the architectural design of Ken Livingstone's eco house and his consumer focused green homes service, it seems clear that London's Mayor is focusing his efforts on improving the energy efficiency of London's existing housing stock, and rightly so. Too much attention has previously been given to newly built properties, while not enough effort or financial incentives have been provided to improve older, less energy efficient housing.

"However, while initiatives such as the green homes scheme, which will offer Londoners free advice on energy saving measures, could play an important role in improving energy efficiency, this does not go far enough. While the Mayor's latest initiative is commendable, it is restricted to London and it is the Government's responsibility to make such initiatives accessible across the UK.

"If the Government is really serious about reducing carbon emissions from existing housing stock, what we really need to see is a speedier, and more realistic grant scheme to encourage existing home owners to incorporate energy saving products such as solar hot water systems into their homes. The current subsidy available in England is £400 per household. This is woefully inadequate and falls extremely short of existing grant schemes running in Scotland and Ireland".

Friends of the Earth have welcomed the initiative after new research commissioned by the group showed that it is possible to reduce the emissions produced by UK homes by 80 per cent, saving householders as much as £475 a year.

Friend of the Eearth's green homes campaigner said “We are delighted that the Mayor of London's groundbreaking climate strategy is now becoming a reality. Many Londoners are keen to do their bit to tackle climate change and cut their energy bills, but their efforts are frustrated by lack of advice and a maze of schemes and contractors.

The Mayor’s green homes service will start to take the hassle out of going green.

Friends of the Earth report published last week showed that we could cut emissions from Britain’s homes by 80 per cent by 2050. In London the Mayor’s ability to make this happen is limited by lack of powers and funding, so it is crucial the Government does its bit by introducing a comprehensive package of tax breaks and grants for energy efficiency. It must also encourage people to install renewable energy technologies such as solar panels by guaranteeing a premium payment for any electricity sold to the grid."

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