What if we declared climate change a crisis and put some serious resources to this type of initiative?
We've seen plenty of projects putting solar on affordable or social housing. But every good TreeHugger knows that, before looking at renewable generation, we should first figure out how to reduce overall demand so there's less renewable energy that needs to be generated.
Lloyd has highlighted the work of Dutch initiative Enegiesprong in the past, identifying it as one of just five solutions that could collectively roll back carbon emissions. So it was good to see that this effort – which involves pre-fabricated insulated cladding, rooftop solar, smart water heaters and other relatively off-the-shelf solutions to retrofit existing houses – is now making inroads in the UK too.As Business Green reports, some 150 social housing homes in Nottingham, England, are becoming some of the first to receive funding (from the European Union, Brexiteers should note!), and initial pilot homes are showing a rather impressive 50% drop in overall energy bills.
It should be noted, of course, that costs are relatively high – £85,000 per property, in fact – which means the savings of £60 or so a month are going to take many, many decades to recoup if we look at energy bills alone. It's worth noting, however, that Energiesprong also claims significant reductions in home maintenance costs, improvements in overall health and comfort, as well as the fact that the home looks significantly nicer from the outside too. Add to that the fact that mass adoption of this approach would accelerate Britain's already falling need for energy generation, and one can imagine that there are significant societal savings too. Oh, and then there's this thing called climate change...
Given some of the other projects our elected leaders are willing to squabble over cash for, I'd personally argue that this is money well spent. And the more such projects are undertaken, the lower the costs will become. Here's hoping we see many, many more.