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What Can UK House-Builders Do To Achieve Our Renewable Energy Targets?


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With former PM Tony Blair having agreed to EU targets of reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2020, how much chance does the UK have of achieving a shift towards Alternative Energy sources?

Here in the UK, we seem to be insistent on making it as difficult as possible to become a greener, less polluting state, regardless of the opportunities that we are presented with. Residents complain about wind farms near their homes, a not in my back yard approach. Sustainable technologies cost too much to implement without government grants.

The regulations that the government has set on construction and planning seems to be preventing much progress from being made towards the objectives set out in PPS18. Perhaps it is about time that the national government stopped dancing around the subject with documents and policies which are then translated and diluted by regional development agencies, and did something proactive about the problem. The government needs to stop distancing itself from getting its hands mucky.

Regardless of what you believe about global warming, we have a huge problem providing power and heat energies that are affordable to the average household without compromising our environment. The average home creates over 5 tons of carbon dioxide per year, and with another 3 million homes planned by 2020, we could potentially see an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide produced by 15 million tons at current levels of emissions.

The government has set the standards for energy efficiency, with better insulation in homes, encouragement to build close to urban areas, and all the rest of it. But when are they going to realise that it is the provision of the power for these homes that needs to be sustainable, rather than merely the homes cutting the amount of energy they use? The households of the UK account for one third of the total in carbon emissions.

With so much development happening in the UK, both house-building and commercial, the scope for Alternative Energy is huge. Were those 3 million homes fitted with sustainable energy alternatives, such as solar panels, ground-sourced water and district heating systems, how much less would emissions be?

Of course, the average family would struggle to include such items in any house renovations even with government grants which are currently available, but house-builders and the government should take the bull by the horns and do something. It is not a case of homes becoming self sufficient, rather that they consume less unsustainable energy than before. New households could also look forward to lower energy bills, whilst still being able to light and heat their homes efficiently and cleanly.
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