AECB News : Soapbox

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Carrots, Sticks and Tambourines; A Donkey Serenade – by AECB Guest Author, Andrew Warren

On average, we are all 18% wealthier in real terms than we were at the start of the century. On average, we are achieving this increase in affluence whilst using 14% less energy than in 2000. One way this turnaround has been achieved is by treating us all like donkeys. How come? Well, there are three ways to get donkeys to do things. You wave a carrot in front of their noses. You bash them on the rump with a stick. And most importantly, around their ears, you rattle away on a tambourine. All three work together, to get the » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on January 25th, 2016

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Does Passivhaus Pay? – by David Olivier

History In March 1983, I stayed in a ‘superinsulated retrofit’ in Boston, USA. The three-storey row house with basement was of timber-frame construction [1]. In 1985, I visited a similarly ambitious retrofit in Toronto, Canada, featuring a solid brick-walled ‘heritage building’. In 1994, I visited a ‘chainsaw’ retrofit’ in central Canada. It gained its nickname because the rafter overhangs were removed using one of these, as a prelude to insulating and draughtproofing the house thoroughly from the outside. The work went ahead in 1982. These retrofits were the sequel to the new superinsulated buildings which began to appear in North » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on December 2nd, 2015

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Decline and Fall – by AECB Guest Author, Andrew Warren

Job losses in the insulation and related industries continue to mount. Because of the disparate nature of these industries, and in particular its delivery agents, precise figures are difficult to establish, even by the relevant trade associations. A new survey launched on the back of the Government’s controversial feed-in tariff (FiT) consultation has found that 70% of solar installers are concerned that the anticipated cuts to subsidies – set to be confirmed this autumn – could cripple their financial stability. The survey, conducted by the NAPIT Trade Association, which represents tradespeople and installers within that part the building services sector, also found » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on November 5th, 2015

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Time to Wake up to the Reality – Article by Andrew Warren

This column appeared in the October 2015 issue of Energy in Buildings and Industry.   Amazement, shock and concern greeted the news that energy use has declined over the last 50 years. But will the Government finally catch on to the benefits of energy efficiency? In September, the Warren Report was headlined “The Silent Revolution in UK Energy Use”. In it, I revealed that over the past fifty years UK GDP wealth has increased by almost threefold while at the same time overall energy consumption across the economy has actually fallen (by about 5 per cent). The level of interest » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on October 27th, 2015

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We Don’t, and Can’t, Know How Much it will Cost to Tackle Climate Change

Article by David Roberts taken from Grist (http://grist.org/)   How much will it cost humanity to avoid dangerous climate change? Debates over this contentious topic inevitably focus on a set of economic models that seek to estimate those costs over the course of the next century. The latest such analysis is the 5th IPCC Assessment on Mitigation of Climate Change, which has people confidently asserting that properly addressing climate change will trim 0.06 percent a year off global GDP growth. Not 0.05 a year. Not 0.07. But 0.06. The much-ballyhooed New Climate Economy report, out earlier this year, draws many of the same conclusions. Can we really know » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on October 23rd, 2015

Four Reasons Jeremy Corbyn’s Innovative Energy Policy is no 80s Throwback

Stephen Hall, University of Leeds Have you heard the one about Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to renationalise the energy system? In an interview with Greenpeace, the Labour MP and leadership candidate said: “I would personally wish that the Big Six were under public ownership, or public control in some form.” It would be easy to take this quote out of context, add up the market value of the Big Six and suggest the Corbyn campaign wants to spend £124 billion renationalising the utilities. Yet, in the next breath however Corbyn added: “But I don’t want to take into public ownership every » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on September 16th, 2015

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Don’t Let Davey’s Work be in Vain – Article by Andrew Warren

July/August 2015 This column appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of Energy in Buildings & Industry. Andrew Warren examines how one of the proudest new initiatives of 2010/15 Ministers in the Department of Energy and Climate Change was deliberately scrapped by perennially hostile civil servants, even before the new Government took office. This is a tale of how a key political initiative collapsed, from being the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change’s “number one priority” in 2012, to being surreptitiously dismantled by civil servants – even before he had formally left office. On his first day as Department of » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on July 22nd, 2015

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Energy Efficiency as a Resource – Article by Dr Steven Fawkes

Article taken from his blog ‘Only Eleven Percent’ At the recent EU Sustainable Energy Week, Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said “we should treat energy efficiency as an energy resource in its own right” and in fact the Commission now talks about energy efficiency first. Efficiency enthusiasts have long advocated this view so it is good to see it beginning to be adopted by the EC. If efficiency is to be treated as a resource we need to map the language of efficiency onto the language of other energy resources. The energy and finance industry has its own language when taking about » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on July 22nd, 2015

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Soapbox

AECB soapbox is a platform which members and guest contributors can use to put forward an idea, view, opinion, or a distinctive practice or product that they are itching to share with fellow AECB members. Soapboxes are (to be) published generally one per month, and will be flagged up in the monthly Network newsletter, and published on the AECB website, in the (new) AECB news area. A soapbox item will be quite short – around 700 words, and will be clearly identified as opinion. The opinion can be passionately held, but should be backed up with convincing argument. However we » Read More

Posted in Soapbox on August 16th, 2014

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Soapbox Article from Gary Newman: “Stop Dragging your Feet on a Materials Standard”

With the short lives of some of our commercial buildings,  embodied emissions may make up more than half of their total lifetime impact.  Yet government has turned its face away from a sustainable materials standard, and industry are dragging their feet quite unnecessarily, argues AECB member Gary Newman, a founder of the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products. The government  recently turned down the opportunity to make a dramatic impact on the emissions of our building stock, by declining to bring in a standard for the embodied impact of new buildings. Yet the arguments advanced are weak and defeatist . In its response » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on May 2nd, 2014

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