December 8, 2007
by Canadian Architect
Canada has a lot to learn from the UK. Mayor Livingstone’s new initiative to improve the energy efficiency of London homes is being welcomed by Friends of the Earth. The environmental group revealed new research last week which showed that it is possible to reduce the emissions produced by UK homes by 80 percent, saving householders as much as 475 a year.
According to Dave Timms, Green Homes campaigner, “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.
“A Friends of the Earth report published last week showed that we could cut emissions from Britain’s homes by 80 percent 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.”
The Home Truths report was published by the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and was commissioned by Friends of the Earth and The Co-operative Bank as part of The Big Ask Campaign. Home Truths argues that the Labour government has not done enough to end fuel poverty and reduce the energy wasted by British homes. It proposes a transformation of the energy market to make it easier and cheaper for householders to save energy and generate green energy.
The average household could see their energy bills cut by at least 66 percent, equivalent to a 475 annual saving at today’s prices. By 2050, UK wide savings could be worth 12.3 billion a year. This approach would also cut carbon emissions from UK homes by 80 percent by 2050. UK homes currently account for 27 percent of the UK’s carbon footprint. It would also ensure four million households in the UK, who can’t afford to heat their homes, have a warm and healthy home to live in.
Friends of the Earth is also calling on the UK government to strengthen its proposals for a new climate change law. Last month the UK government introduced a new law to Parliament to cut Britain’s contribution to climate change. This will be the first national legislation anywhere in the world to set legally binding targets for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Friends of the Earth, which has led the campaign for a climate change law, has welcomed the move but is calling on the government to strengthen its proposals. The environmental campaign group says it must be strengthened to ensure a cut of at least 80 percent in emissions by 2050, include pollution from Britain’s share of international aviation and shipping, and set annual milestones to ensure that the plan stays on track. The bill could be law within six months.
For more information, please visit www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/emissions_from_uk_homes_co_27112007.html