The changing climate?

What angels invented these splendid ornaments…this firmament of earth between? this zodiac of lights, this tent of dropping clouds, this striped coat of climates?

So the Climate Change Committee says current energy efficiency policies for domestic sector are not enough for the government to reach its own targets on emission reductions under the Climate Change Act.

Apparently, emissions reductions “will not ensue to the extent required under the current framework”. What this basically means is that the biggest success of the CERT scheme, led by the energy suppliers, has been the provision of free energy efficient light bulbs. Whoop-de-do.

I’m still of a mind that the main energy-saving element of these light bulbs is because, as they take such an age to come on, most people simply don’t bother to switch them on at all and just fumble around in the dark.

But it hasn’t been all about light bulbs. The CERT-scheme, although much maligned in the merchant press, has at least brought better insulation to a lot of homes that would probably not have bothered otherwise. Instead, of the current piecemeal process whereby the energy companies decide moreorless what they are going to do and with whom, the Climate Change Committee said that a whole house, street-by-street approach should be taken, involving an energy audit with a follow- up package including installation and financing.

Npower did a survey recently which found that nearly half the people had inadequate levels of insulation and three-quarters of them had no idea what level they should have anyway (270mm according to Part L).

People in general like the idea of getting money off the government for doing stuff and they also like the idea of either keeping up with, or being a step ahead of, their neighbours. So the Climate Change Committees idea for a “neighbourhood approach led by national government, with a delivery role for local government in partnership with energy companies and other appropriate commercial organisations” is a good one if the government is really serious about getting more homes insulated.

But what about this “appropriate commercial organisations”? Could these perhaps be organisations whose function is to keep stock on the ground and deliver it to customers when and where it is required.

Builders merchants take product from manufacturers and deliver it to houses and building sites. It’s called a supply chain. Any scheme that wants to get more homes insulated in the interests of reducing emissions and helping to combat climate change has to take account of them, surely?

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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