Energy Efficiency Awards

by Michael Smith

The National Energy Efficiency Awards are being held on Tuesday 2 December 2008.

Here companies and individuals will be commended for their efforts in reducing their use of energy raising awareness of energy efficiency or helping to meet UK carbon emission targets.

Interestingly, recent research findings from Legal & General’s general insurance business shows that 96% of Brits are already taking steps or planning to take steps to be green. 78% said that they are either turning or intending to turn lights off in empty rooms and 71% are not leaving their television on standby.

Other changes Brits are making so their homes are more energy efficient include:
· 72% are already using low energy light bulbs
· 37% have double glazing or draft proofing
· 25% have installed extra loft insulation

And when looking for a new home:
· Almost three in five Britons (59%) would consider buying a house with solar panels
· 40% would opt for a carbon neutral house
· 33% would like to buy a house made totally from locally sourced materials.

Ruth Wilkins, Head of Communications at Legal & General’s general insurance business commented: “Increasing awareness of the environmental impact that our lifestyles may have on our surroundings could potentially change the look of our homes in the future. There are many small steps Brits are able to take to make their homes more energy efficient and as a result more environmentally friendly. However, those considering more major modifications, such as solar panels should check their house insurance with their provider to make sure there are no implications to the cover they have in place.”

These findings are based on research conducted by Legal & General on the Changing Face of British Homes, which surveyed a GB representative sample of over 4,000 adults.

In addition to that it has to be mentioned that if homeowners wish to install solar voltaic panels or solar heating panels, in the same way with (small) wind turbines, they best check with their local council or extension office prior to taking this further. Some councils do not permit such panels on roof and definitely there seems to still be an great “No! No!” As far as wind turbines are concerned.

While we there are no longer supposed to be any restrictions as to the installation of solar panes, whether voltaic cells or solar heating, as well as wind turbines of the small variety, according to information that was circulating some time back, some councils, a great number in fact, still object to such installations or definitely take actions against such instalations that have applied for planning consent in advance.

So-called energy saving light bulbs, aka compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), while, probably, saving energy have, in my view, an environmental problem and that is the fact that they are loaded with mercury, as I have mentioned before. Therefore I wonder whether it is such a great idea, the use of them, and the fact that we are, basically, being forced, by law, to switch over to those lights.

When it comes to energy consumption and especially to the reduction of the same, the simple act of turning off unnecessary lights and devices it still the best way of all.

The problem, even aside from the fact that they contain mercury, that CFLs have is that they do not perform well, and their lifespans are drastically reduced, by the act or turning them on and then off shortly after. When initially turned on CFLs should remain on for a min of fifteen minutes to have the gas be fully active. After that it will be OK to turn them on and off as and when needed. After the first turning on of the day they should, however, warm up first, so to speak, before turning them off again; about, as said, this takes 15 minutes. This, in my view does not make sense.

But, oh well...

© M Smith (Veshengro), December 2008 & FD Consumer Dynamics