For decades now, European countries have been regulating the amount of energy new buildings can consume for heating and electricity. But as these standards get ever tighter, is time to start controlling the embodied energy and wider environmental impact of building materials — and what’s the best way to do it?
Every eurozone government has debt problems and is cutting its spending, Richard Douthwaite says. Defaults and a prolonged depression are inevitable unless countries inject money into their economies in an unconventional way. A prosperous low-carbon economy would be the result
In recent years it’s become increasingly accepted that the age of cheap and abundant oil and gas supplies is coming to an end, and that future energy needs will have to be met from cleaner, more widely available fuel sources. According to Richard Douthwaite, the prospects of exponentially rising costs and failure to ramp up carbon capture and storage will mitigate against coal’s ability to take up the slack
Up till now, the activities of semi-state energy companies like Bord na Móna, ESB & Bord Gais have not won the favour of environmentalists. Richard Douthwaite explains how that situation is destined to rapidly change, and exclusively reveals details of the ambitious new green direction being adopted by Bord na Móna.
Unless greenhouse gas emissions from land are tackled, any efforts to reduce emissions from buildings may fall short in attempting to stave off the worst consequences of climate change. Richard Douthwaite explains how, with a little ingenuity, techniques can be applied to dramatically reduce land emissions whilst simultaneously providing new raw material streams and energy source
The international body that advises most major governments across the world on energy policy is obstructing a global switch to renewable power because of its ties to the oil, gas and nuclear sectors, a group of politicians and scientists claims today.
World record oil prices are being shattered so regularly that breaking news stories on the matter seem cliché, with other fossil energy sources heading in the same direction. Richard Douthwaite describes the first significant signs that Irish banks may be starting to take the issue on board regarding property lending.
The unprecedented development seen in Ireland in the Celtic Tiger years was fueled by the availability of cheap, abundant fossil energy. As the boom ends, the state is attempting to boost the economy with investment in larger than ever infrastructural projects which will not benefit many of the tax payers who are funding them, and crucially don’t recognize the extent to which peak oil production will affect their viability, as Richard Douthwaite reveals.
In terms of 1972 money, oil prices averaged about six dollars a barrel between 1987 and 2000. Last October they reached $40. They are now around $50 a barrel which means that they are beginning to climb back into the territory which caused the global economy to crash in 1979/80.
The need to reduce CO2 emissions and energy consumption from buildings has never been more immediate. There is a growing consensus that we must reduce our dependence on rapidly depleting, carbon intensive fossil fuels, which, amongst other things, will involve overhauling how buildings are designed, constructed and used.
As our recognition of the problems of dwindling fossil fuel supplies and climate change grows, the need to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of our homes becomes increasingly apparent. Leading energy consultant Patrick Waterfield describes why and how we should switch to zero heating homes.