From the Greenest Government Ever to Green Industry Bashers

A posting on Think Left (1) on August 29 by Pam Field @earwiggle asked the question Why is the Tory Government Hammering Green Industry? and included the following incredible list of this governments achievements to date:

From the Greenest Government Ever, to within a few months, and as Pam Field comments, behaving like the most foolish, selfish  government in living memory – if not ever.

(1) The purpose of Think Left is to present a view of politics from a left-wing perspective

(2) added by me

Advertisements

A Green Deal that could have done so much. RIP

It could have been such a good deal, but it now seems the Green Deal, the green flagship of our current government is dead.

Going back to 2011/12 – the concept of a scheme that promised to reduce fuel poverty, reduce carbon,  improve our housing stock, and create a vibrant, certified (PAS2030) market sector – Green Deal looked brilliant. It certainly put sustainability thinking on the agenda of many organisations in the construction, maintenance, services and built environment sectors.

My workshops and presentations at that time, More Than Just a Green Deal tried to widen the debate – embedding more resilient and sustainability thinking into green deal. (see related Green Deal blog posts here)

But somehow along the way Green Deal got lost, became mired in politics, in energy company greed and bureaucratic red tape. The company set up by the Government to aggregate loans for the Green Deal was bailed out recently with a multi-million-pound loan of public money.

‘In a parliamentary inquiry held in September, MPs called the Green Deal a “disappointing failure”, with flawed planning that has left consumers without promised cashback and improvement works’

And plans for non domestic Green Deals seems to have quietly fizzled away in the corner …

A recent article in the Telegraph Your Money section Householders See Red Over Green Deal catalogued problems of the scheme

The Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy has become a headache for thousands of householders left with bungled installations or waiting for promised cash back payments that fail to materialise. In some cases, the energy companies responsible for carrying out the works have left householders with botched improvement works in the rush to meet energy efficiency targets’

One of the organisations supported to attain PA2030 under the MCS scheme has had certification for the last few years, yet has never had the opportunity for any installation under the scheme, yet must undergo re-accreditation on an annual basis. In light of the effort, system development and training the organisation went through, this is now a big frustration and laughing matter, making them very suspicious of further government backed green schemes.

Consequently Green Deal is unlikely to appear on any of the main political party manifesto for the coming election – and therefore most likely to be dismantled.  But of course it should be there, we need to be addressing one of the big sustainability issues in domestic building stock.

Back in 2012 I posed the question “how did we get to 2012 and still not have a viable solution to housing building performance”? We now need to ask the question – “how did we get to 2015 and still not have a viable solution DESPITE 2 years of promises, effort and funded approaches”?

A pity, a real pity and wasted opportunity.

A sustainable, purpose-driven Green Deal?

sb13live-logoThere is a real buzz emerging from Sustainable Brands annual conference in San Diego focusing on the progress purpose-driven brands are having in moving the sustainability agenda. The strap line theme for this years event is from Revolution to Renaissance, and explores the positive sustainability shifts currently taking place where business and society meet.

The event has wide coverage via Livestream feed and a vibrant twitter stream at #SB13con

‘Research shows that brands have failed to align themselves with changes in society’  

From the event, there are significant articles from Jo Confino at Guardian Sustainable Business (one of the event platinum sponsors), in particular – Consumers believe brands can have positive impact but are failing to do so and Can brands help unlock the power of citizens to change the world? and well worth a read. 

Tuning into #SB13, following the livestream coverage, sharing tweets thoughts with others and reading the Guardian articles, it strikes me the UK Green Deal programme is a prime platform where purpose driven material and equipment suppliers could make a huge impact. Could green deal product suppliers move away from  traditional supply and sales driven profit routes and focus on a purpose of reducing fuel poverty, improving wellbeing and influencing the greendeal consumer?

Could the Kingfisher group be the first to move into this space and pioneer a ‘net positive’ and purpose-driven approach to Green Deal? Nick Folland, the company’s group corporate affairs director thinks so:

The Kingfisher of the future could be as much about helping people make, mend and repair things than selling them kit. “We’re going to go out into communities and teach these things, and [help them be] more self-sustaining.”

Kingfisher’s plan to put ‘net positive’ into practice

One of the notable themes from SB13 is the need for product brands to connect, collaborate and scale fast,  filling the sustainability gaps that governments at present can not.

What a different green deal we could have!

Related: More than just a Green Deal presentation via martin brown

Architects and Green Deal: greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals

‘Architects have a greater ability to improve public health than medical professionals’

A provocative statement  made by physician Dr. Claudia Miller, assistant dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine, at a recent  healthy building materials panel moderated and blogged by Kirk Teske on his Point of View blog.

The panel* made a unanimous call for cooperation and transparency from building product manufacturers … the type of collaborative action our industry needs to shift the building materials paradigm from translucent to transparent, and from toxic to healthy

Here in the UK we are seeing the Green Deal  gearing up, which, putting aside the programmes finance and operational uncertainty, has a huge potential to improve public health and NHS health costs. A benefit not addressed or recognised to date. (Particularly given the UK’s lowest ranking across European Countries for health and housing related issues)

How would Green Deal look, and what additional health benefits would it provide, if the scheme embodied Living Building Challenge’s Red List Materials? Seems a no brainer to me.

Likewise the recently announced PF2 Education Funding Agency programme for schools in relation to educational building occupant health.

Slide1

Google may be the influential game changer, globally they are opening 40,000 square feet of office space a week (including a new UK HQ in London).  And none of those workplaces will use any of the materials on the red list developed by the Living Building Challenge. Google’s decision stems from two principles, a focus on health and vitality of its employees and cost of healthcare

The UK Collaborative for Living Building Challenge was launched in April and is currently developing an UK overlay for the standard. Get in touch for more information.

 
 
Panel:
Dr. Claudia Miller, an assistant dean at the University of Texas School of Medicine,
Jason McClennan, founder creator of the Living Building Challenge and CEO of International Living Future Institute; 
Bill Walsh, executive director of the Healthy Building Network ,
Howard Williams, vice president at Construction Specialties, a global building materials supplier.

Green Deal Guidance for the Property Industry

UntitledThe Department of Energy and Climate Change has published The Green Deal: Guidance for the Property Industry in Great Britain aimed at property practitioners dealing with domestic or non-domestic properties

The Green Deal is designed to help householders and businesses increase the energy efficiency of properties and therefore reduce greenhouse gas emissions across Great Britain.

This guidance covers aspects of the Green Deal that will be of interest to the property industry, and it applies to both domestic and non-domestic properties. It is accompanied with some illustrations on how the Green Deal interacts with various property transactions. 

This guidance will be of interest to people selling, letting (social or private rented  sector) or transferring a property other than through sale or letting, as well as those advising them. This guidance also contains some information which may be relevant to those wishing to make alterations to a Green Deal improved domestic or non domestic property

Green Deal Strategic Support
Related Green Deal articles
My latest GD presentation: Revisited: More than just a Green Deal from martin brown
See also earlier More than just a Green Deal presentations

Carbon taxes to deliver ‘free’ #GreenDeal home improvements? #CSR

Reducing carbon emissions and lifting home owners out of fuel poverty traps were central to the development of Green Deal.  Reducing CO2 through Green Deal was part of the government’s fourth Carbon Budget to deliver the Climate Change Act 2008.

Yet amidst all the financial  assessment and standards debates over the last 12 months, these drivers seem to have taken second place.

I have commented elsewhere that if the Government were serious on these two aims they would fund home improvements directly, rather than through complex repayment schemes. In addition to reducing CO2 it would of course create employment and have other financial spending knock ons. After all if our social housing stock was still within local council or government control would this not be the approach taken?

Good then to see the report and study from Consumer Focus, showing that a Government carbon tax based energy efficiency infrastructure investment could:

  • Generate up to 71,000 jobs and boost GDP by 0.2% by 2015 and create up to 130,000 jobs by 2027.
  • Lift up to nine out of ten households out of fuel poverty, reducing energy bills in all treated homes by at least £200 per year
  • Cut household energy consumption by 5.4 per cent by 2027 and quadruple the impact of the government’s energy savings schemes – Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation
  • Cut overall carbon emissions by 1.1 per cent, including household emissions reduced by around 5.6% by 2027

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive at Consumer Focus, said:  Using carbon taxes to ensure our homes leak less energy represents a triple-whammy. This would simultaneously improve the quality of life of millions of people, slash carbon emissions and generate greater economic growth than other measures.

Government has the opportunity to use the large and stable revenues from carbon taxes to deliver the most breathtaking and transformative energy efficiency scheme that we have ever seen.’ 

But why wait? This could be a hugely powerful CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, opportunity. Construction projects and organisations could voluntarily offset CO2 emissions (if offset is the right word here) by improving the energy performance of badly insulated homes and families trapped in fuel poverty, within their community or neighbourhoods.

A rough calculation shows that if we value carbon tax at 20/tonne, a carbon tax scheme or voluntary CSR scheme would generate 2000 for each million of construction value, (based on Constructco2 construction project emissions)

Certainly enough to improve a good number of fuel poverty trap homes across the UK

Powering the Green Deal

How social media can help drive the Green Deal programme.

Great to see our interview article in latest issue of GreenBuildNews. (Page 16, special report)

The original interview with Stephen Kennet can be found on 2DegreesNetwork

The Be2 Social Media Guide to Green Deal (wiki) can be found here

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad