High energy consumption is embedded in our contemporary lifestyles and this is clearly evident in the gadgetry in our homes. Housing accounts for most of our carbon emissions and it is here that stringent reductions should be made but it is not easy or cheap to reduce energy use in buildings.
How difficult is it?
It is difficult! It is difficult mainly because many owners of older dwellings lack interest in energy efficiency – unless they are undertaking a refurbishment project and refurbishment of any dwelling is infrequent!
Why do they lack interest?
Other than the undesirable payback periods for many energy efficiency strategies, there is a lack of knowledgeable and competent advisors in the workforce to advise homeowners and implement energy efficient strategies. Here are a few more reasons why homeowners find it difficult to retrofit their dwellings for energy efficiency:
- One has to wade through dozens of product manufacturers and their promises to find the best product to suit your budget and project;
- Find an installer or knowledgeable contractor willing to come to your property wherever it may be to advise or install;
- Possibly, one may have to get permission from the local council to make any improvements or changes to the building;
- Put up with the disruption and inconvenience to your daily living/routine.
What is the solution?
It is not straightforward and it is costly however, Councils, Building Inspectors and Contractors, must ensure that the energy performance of any renovations is of a high standard and locked in during design and construction phases before any work is passed. It is difficult!
Design and building for energy efficiency is easier all round in new-build housing.
Jan Couper M.Ed.; M.Env.