Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Do as we say, not as we do: prominent eco-fanatics' homes are wasting energy

A survey by the UK's Times newspaper has found that some of Britain's leading environmental campaigners are living in energy-inefficient homes (via Instapundit):
An audit of properties, measuring heat loss, has revealed that Chris Martin, the pop star, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, are among those who reside in homes that are “leaking” energy. Some lack even the most basic energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing.

Thermal images of the residences of 10 high-profile green campaigners found that their heat loss was either worse or no better than that found in the average family home.
Hypocrisy is, of course, one of the cornerstones of the environmentalist movement. The problem in this case appears to be that these people are all very rich, and live in large, expensive houses in the most exclusive parts of London, so making energy-saving improvements is both costly, and difficult because of planning restrictions in – irony alert – 'conservation areas'.

So, for example, double glazing has to be 'in keeping' with the both the building and the surrounding area – you can't just bolt on some uPVC job, because it would look ugly. The rich and famous residents of these areas, and the planners, won't allow energy-saving improvements that don't look nice, but they don't want to pay extra for 'sympathetic' alterations. It's the Ted Kennedy/wind turbines problem on a smaller scale.

If these celebrities and politicians are really so concerned about the environment you would think they would either stump up the money to get the insulation work done, or put pressure on their local councils to relax planning restrictions and so bring down the cost of the work.

But then why should they, when from the comfort of their heat-leaking but character-filled mansions they can simply lecture the rest of us on where we travel, what we eat, and every other aspect of how we live our lives?

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