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Archive for October, 2007

Over the summer there was a debate between some big names in engineering over whether combined heat, cooling, and power (CHCP) using absorption chillers actually saves carbon. The theory goes that because engine size is usually dictated by the base summer heat load, the additional heat load from the chillers allows you to upsize your engine and generate more low-carbon electricity throughout the year.

However on a current project, we’re looking at the feasibility of installing a district heating and cooling network, including installation costs. And one thing is clear: regardless of whether CHCP saves carbon, the capital cost of cooling is unaffordable.

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rise of the megagram

Down with tonnes, bring on the megagrams! It’ll freak the squares.

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Back in the UK for project meetings, I arrived at my inlaws’ house in Dorking yesterday evening and within minutes my father-in-law was spreading the Telegraph on the table, pointing to the article about how long efficiency measures take to pay back. Phil at the Sustainability Blog has already commented on the RICS claims and I agree with him.

And here’s first hand proof of the damage their histrionics have done: as I explained to my father-in-law that the RICS study was making unreasonable assumptions (e.g. simple payback calculations) his eyes glazed over. Why? Because the soundbite had already done its job. Nevermind the VAT debate or discussion of EPCs, he’s now more convinced than ever that there’s no point in pursuing any of this eco-treehugging-mumbo-jumbo as it’s obviously frivolous and expensive.

Thanks RICS.

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I’m doing financial comparisons of energy systems on one of our projects. It’s a pretty standard part of our work but this morning the precision of the figures appearing in my spreadsheet strikes me as particularly specious because it doesn’t tell the whole story. Sure, clients need a comparator and you can’t preface every report with a thesis on complexities of the energy market (not that I’m capable) but just the same these results are making me uneasy and here’s a short list of reasons why:

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The post title refers to the fact that a 22 turbine wind farm will receive the go ahead today and it is one that will directly affect me inasmuch as my parents house is about 2 miles from the nearest turbine. I spent a long time educating my parents on the true performance details of large wind, not to convince them that they should support the wind farm proposal, but so they could make up their own minds based on good quality information rather than the guff offered particularly by the anti wind lobby. In the end they came out in favour and have, to a degree, suffered partial ostricisation within their local community for it.

 It is very easy as a consultant to make recommendations that incur costs for my clients. It is easy to play with other peoples money.  

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For those that are interested about the points raised in my last post, we have started an online petition to the Prime Minister to have the stamp duty legislation reviewed before it undermines any impetus to achieve zero carbon homes.

If you sign, many thanks, and if not, feel free to leave a constructive comment as to your reasoning. I am interested to know other viewpoints.

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The Draft Statutory Instrument (DSI) for Stamp Duty Exemption for Zero Carbon Homes, announced at the last budget, will undermine the majority of attempts to deliver the greenest of housing. The DSI doesn’t appear to be available online, but the link is to a copy we acquired from the Treasury after badgering them.

The DSI is to be laid before Parliament at the end of next week for Committee approval by the end of the month. It is at best a misguided piece of well-meaning legislation that will do more harm than good, or at worst a genuine attempt by central Government to limit the loss of stamp duty receipts from too many zero carbon homes.

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