Archive for March, 2012

Bob Kerslake’s Nokia 3310

Ok, I’ve joined Twitter (@carbonltd). Me and Bob Kerslake, the head of the UK civil service.

We were pissed up in the American bar at the Savoy on Monday night (best martinis in London) and I was like Sir Bob, we should totally join Twitter. And Sir Bob was like get stuffed mate, I’m not joining Twitter. And I was all you’re just scared that I’ll get more followers than you and he was all am not and I was all are so. And then he was like fine so I said I’ll get a round and you break out your smart phone and sign us up. Only he doesn’t have a smart phone, all he has is an old Nokia 3310. The dude is old school. So he got the drinks and I signed us up. And then we just sat there ripped and playing Bantumi until about 2am.

Now it’s Thursday and he’s got 710 followers and I’ve only got 1.

What was I thinking? (more…)

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The CRC took its first official steps towards the scaffold today with the launch of the CRC consultation.

There are various steps in there aimed at simplifying the scheme, including drastically reducing the nuber of fuels (from 29 to 4) and cutting the requirements for reporting. But many, including the CBI, are asking what the point of the consultation is, given that the scheme is almost certainly destined for the scrap heap.

Given that I’ve written about this twice in a week I almost added a “CRC” category on the blog. But on second thought I don’t think I’ll bother.


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It’s Mies van der Rohe’s 126th birthday today! In celebration, here’s a fitting piece of tribute punk (originally spotted by the mighty Rob Annable about 5 years ago, but it’s always stuck with me).

Mies’s work is still hugely influential and mostly loved – but always horrifically inefficient and guaranteed to overheat. And four decades after his death, we’re still cranking out the glass boxes. ARCHITECTS, IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON!

Ah well, happy birthday mate.

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Yesterday’s budget was strangely quiet on some points. For example, Green Deal only gets one mention (and only in passing). But Mr Osborne was comparatively vocal about other green issues, such as CRC.

Basically, he sees it as an unfair burden on business. And to sort this out…

…the Government will consult on simplifying the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to reduce administrative burdens on business. Should very significant administrative savings not be deliverable, the Government will bring forward proposals in autumn 2012 to replace CRC revenues with an alternative environmental tax…

So CRC is good as gone.


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The EU won’t publish its data on emissions from biofuels and tar sands until the spring but the working figures have been leaked to EurActiv and published on line.

The figures show that, once Indirect Land Use Changes are counted, biodiesel from palm and soybeans is roughly as polluting as Canadian tar sands. And rapeseed oil (which OFGEM has classed as “renewable”) is nearly as bad. And all three are worse than crude oil.


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On-site generation only works if you get good value for the energy you produce. For example, the viability of CHP (and the resulting cost of heat) depends on the price you get for the electricity you generate.

So what are your options? You could export to the grid under an offtake contract with a licensed electricity supplier. But as a small generator your electricity is almost worthless to them so they won’t pay much for it: maybe 2 or 3p. So unless you’re able to negotiate a particularly sweet contract, this is usually a non-starter.

The obvious route should be to sell energy directly to people on the site where the energy is generated. That’s supposed to be the point of distributed energy, right? (more…)

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Nick and Julian at Bridport-based consultancy Brooks Devlin are recruiting for an environmental design consultant. It’s a fantastic and growing practice headed up by people I really like. If you think this might be the role for you, get in touch with them direct via the link.

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I recently subscribed to Building Magazine in an effort to rationalise my media consumption. It’s been a while since I subscribed to a paid source of info and I’m a little wary. In catching up on Feb headlines I came across this one: Cities plan to invest billions in Green Deal retrofit work (£).

Really? Are they? Because we’ve looked pretty closely at Green Deal economics for people like EST and some London RPs and, for anything other than loft and cavity, it’s ropey at best. Even if you do manage to get it to meet the golden rule of payback within the asset life, it’s a massive task getting people to sign up. The hurdles are significant to say the least. A fact that’s not lost on Marks and Spencers, an early entrant who’s now distancing itself from Green Deal delivery.

So the Building headline made me do a double take and have a closer read. (more…)

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