Is it all in vain? Is the information we are bombarded with relating to carbon emissions fact or fiction?
Vic Handley is group deputy managing director of Van Elle
Firstly, may I make it quite clear, that I am by no means an expert on this subject and I must admit to being confused by the deluge of information that has been circulated over the last few months and even years on this emotive subject.
We're reading (and being told) a lot about carbon neutral homes and their conformity to the Code for Sustainable Homes levels 1-6 in relation to carbon emissions. It's great that we're saving energy and water with these innovative new homes but could anyone tell me what level of carbon is emitted during the manufacturing process and installation?
Are we in effect creating a carbon mortgage? When will the homes truly become carbon neutral taking into account the manufacturing process, is it five years or fifty? And will this make them of any more benefit than a well insulated traditionally built home?
Sustainability issues seem confusing too. Do we classify a home as sustainable from build to completion in the UK or are we taking sourcing of raw materials and manufacturing into account here too? Where is the sustainability if people living in these homes are then working in old factories and office blocks? I know we're trying to move in the right direction, but it does seem as though this is being pitched as the golden ticket to our climate crisis.
At a recent awards ceremony a key note speaker (and champion of all things green and sustainable) presented some initial research from the USA which analysed the carbon cost of a vehicle from its raw materials through to running it on the road. I was amazed to see the Hummer win out over the Toyota Prius, due to its twin engine system and use of raw materials. I'm not suggesting that we all go out and buy Hummers, but you can see how it becomes confusing.
Not wanting to seem cynical, but the politicians (and others for that matter), will only tell you what you want to hear, when the true facts may be masked by the perceived positive contents of the message.
Don't get me wrong, as a proud father and granddad, I am all in favour of cutting emissions and contributing to saving our planet, in fact at Van Elle, our innovations committee is developing systems and techniques that will reduce or eliminate waste and reduce our emissions, in addition to our recycling commitments.
What I want to know is, is it all in vain? Is the information we are bombarded with relating to carbon emissions fact or fiction?
If anyone can shed any light on these issues I'd welcome your comments.