5 July 2010

The generation game

Is it time the government did more to encourage energy conservation instead of tilting us at windmills?

I was at the Bathroom Manufacturers Association's AGM (BMA) a couple of days ago and amongst its success stores was the uptake of its Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme which has been welcomed by amongst others DEFRA.

It's an easy-to-understand labelling system that indicates the water-saving efficiency of taps and shower systems and it now covers almost 1000 products.

The thing about drinking water is that it's pretty difficult to manufacture sufficient quantities to make up the shortfall so we have no choice other than to make what we have go as far as possible.

We are running short of the raw material we need to make energy too, but instead of throwing its full weight behind saving energy, successive governments tell us the answer is to generate more.

Clean energy is a good idea of course, but it is not the only answer. The payback time on solar panels for example is considerably more than the payback time on the latest low-energy refrigeration products.

And as for those little windmills on individual rooftops? One may as well lash the hamster's wheel to the national grid for the amount they reduce a home's carbon footprint.

The evidence of other European countries, many of who are ahead of the UK on the purchase of lower energy appliances, shows that government intervention - such as reducing VAT on A++ rated refrigeration - leads to high sales levels.

So rather than trying to convince us that with a combination of wind farms, wave farms, and of course the nuclear option we can generate ourselves out of trouble, perhaps the government would be better to take a leaf out of the BMA's book and concentrate on conservation rather than just generation.

Hey spooky; within hours of writing the above. Siemens announced a cashback incentive to encourage consumers to buy new, energy efficient refrigeration products. For more details, visit www.siemens-home.co.uk.

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