Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

How To Waste Money – Revamp Homes To Energiesprong Standard

An interesting little point we can glean from this victory story concerning the effects of a Green New Deal. It’s an entire and total waste of money. There is simply no way at all that this makes any economic nor financial sense – we’d do better to be tearing up pound bills in the currently warming oceans.

But this is what is being called a victory!

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] A Dutch approach to transforming old homes through a dramatic green makeover has arrived in the UK and cut tenants’ energy bills in half. Nottingham has become the first city council to pioneer the “Energiesprong” (energy leap) initiative, which has radically upgraded the energy efficiency of thousands of homes in the Netherlands. More than 150 social housing homes in Nottingham will receive new wall cladding, windows and solar panels after the local authority won £5m from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund. Some tenants in homes already refurbished in a pilot scheme have seen monthly energy bills drop from about £120 to £60-£70. [/perfectpullquote]

So, note we all pay taxes so that these people may save money on their energy bills. Aren’t we the lucky ones. We could crunch those numbers and say that it costs some £33,000 per property, But that would be to underestimate:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Costs are relatively high, at £85,000 per property initially but are expected to fall to £62,000 by the end of the programme.[/perfectpullquote]

We’re talking about a £60 a month saving on the energy bill. Even that lower £60k-ish number means a century as payback time, the higher current cost getting on for a century and a half. And no, none of these buildings will last that long. That is, the energy savings will never, ever, recoup the cost of the alterations.

It’s a giant splurging waste of money and economic resources that is.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “Energiesprong is great, a gold standard – it should be pursued wherever possible for low carbon, low energy bills and high-skilled jobs,” said Pedro Guertler of environmental thinktank E3G. He added that Nottingham city council is a leader, but most austerity-hit councils no longer had the capacity to lead such work. The Treasury should increase energy efficiency investment by £1bn a year, he urged. [/perfectpullquote]

But Pedro thinks we should spray even more of our money on making ourselves poorer in this manner. Well, that’s nice for Pedro, isn’t it? Less so for all of us.

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Bernie G.
Bernie G.
2 years ago

Even though I won’t be around to worry about “the high standards that will be needed in decades time”, it would be difficult to ignore the eye-watering cost of my current energy bills – and I’d love to improve the insulation of Chez Bernie if I thought it would make a significant difference. Unfortunately, as you say, the figures don’t add up – would be more cost effective to bulldoze the place and rebuild it. At some stage during the next decade or two the government will introduce legislation to make it impossible to sell or rent property that doesn’t… Read more »

GR8M8S
GR8M8S
2 years ago
Reply to  Bernie G.

We tried something similar here in Oz (Insulating homes) and it turned into one almighty cock-up! But no doubt the Other have learnt from this and, like Socialism, it will be better the next time we try.

Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
2 years ago

Hope the wall cladding meets all the relevant standards (both current and those dreamt up after some tragic fire caused after it was applied).

Grope_of_Big_Horn
Grope_of_Big_Horn
2 years ago

We’ve had Solyndra in the USA, the Renewable Heat Incentive in Northern Ireland, and coming soon we are having ‘bung for dung’.
There could be good news – the Feed In Tariff scheme in the UK closes for newcomers at the end of March 2019. It would be a double celebration if this coincides with the unlikely event of the EU shrinking.

literate3
literate3
2 years ago

£60 a month?!?

Rubbish!
I live in a mostly-Victorian four-bedroom semi-detached and my energy bills are less than £100/month, most of which is for cooking, the washing machine and hot water (ignoring small/trivial amounts for lighting, computers, vacuum cleaner et al). Perfect insulation could not reduce my bll by £40/moth let alone £60/month.

moqifen
moqifen
2 years ago

i was signed up for exterior cladding – had various surveys done etc. Unfortunately when they came to fit the cladding they realised the house had bay windows- and they can’t clad bay windows. The council who were pushing the scheme had canvassed all the houses in the street – all have bay windows. Complete waste of my time and the councils money.
As Tim observes spending £85,000 per house is a waste of money- be cheaper to pay all their energy bills for next 20 years.

HJ777
HJ777
2 years ago

Some tenants in homes already refurbished in a pilot scheme have seen monthly energy bills drop from about £120 to £60-£70.

I live in a largish 4-bedroom detached house. My total energy bill per month averages around £120 – half of this (i.e. ~£60) is for gas which I use for both heating and cooking. How on earth is this scheme going to reduce these energy bills by the equivalent of my entire gas bill to just what I pay for electricity? Assuming electricity isn’t used for heating, the electricity bill is unlikely to change appreciably due to better insulation.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
2 years ago
Reply to  HJ777

Ditto. My 1890 3-bed mid-terrace consumes £50 per month gas+leccy. How on earth are people in the position to get a £60 drop?

I used to be involved in housing, and we put energy saving stuff in when the building was being refurbished anyway. *NOT* on a whim for no other reason than spending money.

ablemesh
ablemesh
2 years ago

I’m guessing the author comes from the “north sea oil and gas” will last for ever generation. Or, perhaps from the nuclear power will give us near “free electricity” forever generation? Maybe check out some feedback from tenants or get a view from a professional involved. Usually a journalist would make that effort.

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