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Fact-file: The Cold Man of Europe

Comments (12)

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    Laurence Webb

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    This is a really good fact-file to illustrate just how poor much of the UK’s housing is and what a challenge we have on our hands if we’re going to make any progress in terms of cutting emissions.

    An additional ‘key indicator’ which would be interesting to include is average winter temperature for the various European countries considered. Although it’s been cold lately, my experience is that the mainland tends to get much colder in winter than in the UK. So despite having a coastal climate on our side we’re still wasting loads of heat through our creeky building stock.

    No doubt if you include weather as an indicator we’d be bottom of class again.

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      Pedro Guertler

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      Thanks for your comment. You’re quite right. Of the indicators we compare, the closest measure of this is the discrepancy between the average wall U value and the ‘optimal’ wall U value of the stock in different countries. The optimal wall U value for each country considers the duration (breadth) and coldness (depth) of the winter. This is why Sweden’s optimal U value is lower than the UK’s (see Table 6). But at the same time, Sweden is closest to its own optimum, whilst the UK is far off.

      Heating Degree Days (HDDs) are a measure of winter’s depth and breadth. Footnote 10 in the fact-file explains them. The UK has had an average number of HDDs of 3,115 over the last 30 years. Sweden’s average is 5,444.

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    John Barwise

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    Excellent report – Shocking conclusions. Perhaps one of the reasons is precisely because we have low prices which does not motivate people to save energy. We do not value ‘energy’ or understand how it works for us.
    The over-riding feature is, however, the general poor energy performance of our building stock – domestic and non-domestic.
    Your call to ring-fence carbon tax to fund refurbishment is absolutely the right thing to do. At present it is a cash cow for the government to spend on things unrelated to energy.

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    Arnold

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    If we are ever to improve then the british goverment should follow the example of Germany’s funding for PV.

    I have internally insulated my 1890 terrace and now have areas that can’t be done internally through lack of space. To do externally also a suspended wooden floor to be made solid and insulated. I asked My Council Chester west & Chester about Green Deal they got funding for free assesments I was supposed to be getting One. Have not heard from anyone. But the more I hear about GD the less I can afford the cost of it. The Gov. should totally subsidise all work to make the poor able to afford the work that’s needed. And introduce a Carbon tax that charges people who waste energy needlessly.
    If like me we have insulated house now saving 62% of energy compared to 18yrs ago (moved in) registered superhome 141. I will struggle to finnish job without help! Our fuel bill £600 yr coal for multifuel stove £120 and wood will have to start buying that….

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    Roderick Francis

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    I do think that we should be ashamed of our self, about fuel poverty and our homes are in poor state of repair, yet we still want to be a Newclear Power.

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    Ken Neal

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    We need a National Insulation Scheme to be paid for by the government printing new money, i.e. Quantitative Easing. For a fuller explanation go to – https://www.facebook.com/insulatehouses

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  • Why am I so cold? | Vernacular Mind

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    […] what they’re for), so it’s strange that the British stock is so inefficient, compared to colder countries. This is the topic of Janet Rudge’s 2012 article, “Coal fires, fresh air and the hardy […]

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