British Enviros Not-So-Green

Chris Field
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Posted: Feb 16, 2009 11:12 AM
In a story that likely comes as a shock to very few, the UK Times reported this weekend that "some of Britain’s most prominent environmental champions are living in homes that produce up to half a ton of excess carbon dioxide a year."

According to the Times:
An audit of properties, measuring heat loss, has revealed that Chris Martin, the pop star, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, and Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, are among those who reside in homes that are “leaking” energy. Some lack even the most basic energy saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and double glazing.
Martin, in case you were not aware, is the lead signer or Coldplay and is married to Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow. Martin and Paltrow, according to the Times, have been champions of green issues -- Paltrow was a significant backer of the "Green Act" here in the U.S., and Martin had a forest of mango trees planted in India to try to offiset the carbon emissions "produced by his band's second album." The Times reported that "the couple's ?2.5m home in Belsize Park, north London, wastes 1,020kWh of heat a year."

How was the waste determined? Well, it's not something you or I would necessarily like having done to us and we can easily imagine the growing green government leviathan using such tactics -- but there is something quite fulfilling about the Greens' tactics being used against them.
Thermal images of the residences of 10 high-profile green campaigners found that their heat loss was either worse or no better than that found in the average family home.

Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat energy and climate change spokesman, owned the least energy-efficient property. He bought his ?150,000 flat in Southwark, south London, 25 years ago but has failed to fit it with any significant insulation. Only last week Hughes unveiled plans to make every home in Britain energy efficient within the next decade. He could start with his own flat.

According to IRT Surveys, which analysed the thermal images for The Sunday Times, an estimated 1,812 kilowatt hours of heat a year seeps out through the walls and windows. The extra heating needed to make up for this loss produces 471kg of CO2 This weekend Hughes said he was planning to move. “I’m conscious that the house does need some more work to be as well insulated as possible,” he said. “If I stay, it will have a full survey and anything that’s necessary. In theory it doesn’t waste much energy because for large parts of the day there’s nobody there.”