Building the low-carbon community
Published 21st October 2009 - 0 comments - 906 views -
One of the dangers of crying "Wolf!" too often is the damage it does to the credibility of the person sounding the alarm. Hence, the absurdity of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying this week that we've got just "50 days to save the world". No wonder people are coming to regard those who say such things as lunatics. In Brown's case, however, the lunacy is partly political calculus. The Conservatives have stolen much of Labour's green clothing, so Brown has to position himself now as the saviour of the planet to save his electoral skin next year, even if that means sounding ludicrous in October.
But while the alarmists are generating hype, industry and society are getting on with the business of accommodating themselves to a more environmentally-aware living style. Take what's happening on the edge of Harlow in Essex, not all that far away from where Brown wields power. There, on 280 acres of land, a low-carbon community of apartments and houses called Newhall has taken shape. Inspired by the black painted weather boarding on the exterior of local Essex barns, architect Alison Brooks has designed the be homes section of Newhall. They come with Level 3 certification on the UK's Code for Sustainable Homes, and the ratings for energy efficiency and environmental impact are in the mid-80s. Solar thermal panels for heating water and lotsof natural light complete the package.
Whatever about saving the world, developments like Newhall will help save energy and they encourage people to incorporate sustainability into their daily lives. It's not as dramatic as shouting "Wolf!", but it works.
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