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Green claims for EPCs are fatuous

I have to admit that I’ve not been particularly green in the past. Bottles, papers, tins, food waste – landfill the lot. And in the garden, bonfires, barbecues and patio heaters have always been de rigeur in our household.

As for carbon footprints, Grand Cherokee 4x4s and Chrysler Crossfires have been the vehicles of choice. In fact, I’m writing this from the Maldives, so tot that lot up.

But lately I’ve undergone something of an epiphany. We now separate our waste, recycle what we can, resist buying supermarket produce shipped in from faraway lands and, sad to say, the Crossfire has gone.

We’ve also completely lagged and double glazed our house, have a brick in the bog and regularly shower together – although in truth that last is more ulterior motive than planet-saving. But suffice to say I’m doing my bit far more than before. And what’s more, most of my friends are too.

But despite this outbreak of social responsibility and my adoption of a more energy-conscious lifestyle, nothing will convince me that I would have made these changes because of an energy efficiency report.

And when I come to sell my property, I’m equally certain that should a damning energy report be waved under my nose by a prospective purchaser wishing to haggle over price because the lagging’s worn thin, they will get short shrift. Unfortunately, I also appear to be saddled with a few other purchaser turn-offs – wisteria, magnolia and a pond. But if those and the river view don’t appeal, they can sod off. If they appealed to me, they’ll eventually appeal to someone else too – energy inefficient or not – and there will be no need to drop my price.

This is why, even with my renewed enthusiasm for all things green, I can’t take seriously the fatuous claims of those who are singing the praises of Energy Performance Certificates as value-adders in Home Information Packs.

And as for their being useful negotiating tools in the house purchase process, they will contribute about as much value as a straw to a drowning man.

Isn’t it a sad reflection of where we are that our concern to save the planet has become so obsessive and focussed on the trivial? My erstwhile slash and burn garden maintenance policy could be adopted by the nation and practiced throughout the millennium and we still would not have created as much damage to the environment as US, Chinese and Indian industry causes in a single month.

On the other hand, I’m getting quite fond of the warm winters, summer-like springs and Mediterranean summers we have been experiencing in this country of late. Perhaps this global warming cloud has a silver lining – it’s just terribly unfashionable to acknowledge it.


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