Reading encouraged to be more sustainable

Reading encouraged to be more sustainable

At a recent event entitled ‘Planning for a Low Carbon Economy’ hosted by The Centre for Sustainable Energy in Reading, Tony Cowling (of Reading Draughtbusters) made a plea for the town to strive towards a more low energy future.


“With the right will” suggested Tony, “there are many strategies that could be quickly and easily implemented. For instance, draughtproofing and airtightness measures are still needed for most of the existing housing stock and very sadly, even many of the newest houses! From an environmental perspective, this is ‘low hanging fruit’ and would be very easy to implement and would give exceptional returns on investment.


“Hardly any retrofit floor insulation happens in Reading and it needs to start happening. In general a lot more investment in insulation is needed in the entire housing stock.


”Triple glazing for all new and replacement windows – this would be easy to implement and has benefits, reduced heat losses, better air tightness, good for noise reduction and is easily cost-effective over the lifetime of a window. Further, 3g windows tend to be more robust and have far better ironmongery than the double glazed cousins. They last longer as a result of this too.


“Planners should not allow any more conservatories – these loose us a LOT of energy and need regulating, even existing ones that have become heated or cooled parts of some homes could be locally or nationally taxed.


“No more dormer windows either, or only ones with U-values less than 0.1. Street or even district wide programmes of improvements taking advantage of synergy and economies of scale. Enforce the upgrading of insulation as required by part L1b of the building regulations, these regulations are actually part of the law and are pretty nearly never adhered to, and never enforced. Set target U-values across the board for extensions and renovations. Beware of using the existing housing stock as a lever to improve new buildings through offsite measures, we need to build genuine low energy new homes as well as radically improving the existing stock.


“Planning has a crucial part to play in the long-term low energy future and the local authority has done well with its requirements for new housing but there are big problems to solve for existing housing. The commercial, education and the retail sectors need to keep doors closed when the heating or cooling is in use, windows should be kept closed too.”



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