Azara Blog: Goverment wants new college buildings to be "zero carbon"

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Date published: 2008/03/28

The BBC says:

All newly or partly built colleges will have to adopt wind turbines, solar panels or other renewable energy, under plans to cut global warming. And all new colleges in England will have to emit no carbon by 2016, skills secretary John Denham has said.
Firms carrying out the building work will also have to employ local people.

The "local people" condition is silly. What is a "local" person? Do you have to be born in the town? Live in the town (and for how long)? Work for a company in the town? Or within X km of the town? It seems that on this score the government is more interested in political posturing than it getting the best school buildings constructed for the best price.

As for this alleged "no carbon" goal, well that is a complete fantasy. No building is "zero carbon" since it takes carbon to put up the building in the first place (and to maintain it as well). What the government means is that the operation of the building should be (theoretically) "zero carbon". Unfortunately, when you look at the total life system carbon emissions, solar panels are not at all suitable in Britain (with current technology). And wind turbines are not suitable in many locations. So in effect, this is just more political posturing, which will probably (at best) achieve very little (for a large cost). The one real benefit is that possibly the buildings will be insulated better than they might otherwise have been.

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