Blogging the NYTimes: Trying to Build a Greener Britain, Home by Home

Blogging the NYTimes: Trying to Build a Greener Britain, Home by Home

Jonathan B.
Jul 25, 2008

It turns out what we've been covering for the past year works. Smart meters, insulation, and a bit of thought can help cut down carbon emissions. People in the towns of Hove and Brighton in Britain have turned their quaint Victorian homes into models of energy efficiency with a few strategic changes...

First and foremost are the smart meters, which trigger an audio alarm if energy use rises over a certain point. We like the realism here: not everyone is going to move into a slick, modernist box in the middle of pristine wilderness.

"When people talk about an eco-house they picture a sleek house in the countryside with solar panels and wind turbines. Well, good for them. But that's not how the average person lives," said Mischa Hewitt, of Britain's Low Carbon Trust, a nonprofit group.

With that in mind, the trust organized open houses, so neighbors could see what it takes to go green. We know it's not the sexiest thing out there, but lowering energy use through better insulation really does give the biggest bang for the buck.

With a budget of about $80,000, the couple focused on renovations that would save energy, and set about improving the way the house took in, and held, heat. "People always think about gadgets and technology, but the first thing to do is insulate, insulate, insulate," Mr. Kaufmann said.

Read the whole article over at the New York Times. Would you open your house up to strangers in order to explain how you've gone green?

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