When eco-friendly means eco-bling

Posted by pt91 at Sep 13, 2011 10:24 AM |
University of Leicester geographer presents research at international conference

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 13 September 2011

New housing estates are being built in Britain as eco-homes, but many of their features are ‘eco-bling’, installed on the basis that if they look green they must be good, according to new research presented at the international conference of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in London.

Dr Jenny Pickerill, of the Department of Geography, University of Leicester, said: “We are obsessed with using solar panels and wind turbines to make our houses green, but this is expensive and not very efficient.

“It is cheaper and more effective to build thicker walls with more insulation – though this does not generate as much profit for builders.

“The easiest way to an environmentally-friendly house is to use simple building techniques to build a solid house, and not rely on technology to make it green. More investment may be required upfront but it pays off in costing less to run throughout its lifetime.”

Dr Pickerill also discovered that in self-build eco-housing projects in places like the USA and Australia, the first thing to be built was a comfortable bathroom with plenty of hot water, but in Britain, it was the last.

“Perhaps this reflects a belief that to be green means one has to endure discomfort. Yet it’s the reverse: a good eco-house can actually be more comfortable than traditional housing.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Dr Pickerill’s presentation ‘Cold comfort? The practices of forgoing in eco-building’ was part of the Building and pioneering a just and green future... session at the annual International Conference of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

The Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) is the learned society and professional body for geography. Formed in 1830, ourRoyal Charter of 1859 is for 'the advancement of geographical science'. Today, we deliver this objective by developing, supporting and promoting geography through research, expeditions and fieldwork, education, and public engagement, while also providing geographical input to policy. We aim to foster an understanding and informed enjoyment of our world. We hold the world's largest private geographical collection and provide public access to it. We have a thriving Fellowship and membership and offer the professional accreditation 'Chartered Geographer' www.rgs.org

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