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Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 January 2009 at 4:21 pm

Part of the difficulty of encouraging people to invest in low-carbon living is the difficulty of imagining what it will be like. Too much of the media coverage paints a picture of deprivation and hair shirts, leaving us shivering at the thought, and tempted to stick our heads in the sand.

Now a more positive vision is available from the Energy Saving Trust. In a new publication, Emission Impossible? A vision for a low carbon lifestyle by 2050, it outlines how a low-carbon lifestyle could improve the quality of all of our lives with more comfortable homes and better travel choices just two of the examples.

So what might a low-carbon 2050 be like? Well toasty warm to start. All homes are 'zero carbon' by then, whenever they were built. So it's not necessary to put on the heating for more than a few days a year. Thanks to a combination of insulation and microgeneration cold snaps, such as the one we're currently experiencing, don't lead to stories of pensioners freezing because they can't afford to turn on the heating.

Unlike the current complex options available, energy choice is simple in 2050. Carbon cost is what determines it. And we can all optimise what we use thanks to smart controls. There's no need to look out for energy saving labels on products either - wasteful appliances are no longer available - everything is designed for maximum energy efficiency.

We're buying products that are made to last, with minimum packaging, so there's hardly any waste. What there is can be composted or recycled. Water efficiency is the norm, with rain water harvesting for washing clothes and flushing toilets.

We travel less, and when we do we use lower carbon options. And attitudes have changed. To be seen to waste energy is sure to get the neighbours tutting. It's the new equivalent of drink-driving and society frowns on it.

Of course, it's not enough just to have a vision. There are some hefty hurdles to cross before we achieve this - in attitudes, in costs, in challenging corporate power to name a few. But unless we can imagine it, how can we reach it. It's great to see a start to the visioning put into the public domain. Please let us know your vision for low-carbon living ... and any successes you've already had.


If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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1 comments - read them below or add one

keith poulter

keith poulterComment left on: 3 January 2009 at 5:50 pm

Put like this I can't argue with the ideas, but as you say, the devil's in the detail. How are we going to get from here to there? How are we going to achieve zero carbon houses in all our historic buildings when the planners won't even let us put in double glazing? It's great to think that no one is going to be selling wasteful products, or ones that go wrong just after the guarantee runs out, but that's going to involve some major changes to how we do business. Isn't this a bit too simplistic?

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