Skip to Content »

Energy saving obstacles

  • May 9th, 2008

The Economist summarises why its hard to secure the great returns that should be flowing from energy saving. They describe why measures recommended by the McKinsey Global Institute  “all of which rely on existing technology, would earn an average return of 17% and a minimum of 10%”, but are not stampeded by businesses or consumers. 

A far-sighted friend, Chris Milne, years ago helped establish a business (Negawatt Resources Ltd) to help people access those gains. We engaged them to audit our house. Our gas cylinder was coming to the end of its life, and I wanted solar water heating. At that stage the costs exceeded the benefits.

I looked at it again when the Green’s subsidy scheme was announced. It made little difference, though I commend the intention. It is tempting to mock the complete lack of take-up of their incentives, but I’d rather work with Jeanette Fizsimons to develop a sceme that would work. Green policy frequently suffers from their lack of experience of business. They’d be much more successful if they abandoned their instinctive socialism to understand how people actually work. Working with people as they are, rather than how leftist ranters think they ought to be, would work better.

Recently we replaced the cylinder with the same again, (no solar installation). The old one failed while we were overseas. For two weeks the patient friends in our house went without hot water while plumbers were consulted and quotes obtained. The combination of equipment costs, regulatory requirements (apparently we would have been obliged to replace existing gas and water lines) and delays finally killed the idea. It would have cost almost three times as much to fit a solar assist, and our usage now would never generate a payback. 


  • jcuknz
  • May 11th, 2008
  • 9:56 am

years ago when I built ‘the family home’ with my wife I devised a double glazing system which I could build on site, not the silly comparatively inefficient system you buy from the glass works. It also created a sound barrier since we faced onto a busy main street.

This paid for itself in ten years with savings in electricity and for the rest of the near forty years we owned the house we enjoyed the savings and comfort.

Leave your comments:

* Required fields. Your e-mail address will not be published on this site

You can use the following HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>