Eco-living: If you basically do the opposite of this, you'll prosper

Sure, everyone can be seduced by shiny things now and again, and we are prone to blogging about the bubbly tipples of the rap star elite, royal weddings and the like, but we’re not all about the bling here, honestly.

Far from it, in fact. The vast majority of our work involves helping people get the right basics done to their homes to help them save energy and cash.

But that’s not to say that elements of the kind of work we’re involved in have not been held up to scrutiny. In particular, microgeneration such as solar panels and micro wind turbines have historically been criticised as ‘eco-bling’.

Naturally we dispute this. We do believe generating your own energy can make big savings and help to make people more energy aware, and now, of course, bring in income, but we’d be the first to say that you need to do what might be seen as the ‘dull’ stuff first if you actually want to realise a greener, warmer, cheaper home.

Thankfully, more and more people are coming out to fight back against flash. Professor Michael Pollitt from judge Business Schoolat the Universityof Cambridge, no less, has come out in support of the slightly prosaic but highly effective energy saving touches: 

“Some of the less flashy things like turning your thermostat down or lagging your hot water tank are actually much more cost effective.” 

Too right. He goes on to predict a universal and even automated energy efficient future for all householders: 

“We will see everybody with a smart meter and everybody signed up to smarter tariffs. With new homes the smartness is going on in the background, your thermostat will be self-adjusting, and everything will be done as automatically as possible for you.”

We haven’t just got friends in academia. Those ‘early adopter’ green community leaders that are so important in building that critical mass of interest in sustainability at a local level are speaking out against the errors of going too fast, too soon down the home retrofitting route.

We came across Janet Alty, a woman speaking to the Leamington Observer about opening her green home up to inspire others:

“Decorating your house with ‘eco-bling’ will not work unless you already have done everything possible to reduce your carbon footprint by becoming as energy efficient as possible, and conserving the energy you do use by insulating and draft proofing loft spaces, doors and windows.” 

It’s a bit like the recognising the untiring work of the back stage crew at a theatre while the star names get the plaudits. And of course, once you’ve done the basics and saved that money off your bills, perhaps a wee glass of bubbly every now and again, some film star-style stunner shades or even that fat gleaming solar panel won’t seem so excessive…