Sunday, May 06, 2007

Energy gluttons are to be shamed

Haringly Council in North London has an innovative approach to getting residents to insulate their homes, or to turn down the heating. It has contracted the services of a spy plane sporting thermal imaging equipment to shoot the borough, and overlay their heat-maps onto street maps to identify houses that are wasting or producing too much heat-energy.

Check out the Haringey Council Interactive Heat Loss Map.

Now this does not sit so well with me. I am all for measures that encourage people to use energy efficiently - this is our low hanging fruit when it comes to combating climate change - but I am not so sure about the 'shaming' aspect. It attacks individual liberty.

People should want to conserve energy out of a sense of community, responsibility to those who will come after us, and common planetary stewardship. They should not be shamed into it. Because they will not conserve when they think no one is looking.

Only after this fails should we take these people out the back and shoot them, giving their homes to those poor who can't afford any heating - thus solving another social problem.

I accept the objective is to push for more home-insulation but, once achieved, it is worthwhile keeping in mind that the heat-maps do not discriminate between heat produced by fossil-fuels or 100% green energy.

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