Monthly Archives: August 2010

Government and housebuilders at loggerheads over new “zero carbon” plans

Eco-friendly living and reducing carbon emissions from your home are an important thing and a trend that is definitely growing in popularity. But the government’s plans for “zero carbon” homes have been met with fierce opposition by the housebuilding industry, according to the Guardian.

Under the government plans, all homes have to be “zero carbon” by 2016, which requires a 150% reduction in carbon emission and the savings will be made from improved energy efficiency schemes and on-site renewables.

The building industry have hit out at the plans, saying they would be too expensive and impossible to implement for many flats. Also, only 70% of the reduction in carbon emissions would be on-site, with the rest generated by housebuilders paying £4,500 per house into a community energy fund, to finance energy-saving measures and small renewable energy projects.

The Home Builders’ Federation also oppose the plans, saying that buyers would not be prepared to pay the 20% premium for a home, which would cover the community energy fund. Because of this opposition, the government has agreed to scale back the plans and accept that the target is too high.

Environmentalists are understandably annoyed that the government are to scale back targets for “zero carbon” living, saying it would be a “travesty” to halt the plans.

It’s understandable that this government wants to be the greenest ever and help save energy, but there has to be a scheme which benefits both parties. We do not want to spend so much time renovating every flat and home in the UK and stop building new homes and generating new trades jobs. But we do want to make homes more eco-friendly, albeit not with the price tag of a community energy fund.

What do you think? Would you pay thousands of pounds extra for a house just to make sure it was environmentally-friendly?

Move over X Factor – BBC launch new talent show for plumbers!

Talent shows are everywhere at the moment – the X Factor is back, we’ve just got rid of Britain’s Got Talent and Z-list celebrities will soon be prancing around in leotards on Strictly Come Dancing. If any of these shows are not for you, then the BBC are launching a new show this autumn called Young Talent of the Year, which aims to find the best young plumbers, mechanics, chefs and butchers in the country.

The programme will focus on young professionals aged 16-25 and each episode will tackle an individual profession. Four finalists, who have been selected from auditions held across the UK, will face a series of challenges designed to test their skills and battle it out for the title of Young Talent of the Year.

George Lamb (or should I say Archie’s son?), will present the show and two respected judges from each field will be on hand to offer their expert opinion.

Auditions have already taken place and the show is expected to air this autumn. Hollie Webb was one of those chosen for the regional auditions, as revealed by 24dash.com last week. Hollie, 24, a gas engineer from Weaver Vale Housing Trust, was one of the 20 finalists chosen in the North West auditions but unfortunately did not make it through to the final.

So who will appear from nowhere and become the Susan Boyle of plumbing? Which industry experts do you think will be the judges – do you think we could see the new Simon Cowell of plumbing as a judge?

Pompey plumber swaps South Coast for French Alps in charity climb

A Portsmouth plumber will swap fixing sinks and installing bathrooms for camping, climbing and trekking up vicious terrains as he is set to climb the French Alps for charity, according to Portsmouth Today and The News.

Keith Hooper, 35, aims to tackle three climbs in three days as he braves the French Alps in order to raise £2,000 for Macmillan’s Cancer Support. Keith, who runs Pentland Plumbing Services, has been training for the climb for months and will join 59 other people from around the UK who are raising money for charity.

The trek will begin from the base of the Chamonix Valley and go up into the mountains surrounding Mont Blanc, through meadows, steep ridges and alpine tracks to a height of 2,525 metres at Le Brevent. Keith will also have to deal with glaciers, waterfalls and snow-capped peaks in his three-day challenge. Mr Hooper told The News:

“I’m really looking forward to it now, I can’t wait. I enjoy a challenge and this seemed worthwhile, raising money for people affected by cancer.”

This is a great thing by Keith to get out of his comfort zone and help those affected by cancer. Here’s the link to the Macmillan website (http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Home.aspx) and sponsor a good cause.

Have you done any charity work that you want to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below…

New Olympics Water Polo arena may create more trades jobs

Yesterday I told you about how the brand new basketball arena for the 2012 Olympics in London was taking shape and creating trades jobs in the city. Now plans for a temporary Water Polo Arena have been approved by the Olympic Delivery Authority.

The 5,000-seat arena will host both the men’s and women’s Water Polo competitions at the 2012 Olympics and will be built next to the Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park.

The temporary venue will feature a distinctive, sloping inflatable roof that will be made of air-inflated recycled PVC cushions for extra insulation and will be wrapped in silver.

Construction work on the arena will begin in Spring 2011 and is due to be completed in early 2012. After the Games, it will be taken down and reused elsewhere for Water Polo events. With the whole rejuvenation of east London taking place because of the Olympic Games, thousands of construction jobs have already been created and more will likely be available when constructing the new Water Polo arena.

Great Britain will be competing in both men’s and women’s Water Polo competitions at the 2012 Olympics, due to being the host nation. The women’s team is one of the favourites for the gold medal, but will face stiff competition from Serbia, Spain and defending Olympic champions Holland for the gold.

Government eco-home scheme to create more electrician jobs

A government scheme to go green could benefit electrician’s across the country as it will create a lot of new jobs, according to the Electrical Contractors Association.

The government’s Green Deal looks set to have a positive impact on the trades industry in the next few months, with a slew of jobs available for those with experience in retrofitting existing properties.

Brian Berry, the director of external affairs at the Federation of Master Builders, believes the scheme could offer “big job opportunities”, which is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel after the recent cuts in government spending.

Environmentally-friendly initiatives are springing up everywhere at the moment, and there are thousands of jobs available for plumbers, electricians and gas engineers who know how to save water, energy and the effect it has on the environment.

Last week, it was reported that a council-run housing scheme in Colchester is to create 2,200 jobs in the trades industry and it was announced this week that a new “eco-homes” development in Bradford is set to take place. 45 carbon neutral homes will be built and designed by Lovell and will create a number of jobs relating to installations of eco-friendly technology, such as communal mass boilers, photovoltaic panels and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems.

Olympics basketball arena in London creating more trades jobs

The 2012 Olympics will see hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world descend on London, and there is a rush to get all of the facilities finished on time. Because of this, thousands of trades jobs have been created working on the Olympic village, stadium and on other projects.

The £8.02 billion regeneration project in East London currently has 6,450 people working on the Olympic Park site and has also created 2,909 construction jobs working on the Olympic Village. Now work is beginning on a basketball arena for the 2012 games, which will seat 12,000 people.

The work, which only started in March this year, is proceeding at an extremely fast rate and is due to be completed by April 2011. The arena, which has already seen the installation of the main internal steelwork to provide the framework for it’s services and amenities, will be the fourth largest sports venue on the Olympic Park and will see some of the world’s best athletes play there in two years time at the Olympics, with powerhouses like the USA, Spain and (hopefully) Great Britain due to compete.

Alongside the Olympic projects, the regeneration of an east London market is due to go ahead, as the Homes and Communities Agency gave £13 million to enable the £180 million redevelopment of Rathbone Market in Canning Town to go ahead. This regeneration scheme will create even more trades jobs in east London and will see 650 new homes being built, as well as new shops, cafes and a new market.

Football vs. the environment: the eco-friendly debate

We all know how important the whole eco-friendly aspect has become in the trades industry recently, with companies and people everywhere trying to find more energy-efficient ways to live. Recently there has been the trend of football stadiums trying to be more environmentally friendly, ranging from the uber-rich like Manchester City, to the less-prestigious clubs like Dartford. Now a stadium has been built in Mexico that typifies the words “eco-friendly.”

Estadio Omnilife is home to Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara and aims to integrate the stadium with nature, as it is close in proximity to a forest area. Designed by French architects Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Pouzet, the stadium is based on the idea of a cloud on top of a volcano, with sloped sides all around, which are overgrown by grass and different types of plants to capture rainwater.

The 45,000 seater stadium opened at the end of July and saw the visit of Manchester United in a pre-season game, who they sold star striker Javier Hernandez to this summer.

Football stadiums are traditionally damaging to the environment, as they require regular watering of the pitch, under-pitch heating to prevent freezing in the winter months and the use of floodlights, scoreboards and video screens, which require a lot of electricity. Combine this with the pollution from thousands of cars travelling to each game, the amount of rubbish created by thousands of fans every game and the sheer amount of carbon dioxide and football stadium are bad for the environment.

Some clubs have begun to get more eco-friendly though. Manchester City, with all their billions from the Abu Dhabi United Group, encourage fans to walk to the ground and cut down on pollution. City also plan to generate their own electricity at the stadium by installing a wind turbine, although this has currently been put on hold. Dartford are another club which has tried to make its 4,000 seater stadium more environmentally-friendly, with a “living roof” of plants to provide a natural air filtration system, solar panels to heat water for the toilets and the use of gray water from two big ponds near the stadium.

What do you think? Should all football stadiums become more eco-friendly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

Football vs. the environment: the eco-friendly debate

We all know how important the whole eco-friendly aspect has become in the trades industry recently, with companies and people everywhere trying to find more energy-efficient ways to live. Recently there has been the trend of football stadiums trying to be more environmentally friendly, ranging from the uber-rich like Manchester City, to the less-prestigious clubs like Dartford. Now a stadium has been built in Mexico that typifies the words “eco-friendly.”

Estadio Omnilife is home to Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara and aims to integrate the stadium with nature, as it is close in proximity to a forest area. Designed by French architects Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Pouzet, the stadium is based on the idea of a cloud on top of a volcano, with sloped sides all around, which are overgrown by grass and different types of plants to capture rainwater.

The 45,000 seater stadium opened at the end of July and saw the visit of Manchester United in a pre-season game, who they sold star striker Javier Hernandez to this summer.

Football stadiums are traditionally damaging to the environment, as they require regular watering of the pitch, under-pitch heating to prevent freezing in the winter months and the use of floodlights, scoreboards and video screens, which require a lot of electricity. Combine this with the pollution from thousands of cars travelling to each game, the amount of rubbish created by thousands of fans every game and the sheer amount of carbon dioxide and football stadium are bad for the environment.

Some clubs have begun to get more eco-friendly though. Manchester City, with all their billions from the Abu Dhabi United Group, encourage fans to walk to the ground and cut down on pollution. City also plan to generate their own electricity at the stadium by installing a wind turbine, although this has currently been put on hold. Dartford are another club which has tried to make its 4,000 seater stadium more environmentally-friendly, with a “living roof” of plants to provide a natural air filtration system, solar panels to heat water for the toilets and the use of gray water from two big ponds near the stadium.

What do you think? Should all football stadiums become more eco-friendly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

Young people hopeless at DIY and can’t do most basic jobs

“Back in my day, I could wire my own plug…” Well not anymore, as a new survey has revealed that today’s younger generations lack the basic DIY skills around the home.

The research by Halifax Home Insurance found that many younger homeowners under 35 lack the knowledge to carry out basic home repairs, or don’t even want to try. The worrying survey found that half of those asked didn’t know how to wire a plug, 45 per cent of people said they wouldn’t attempt to put up shelves and 63 per cent of under-35’s said they wouldn’t even try to put up wallpaper.

So what do they do if they can’t do any DIY work? Give daddy a call, as 65 per cent of those asked said their fathers are better at DIY than they are, and they would ask them for help.

The fact that the younger generation have no knowledge or interest in basic DIY jobs is an alarming thing and affects the houses, as the lack of home maintenance can take its toll and see the costs of repairs increase. If you are interested in getting better at DIY or have an interest in being able to wire a plug or fix a sink, then have a look at the T4TS courses on the website at http://train4tradeskills.com/

The underground trend that is set to transform DIY

Looking to make your home more eco-friendly? Why not go all the way and build yourself a brand new eco-home? But instead of doing what everyone else does and building a home above ground, why not be a bit different and build an underground home?

Many experts believe that homes and rooms underground are more energy efficient and so-called “Hobbit” homes could become the norm in the future, according to a story from the Daily Mail.

Jerry Harrall, the founder of SEArch Architects, who has built his own earth-sheltered home in Lincolnshire and 22 more projects, says “’an earth-sheltered building is the only building form that can mitigate Co2.”

What happens is that the house absorbs carbon dioxide instead of generating it like any other building above ground. Using the sun’s energy, a green roof and south-facing windows on a large thermal mass, the building acts like a storage heater and keeps the rooms steadily heated and energy efficient. Mr Harrall said: “Since 1997 all the buildings I have designed have achieved zero heating”.

Combine this with the fact that the underground rooms are soundproof due to layers of concrete to withstand its weight, then rooms underground have numerous benefits. What do you think? Would you build an underground room or house to save energy and be eco-friendly?