Monday, March 9, 2009

THE GREEN ELECTION

.
.
So another state election is upon us… campaigning has well and truly begun, the Polies are out about town, and the promises are rolling off their tongues, left, right, and centre, but how many of them are realistic … do they hold water at all??? (Pardon the green pun)

Not that I have ever been one to be easily persuaded by Politian’s posturing … I do think no matter how you vote, at the end of the day, someone will be elected…and I believe it is important to understand how each parties policies might impact and ultimately be of benefit …

The construction industry and the environment are big draw cards this election with the “current economic situation” imposing great pressures on all of us linked to these industries, so it is with great interest I watch how these campaigners propose to ease the strain.

Anna Bligh is promising if elected… all new houses and major renovations will be required to be of “6 star energy efficiency standards” by 2010… (but new units will only be required to be 5 stars)…and has on the eve of calling elections, introduced the climate smart home service. Http://www.climatesmart.qld.gov.au/

Lawrence Springborg is proposing spending on bike trails and the development of clean fuel ethanol programs, as well as his own eco house scheme to encourage home owners to install rain water tanks and innovative water saving initiatives. Http://www.climateproof.com.au/
But Anna – whose star rating are you using??? – is this only an energy thing...do we install a few electricity meters and a few green bulbs and wham bam thank you mam…global environmental crisis solved??? – And why are you being so kind on the big developer…surely with larger developments it would be easier to implement more effective not only energy, but water and waste initiatives… isn’t it always the larger industries with the larger budgets that can afford to the start the ball rolling???

Lawrence – same thing applies, you are starting at the wrong end!…water tanks and solar panels for mums and dads …isn’t going to have us the renewable energy capital of Australia by 2015…it might remove our title as the state with the slowest uptake of solar power… but as we have been told for years solar power is of all the renewable energy alternatives the least effective and requires a lot more research and development …

And not to be out done …the greens, Ronan Lee, recently threw punches Anna Bligh’s direction in relation to the Queensland governments environmentally hypocritical support of the Gold Coast Indy and Virgin Airlines, but failure to assist a Canberra based solar cell company’s desire to relocate, a move which would have created job opportunities for the construction industry and state at a time when they are need most…

Meanwhile Australian conservative council’s sustainable program manager, Monica Richter supported Anna Bligh but said she wanted standards increased to seven stars (there are no seven stars Monica…)

Have these Polies been “green washed” too? It wouldn’t surprise me… as someone who is very interested in green approaches to living and designing…I also have at times found it difficult to make sense of the jargon … star ratings vary depending on who you are dealing with ;
energy http://www.energystar.gov.au/about/index.html ,
water http://www.waterrating.gov.au/about/index.html ,
…or a holistic approach http://www.gbca.org.au/... Life cycle costs might only refer to a building from construction onwards and not necessarily take into consideration the energy requirements to produce materials off site prior or during construction…

And closer to home…are green bulbs really green??? They may reduce energy consumption when in use…but they contain mercury…they cost some times up to 3 times as much as the conventional bulb and reports have it if you are one who since an early age has been taught to turn the light off when leaving the room …they tend not to fair as well as promised…

Obviously, from this it is evident, there needs to be a collaborative effort to standardize and integrate the variety of rating systems out there into one rating program. Standardization would improve consumer understanding by demystifying green lingo and might even be a step toward reducing marketing green washing. Providing a rating tool that could deliver across the board, across all industries and would act as a green counter…a measure which we could all refer to for clarification and best practise, a proactive and dynamic rating system that evolved to encourage continual innovation...But rewarded all that invested in green products/technologies or services (green building consultants) through a levy …just like the Medicare levy…your tally or investment % would see a tax reduction...

Just as another politician lord mayor of Brisbane, Campbell Newman, summed up at the recent Green Building Council of Australia’s green cities 09 conference “it is about changing behaviours”
Maybe it is about all of us changing our behaviour….politicians as well…really getting serious about green measures…and let us hope whoever it is that is elected … they actually deliver on their promises… so it isn’t the voting public “green washed” in the end…