It's Not Easy Being Green.

I caught part of a program last night filled with ageing hippies and the young open-faced naïve believers like you’ll find in new churches in Bible Belt America, but who in this case have been indoctrinated into the eco-church. It was called ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’ and most of the program was about building houses with straw bales – the kind of thing you can do if you’ve plenty of time, money and space (since your wall will end up being a couple of feet thick), and is therefore probably only the province of the champagne eco-warrior who can afford to eat organic and probably drive a brand new Prius.

The hectoring eco-bullshit was bad enough but, having worked some of this stuff out myself, the financial figures were highly questionable. I have, for example, doubts that changing about five light-bulbs for the mercury version will save anyone £100 a year.

Having looked at buying a solar panel and then worked out the costs involved, I was interested to watch the bit about a woman who had a ‘green’ heating system installed in her house, including solar panels. In my case the panel would have cost £3,000+, and I worked out that the savings wouldn’t cover the interest at the time if I were to take that money and stick it in an ISA. I would just be making a loss on it, forever.

The entire cost of this woman’s ‘green’ system was £9,000, whereas a conventional system would have cost her £3,500. Apparently, since the system would save £500 a year, the difference of £5,500 would be paid off in 11 years. Now, I have to wonder just what kind of house is being run here that costs over £500 a year to heat – I’m guessing the kind of house owned only by the residents of TV-land. But that aside, haven’t these crusties heard of interest?

Take that £5,500 and stick it in an account and even today you’ll get over £100 back each year. A few years ago and that would have been £300+ and, supposing the British economy doesn’t crash and burn (or should I say continue to crash and burn), that’ll be the interest you’ll get in a few years time.

So, with cumulative interest, that 11 years can be extended to over 30 years, by which time you’ll doubtless be adding to it the cost of maintenance. And of course, if you had to borrow the money to pay for such a central heating system, the period would be even longer – probably the length of a working life time. These twats really need to try living in the real world.

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