Just when things seem gloomy, along comes a very bright, very practical idea to reduce the 27% of greenhouse gases created by warming our homes worldwide.
How does it work? By the creation of a new industry which retrofits existing houses without the homeowner having to go into debt, spend money or pay more than he or she is now paying.
This is how it works:
""It is called "Pay As You Save". It's based on a simple premise: that the cost of installing energy efficiency measures be funded through the future savings made on that household's energy bills.
So how does it work? The majority of home energy efficiency measures pay for themselves over a period of time.
Some are quite cheap, such as loft and cavity wall insulation or low-energy lighting.
But others are more expensive, such as suspended wooden floor insulation, new A-rated boilers and particularly solid wall insulation.
Most of us put off installing these measures, particularly the more expensive ones, because we do not think we will get the benefit. It just costs too much upfront; and given we move house, on average, every seven years, why bother?
Pay As You Save is designed to address this problem. Firstly, the upfront cost of measures, for example £10,000, is put up by a third party (such as a bank, retailer or local authority), not the consumer.
Next, your home gets its makeover, carried out by trained and accredited builders, and as a result energy usage is slashed by around half.
Then, from the savings on energy bills, a "standing charge" is repaid, every month, until the original lump sum (plus some interest) has been paid off.
The trick is to structure the scheme so the householder, or tenant for that matter, starts saving money from day one, and always saves more each month than they pay back.
The other key part of the package that enables this to work is that the monthly charge is attached not to the person, but to the property itself and would be paid off over a period of 25 years.
So when the householder moves on, the home's new occupant continues to repay the charge - and recoups more than that in savings."
Perhaps the Liberals should adopt this, and table legislation in the next session of Parliament (which the other two opposition parties will surely support) providing for this to happen asap in Canada?