Over twenty five years ago it became law for new cars to have an important safety equipment be standard - the airbag.
Now imagine if each individual vehicle owner had to pay to add airbags to a car they already owned or pay extra when buying a new car?
Paying extra is the situation many find themselves in when it comes to modifying their homes to use more climate friendly technologies like heat pumps. The costs of these technologies can be prohibitive and though grants and low interest/no interest loans are available in some countries, in many the programs are hard to navigate and require significant investment upfront putting them out of reach for those with low incomes. Most programs also only apply to homeowners; there are few programs for landlords with just a single building or companies with hundreds or thousands of suites in a city, province or nation.
Take for example the situation in Canada, as written about by John Lorinc in the latest issue of Corporate Knights. The nation’s Greener Homes retrofit program would, if fully realized, only provide financial help to less than 10% of Canada’s housing stock and has no provision for rentals or condos (only single family homes).
Lorinc discusses the tedious and convoluted journey he and his wife had to embark on to reduce energy consumption in their home. Not only costing money but also significant time.
Lorinc writes about alternatives that illustrate the power to be found in scaling up and taking a systemic approach - one of The Carbon Almanac’s mantras. For example the Netherlands has developed the idea of an “energiesprong” where groups of homes/apartments that all need climate retrofitting are worked on as a group allowing for economies of scale. The management of the project is not the responsibility of individual owners.
Why not share John Lorinc’s article with your local government representative or even your provincial/state or national government’s climate change department?
Systemic climate retrofitting programs can not only reduce emissions but they can generate lots of good, well-paying jobs. They can be a win-win for households, neighborhoods and the planet.