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The numbers game - 3

Howieson, Stirling (2007) The numbers game - 3. Scotregen, Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum, 36 (winter). p. 12.

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The number 3: When investing in energy efficiency measures what number should be used? In the mid 90's Britain's largest bank was one of the first companies to sign up for the Energy Efficiency Office's "Making a Corporate Commitment " campaign. Although subsequently trumpeting its achievements in a glossy brochure, buried in the text was the admission that only, "projects with a 3 year or less pay-back period would be considered for capital investment". Their energy bill was less than 1% of their costs. They invested less than 1.25% of this energy bill in energy efficiency measures. No objective performance indicators were published in the report, but the reader was left in no doubt as to their 'green' credentials. If the same criteria were to be adopted in the domestic sector, based on the Family Expenditure Survey from the same era, it would have allowed the average householder to invest 83p per annum; a sum that was some way short of that needed to buy one 12W low energy light bulb! Although we know from Mao that the longest journey must start modestly, is completing the first step really sufficient grounds for glossy brochures and triumphalism?