Tag Archives: the energy leap initiative

Finger in a dike solution

There is plenty going on, the first is Jim Yong Kim is resigning as president of the world bank (I will send them my resume for their consideration today), there are hoards of articles on the 5G deception by AT&T (a week after I highlighted it) and there is even more going on regarding Hezbollah, and I will look at that soon enough, that is, as soon as I receive a few messages (with something representing evidence) from both Cairo and Gaza, which now involves Hamas as well. Yet that is for soon, for now there is something that actually impacts on the British people, especially those in social houses.

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/07/dutch-eco-homes-idea-arrives-in-uk-and-cuts-energy-bills-in-half-nottingham-energiesprong) gives us that a Dutch project called ‘the energy leap initiative‘; Nottingham was the first to sign on and the Dutch approach included: “new wall cladding, windows and solar panels, even as the initial bill is set to £5 million, we see that the energy bills in these places are down by 50%. This makes it interesting to do the abacus test where we learn that (as I am presently aware), we get a £33,350 bill per house, and it is not merely the refurbishment that matters, the people in these houses will see a £750 a year decrease in energy expenses, which means a lot if you need to rely on social houses. Yet my calculation was wrong, the quote “Costs are relatively high, at £85,000 per property initially but are expected to fall to £62,000 by the end of the programme. Braham said scale would help costs fall as the supply chain adapted gives us that, yet we also see: “It’s warmer, all the draughts have gone. Before it [the home] looked like a rabbit hutch – it looks like a proper home now“, in addition, the looks of the houses have been improved by a decent amount. I think it is more than just the cost, even as we consider the long term of the initial amount of £85,000. We need to consider the long term impact on energy requirements and the long term benefit of upgraded housing. Whether this could be a push for municipalities to move towards some version of a rent to own project is too soon to tell, but the consideration that thousands of upgraded houses will also constitute an increased quality of life is not to be underestimated. The direct impact of families having £60 a month available for better (read: more) food and optionally a few extras in the month gives a much better prospect to the mental balance of any person. Yet, we are not there yet, as the article ends with: “Braham said a no-deal Brexit could jeopardise Enegiesprong’s prospects in the UK: “If we left without a deal, it would be a risk.”” Is that true? You see, when there is a building shortfall, when there are all kinds of optional paths, you want to hide behind some ‘Brexit’ play? Feel free to hand over the IP (if any applies) and hand it over to Interserve, they are dying to get additional jobs at present.

You see, the Dutch approach is brilliant in a few ways, yet it can also be used in other parts. We are all looking at how Interserve is restructuring its debt, yet it is not impossible to unite the two to some degree, instead of mere debt staging, another path is the additional option for refurbishment at cost price (to some degree). Even as Interserve does not gain profits, they do get additional jobs to refurbish jobs all over the UK, as well as a decent workflow; it optionally becomes a stage where we see the £85,000 per house refurbishment go down by a lot more (perhaps even down to £57,000), whilst the people get a direct benefit and optionally all of them gain an increased quality of life at the very same time, we see that the overall value of these municipality houses go up, an additional push towards rent to own (which is also good for the British state of mind overall), freeing up a lot more for additional social housing which would serve the portfolio of Interserve as well (not completely at cost though, lets remain fair here).

We avoid a second Carillion to a much larger extent; we upgrade housing as the same time as we see a financial and structural opportunity increase on more than one level. It is a Win-Win-Win in all this.

When we consider this against ‘NWCH confirms winners on £1.5bn framework‘, we need to see the stage where we see another optional problem in the long run. That is not me speaking ill or negatively mind you, when we consider the initial article: (at https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/news/nwch-confirms-winners-on-1-5bn-framework/), some might have overlooked a few items in all this.

Consider the winners:

Lot 1, £8-15m Lot 2, £15-35m Lot 3, £35m+
Bowmer & Kirkland Balfour Beatty Bam
Conlon Bouygues Balfour Beatty
Eric Wright Bowmer & Kirkland Bouygues
ISG Eric Wright Graham
Graham ISG Kier
Kier Graham Vinci
Laing O’Rourke Kier Wates
Seddon Seddon
Wates Vinci

When we look at all these ‘winners’ how many are implementing the foundations that ‘the energy leap initiative‘ is implementing in refurbishments? Why is the foundation of ‘the energy leap initiative‘ optionally not immediately part of ANY new implementation? I am not saying that this is not done, I want to make sure that this is part of any new consideration, when the savings on the energy bill approaches 50%, it should be part of any consideration and if councils do not do that, they better have a really good explanations to back that up more than merely ‘budget’, I think there are plenty of people in the Grenfell tower who would agree with the downside of budgeting, oh no, they can’t they are all dead! And those related to the victims will not hear anything until way past 2020, so that is a disaster with a few disasters piled on top of that, and as such I believe that it becomes more and more important to scrutinise any building project, especially as some are setting it to a stage that is well over a billion pounds (£1.5 billion in this case).

Personally I wonder if we can hold the quote by ISG framework director Neil Walker to long term scrutiny. When we see: “The significance of the North West Construction Hub in delivering the vital infrastructure that supports our communities cannot be underestimated. As a forum for sharing best practice and innovation, fostering strong collaboration and focusing on driving efficiencies throughout the build process, this framework is a stand-out performer and an exemplar of how public/private partnerships generate real value and deliver much-needed facilities in the shortest possible timeframe.” The critic in me, personally translates what I see: ‘in the shortest possible timeframe‘ and I believe that this translates to: ‘cheap as shit through cutting corners and creating optional hazards‘, as well as ‘driving efficiencies throughout the build process‘, which I read as ‘driving deadlines in every direction creating optional construction and infrastruction issues across the board‘, I do hope that I am 100% wrong, yet at present as we see the issues (far beyond the Grenfell tower) that have reared their ugly heads in the last 13 years alone, the statistics are on my side and not on the side of Neil Walker. In the end, I should make people ask these questions, it is not because of the 72 people killed in the Grenfell tower; it is the additional pressure of housing shortage as well as the millions of pounds that this inquiry costs. When you see this in opposition of the budget cut to save £1.3m, are you even surprised that we should bring these issues to the table as loudly as possible? When we see this £1.5 billion event, and we remember the Grenfell tower event as the people were informed of a £200,000 more when staged against combustible versus non-combustible materials, how can we not see that there is a larger failing in the entire process before the construction starts and when I see terms like ‘driving efficiencies throughout the build process‘ I personally tend to get really nervous, especially when the driving parties tend to be elected officials (municipality councils) with a lack of civil engineering degrees (a personal assumption of mine at present).

Yet when we consider the long term energy gains that we get from implementing ‘the energy leap initiative‘ and other solutions in gaining energy efficient locations, I believe that it is imperative that their input is gained on anything over £5 million, the gains are just too good, especially in a day and age where energy is a global problem. There is also a second benefit. Whether the UK faces a Brexit with or without a deal, projects like this one will still need to happen, having a good relationship with any neighbouring country is a good idea no matter what, that approach was good policy before there was any EU and it will remain good policy after the EU collapses, because that is still a danger that the 27 EU nations face. You see the dangers in Europe are far from over. You might be in denial (for whatever reason), yet when we see: ‘End of QE leaves Italy, Spain and France seeking for new bond buyers‘  with in addition the quote: “Although the ECB announced the end of the Quantitative Easing (QE) last month, it said it would continue reinvesting the proceeds of bonds bought under the stimulus programme, but which were now maturing“, so not only are the European people deceived, the proceeds against the multi trillion Euro cost is still being used. So not only will the debt remain, any bond hike will change into dramatic loss for Europe when (read: when, not if) that hits, this links directly back to construction and building projects of all shapes and sizes, from that point of view we need to start becoming increasingly cautious on what steps to take next and setting a much better stage of construction and social housing is an essential first.

I personally believe that this Dutch project is a large step forward in better housing, we might argue that this should become the norm in new housing, yet when we see the petition (at https://www.mygridgb.co.uk/solar-petition/) and the fact that there has been a petition giving us: “Since May 2018, I have been running a petition on the UK Parliament website asking for a Parliamentary Debate that every new home in the UK should be installed with solar panels“, and when we see that the petition is now closed, not making the required 10,000 votes with added statistics that less than 3% has solar paneling gives rise to a larger failing in current construction projects, so as some walk away with millions, others merely end up getting roasted in the process. It is for that reason that we need to take a lot more critique to the construction table, especially when it includes a nice £1.5 billion build incentive. By the way, when we consider the weather in the UK, apart from the entire Solar panel issue, how many commercial buildings are equipped with a wind turbine? In this day and age, when we consider the options (at http://www.renewablesfirst.co.uk/windpower/windpower-learning-centre/how-much-does-a-farm-wind-turbine-small-wind-farm-turbine-cost/); the problem is not that easy and we accept that. The question becomes how much power do you need to truly substantially lower energy needs in an area? Apart from the fact that there will be an added benefit adding power to any grid, we have to consider that any opposition ‘to keep a nice view’ can no longer be seen as a valid response. As energy needs increase we need to see the light on accepting other means to supplement energy needs. That too is part of any energy leap. Merely stating that it is not viable when you are about to throw a billion plus into a stage of construction contracts, when we see cost cutting of £200K here and there, we should accept that proper costing was never done, the bare minimum no longer holds proper water, now when some investors take hundreds of millions out of the country, In all this did the demanded stage of a £2 million wind turbine really put them out of pocket? Any council that agrees that this was a ‘Yes’ better be ready to answer question in public and see their jobs fall away when the answers were regarded as ‘not satisfactory’.

To see this in a proper light we need to look at 2017, the Independent (at https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/hackney-council-housing-government-austerity-cuts-controversial-strategy-gentrification-a7886331.html) gave us: “28 new council homes for social renting, 39 for shared ownership and eight for private sale to help pay for them all in the absence of Government funding.” Sit down and consider that stage for a moment, whilst in opposition we see the Battersea Power Station where we see: “The £9bn revamp of Battersea Power Station in central London has slashed the number of affordable flats to just 386, a 40% reduction from original plans, the proportion of affordable housing will fall to 9%”, when compared, Labour sided Mayor of Hackney should be getting a freaking OBE for what he achieved. 28 out of eighty five homes imply that there is a stage of 32%, which is amazing. I understand that there is a much larger issue at stake, yet when we see the Apple HQ stage, whilst these people hardly ever pay any taxation in the UK on their billions, we should take a long hard look on who should be vacating their Wandsworth council position (in my humble opinion) no later than yesterday. It is not as black and white as I see it, I get that, yet between 9% and 32% we see a gap that is way too large, and many media outlets are not giving it the daily attention that this should get, not in light of the larger failings in the housing market that is currently going on. We all need to do more and we all need to do better, even if it is asking the questions that are seemingly ignored by too many. In all this, with the massive growth needed, the energy leap initiative will become increasingly important. The UK has been confronted with energy and gas shortages for three years now, is it not time that there is a more powerful push to address this?

Some stop the flooding by shoving their finger in a dike (a Dutch Hans Brinker reference), others decide to merely construct a better dike from the get go. I’ll leave it up to you to consider which solution fits your time-frame a little better. Just remember, you can get something cheap, good, or fast, and you are allowed merely two of the three options here.

Which two would you choose?

 

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