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Our government should take heat out of homes

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Are we, and our continental neighbours, living on two different planets (AJ 13.7.00)?

While we still debate what we might do in terms of sustainable homes, our continental neighbours are already thoroughly enjoying their energy-sustainable houses.

Three years ago, we saw terraced houses on the continent which were built so well that they did not need conventional central heating. All properties were sold before completion. This year, we saw more, in a wide variety of architectural styles.

They were far more comfortable than most of ours, due to steady temperatures, controlled air quality and no draughts.

Affordable? Yes, construction premiums varied from 0 per cent to 5 per cent. Yet from day one, the owners had lower overall costs than for 'ordinary' houses, due to visionary government mortgage and tax incentives, and the absence of heating bills.

Sadly, many clients do not have a choice in this country. Our government fails to take any imaginative action to emulate the successes of continental Europe, and even dec l ined to take par t in the EU-sponsored CEPHEUS programme of demonstration houses.

Zero CO 2houses, using nuclear fuel, photovoltaic panels, scarce biomass, or windpower, may be a worthwhile target . . . but using no fuel for heating is even better!

B and S Rushbridge, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

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