The OTHER front in the fight against climate change

Well done to everyone who took to the streets last week to demand that our leaders face up to the challenges of climate change.

I too was fighting the good fight, but on another front, one which was frankly duller, less fun, and much more expensive.

I was arranging to have triple-glazing installed.

Triple Glazing

Ultralux Triple Glazing

All quiet on the insulation front

Imagine for a moment that the political battle to achieve immediate and drastic action on climate change has been won!

Imagine the glorious scene when the climate sceptics cower in humiliation and Prime Minister Corbyn/Johnson/Lucas/Swinson(*) declares that we will achieve zero carbon by 202X!


But then what? Just declaring a goal does not make it happen. The most important steps the government will take will not be about cool, high-tech projects such as electricity storage or solar cells or fuel cells or carbon capture or wind energy or electric transport.

They will be about thermal insulation of domestic houses

Overwhelmingly, the most important thing people will be compelled to do will be to insulate their houses.

The troopers on the front line of the battle against climate change won’t be radical vegans, activists or scientists. They will be builders and double-glazing triple-glazing salespeople.

The de Podesta plan

Just like the putative National Plan, our domestic plan is constrained by the amount of cash my wife and I have available.

Just like the putative National Plan, our plans need to be negotiated between interested parties and our actions prioritised against other goals.

We can’t do everything at once. So this year we will:

  • Replace the last of the single-glazed windows and all the first-generation (30 year old) double-glazing in the house with triple-glazed windows.
  • We have bought a chimney blocker for our open fireplace – kind of obvious I know.
  • We will replace an old gas fire (which requires a chimney) with an electric fire (which doesn’t).

I will then monitor the effect these steps have over the winter and consider the steps we can take for next winter.

Currently I estimate that to keep my house at 20 °C when the external temperature falls below 20 °C requires about 280 watts per °C that the temperature falls below 20 °C. My estimate is that about 25% of that is due to the windows and I hope to reduce that component by more than half.

Overall I am hoping for a 15% improvement in the thermal performance of the house to about 240 watts per °C. This looks like a pitifully small improvement to me, but at the moment, its all I can manage.

Unlike the Political Front in the battle against climate change, the Thermal Insulation Front is dull and undramatic. And every gain comes at a price and has be hard fought for. But it is a battle that has to fought.

Hasta La Victoria Siempre!


* delete as appropriate

6 Responses to “The OTHER front in the fight against climate change”

  1. Ross Mason Says:

    Electric fire. One of the better marketing oxymorons.

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      Indeed. I should change it “electric heater”.

      Ross: I hope retirement is suiting you, but I honestly find the concept of you as ‘retired’ unthinkable.

      Every best wish


  2. Andrew H Says:

    So what’s the return on investment time for your double glazing?

    • protonsforbreakfast Says:

      The heating element of our energy bill is £500 per year.
      So 15% of that is about £75 per year.
      Cost of triple glazing is about £7500
      So return on investment is ~1% – roughly same as any kind of safe investment at the moment.
      But it corresponds to around 375 kg of carbon dioxide not emitted every year.
      And several of the windows needed replacing anyway.

  3. Ross Says:

    Every day seems like a Sunday. Its great. I can do whatever I want. What is wonderful is that I can mow the lawns any day of the week.sad but true…….

  4. Stephan Says:

    Funny coincidence: Just got a 240 kg triple-glazing window delivered as well. More to come next week. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: