EU To Ban Construction of Ordinary Family Houses by 2020

The Reference Frame
June 21, 2010

The European Union has adopted a regulation that will ban the construction of ordinary family houses, starting from 2020. Only the so-called passive houses will be allowed:

iDNES.CZ (autom. transl. into EN), EU Business, EU Parliament, Euractiv,Panda.ORG, The Energy Collective;

Preliminary text of the directive (PDF)

For example, page 33/71 of the PDF document above says that all new buildings have to be “nearly zero-energy buildings” by the end of 2020. It has to be true by the end of 2018 for all new buildings occupied by public authorities.

EU To Ban Construction of Ordinary Family Houses by 2020

One of the first passive houses in Darmstadt, Germany. The windows are obliged to go to the South. Also, it’s not a coincidence that the house is ugly: ugly and “compact” houses are more energy efficient.

A passive house is essentially an ugly cube that covers its energy needs by a perpetual motion machine or something that has the same carbon footprint. Also, it’s super perfectly isolated so that the CO2 you exhale by breathing will never get out of the house. The EU apparatchiks see another advantage in the passive houses: if you fart thrice during a harsh winter, you will either suffocate or freeze which will reduce the population growth.

At this moment, there only exist 15,000 of passive houses in the world, mostly in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavia. But they should suddenly become a majority. The construction of such an inferior passive house is 10-15 percent more expensive than the construction of a proper house. So what would you expect before 2020?

EU To Ban Construction of Ordinary Family Houses by 2020 Passive House Japan

Japanese passive houses use people and fridges – rather than perpetual motion machines – to heat themselves. Note that the aesthetic quality is similar to the German one.

Well, people would realize that the ordinary houses will become a scarce, limited commodity and their price will jump at least by those 10-15 percent. Correspondingly, the construction of the classical houses will increase before 2020 because the developers will be able to sell a higher number of houses in a profitable way – because the price that the buyers will be ready to pay will increase, too.

However, don’t expect that the existing owners will be completely protected against the new insane policies. If they want to sell or rent their house or apartment starting from 2012, they will have to get a document about the energy efficiency of the real estate – something that costs $500 or so.

Well, if this is the only problem for the existing owners, it is negligible and nothing changes about the scenario above. If this AGW-rooted reasoning (or the lack of it) manages to survive until 2020 and the regulation will be close to its activation, people will horde classic houses because they implicitly include the permission to use heating systems as we know them today.

Everyone may expect an EU apparatchik looking into your kettle at least once every four years.

Via Olda K.

A nice villa

EU To Ban Construction of Ordinary Family Houses by 2020

This passive house looks pretty, doesn’t it? Well, please accept my apologies, but it’s because it’s far from being passive. Instead, it’s Al Gore’s new villa in California. Click the picture to zoom in.

Al Gore’s new villa in California

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Los Angeles Times told us that Al Gore – who remains at large – has bought a new villa for $8,875,000 in Montecito, just on the Eastern side from Santa Barbara, California.
(Well, I am more familiar with the Western side, around Goleta.)

Click to zoom in. See more better pictures here. A cool visual tour in Flash (incl. interior and music).
Because it was the 7th most expensive Montecito real estate sale of 2009 and the price exactly agrees (much like other details), it was not hard for your humble correspondent to find the address:

The Top 10 Most Expensive Real Estate Sales in Montecito, CA in 2009

If you possess some excessive gasoline and you don’t know what to do with this potential CO2 source, you may find the right answer in front of Gore’s villa – assuming that the new owner shows up to sufficiently raise your adrenaline level. The address is

1504 East Mountain Drive, Montecito, CA, 93108 (Google Maps)

The ocean-view villa located next to the famous San Ysidro Ranch (map) on 1.5 acres and built in 2002 has a swimming pool, spa and fountains, a real estate source familiar with the deal confirms. The Italian-style house also has six fireplaces, five bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a guest house including a large entertainment/game room, full length loggia, and a wine cellar.

I am sure that e.g. the six fireplaces are running in reverse, consuming CO2 and creating wood. 🙂

See also Al Gore’s mansion in Nashville, TN which eats 20 times more electricity than the average household.

Al Gore’s house in Nashville, Tennessee

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… vs George Bush’s house in Crawford, Texas

See also: Al Gore’s new $9 million villa in Santa Barbara, California (click)

Gore mansion: 20x average household
Gore’s average monthly electric bill topped USD 1359. Add USD 1080 per month for natural gas. In total, it makes more than USD 30,000 per 2006 for his house at 312 Lynnwood Blvd. in the City of Belle Meade, adjacent to Nashville, TN. The house is in the middle of the map. Of course, the money from the previous sentences don’t include air travel, especially not with his Gulfstream private jet.
Update, December 2007: Al Gore has hired dozens of workers and SUVs and managed to reduce his power consumption by 11%, from 20 times the average household to 18 times the average household. Congratulations. 😉
Update, June 2008: Actually, the information from Al Gore above was wrong. Gore’s electricity consumption increased by 10% rather than decreased after the renovations.

Gore’s house in Nashville
It’s not just a consequence of Gore being a visible man. George W. Bush’s house in Crawford, Texas is a model of environmental rectitude.

Bush’s Crawford ranch
That’s a typical difference between the leftists and rightwingers. Leftists want others to reduce their lives and to pay. Leftists want themselves to benefit. And the rightwingers are those who actually create the values and live the right and modest lives, if I simplify a tiny little bit. 😉
Is Al Gore willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk? 😉

Video: Al Gore’s opportunities and profits.
Another comparison of Bush’s house and Gore’s house
HOUSE # 1:
A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over USD 2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It’s in the South.
HOUSE # 2:
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.
HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.
HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON’T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it’s truly "an inconvenient truth.