Prince Charles Attacks Emphasis on Wind and Solar Power in Green Building Industry

  • Published on October 14th, 2008

prince charlesThe Prince of Wales criticized the green building industry for relying on eco-gadgets like wind turbines and solar panels while ignoring inefficient buildings.

The heir apparent to the British Crown, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales has called on developers to use traditional methods and materials alongside the best in “eco-technology” to solve the problem of creating environmentally friendly properties instead of opting for “slick, highly marketed techno-fixes.”

In the foreword to a green supplement in the magazine House & Garden, the Prince wrote:

“Why, I must ask, does being ‘green’ mean building with glass and steel and concrete and then adding wind turbines, solar panels, water heaters, sedum roofs, glass atria – all the paraphernalia of a new ‘green building industry’ – to offset buildings that are inefficient in the first place?

“That many of these add-ons are mere gestures, at best, is now clear, as their impacts on home energy consumption can now be measured and usually offer scant justification for the radical nature of the design.”

In his years as heir apparent, the Prince of Wales has often shared his views on architecture and urban planning, claiming to “care deeply about issues such as the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and the quality of life.”

In his book, A Vision of Britain, Charles was critical some aspects of modern architecture, stressing traditional urbanism, the need for human scale, and the restoration of historic buildings as an essential element of new development and sustainable design.

Prince Charles’ remarks received a mixed welcome from industry groups. Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said the remarks would provoke a healthy debate but risked undermining the efforts of the UK’s emerging green building industry. King said, “In a way he is right – there are examples of high-profile buildings being passed off as ‘green’, when the most important thing is to reduce environmental impacts through good design in the first place.”

The Press Association
Image credit: rev0lvin via flickr under a Creative Commons License

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.


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