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Prince Charles slams green 'techno-fixes'

Prince Charles has stressed that green building designers must concentrate on delivering energy efficient and sustainable buildings which do not rely too heavily on “highly marketed techno-fixes”.

He said: 'It would seem that the emergent climate-change agenda seems to have offered licence to another generation of architects and designers bent on further divorcing us - through random and untested building shapes and types - from our deeply-rooted connection with Nature's ordering systems which remain true to the rule of climate and season.”

Prince Charles is a supporter of green technology when used appropriately and earlier this year a report on the Sustainability Account for the Household of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall highlighted how he has installed biomass boilers, solar panels and energy efficient boilers at the Highgrove estate.

But, in a foreword to a green supplement in House & Garden magazine he said: 'Why, I must ask, does being 'green' mean building with glass and steel and concrete and then adding wind turbines, solar panels, water heaters, 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.'

He added that traditional building techniques should not be forgotten and people 'need to resist the urge to seize on slick, highly marketed techno-fixes.”

He added: 'We must act now, by using traditional methods and materials to work with nature
rather than against her, while incorporating the best of contemporary eco-technology in an integrated and sympathetic manner.'

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, 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.

'However, he risks undermining the efforts of UK's emerging 'green building industry', the vast majority of whom are designing an increasingly large number of fantastic buildings - not just environmentally sound, but excellent architecture in their own right.'