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'Zero Carbon' is an abstract concept for most people, but we have lived energy-profiligate lifestyles for too long on finite fossil-fuel resources. We now face potential environmental catastrophe from climate change and global warming, with a continuing exponentially expanding global population that doubles every four decades. The capacity of the planet to reabsorb carbon dioxide is about two to three tonnes of carbon equivalent per person at current population levels of seven billion and therefore there is a desperate need for us to reduce our carbon footprint. One way of helping to achieve this is to live in a zero-carbon house, and this will become legislation in the UK for new homes by 2016.
Martin Godfrey Cook is a chartered architect and environmentalist with three decades of experience in the built environment, who specializes in the sustainable design, operation and refurbishment of buildings. He has advocated energy efficiency and sustainability in new and existing buildings since the last energy crisis in the 1970s. Martin is a founder member of the RIBA Sustainable Futures Committee and is working hard to reduce his carbon footprint to less than three tonnes of carbon equivalent a year, which he is offsetting by planting a forest.