Speeding, vandalism, intoxication – there are many reasons you might be fined if you are found to be in breach of the laws of the land. But could you imagine yourself being pulled up by the law for not having double glazed windows installed on your home? It sounds outrageous, but this is actually happening in a European city right now. And while it probably won’t come into place in the United Kingdom, it is undeniably an interesting development.
So what on earth is going on? Well, according to a local Genevan newspaper, homeowners in the Swiss city could face a fine if they have single glazing windows at their homes or business from January of next year. The reason this is being implemented is in attempt to improve the environment in the famous city.
In Geneva, housing makes up part of the city’s entire amount of energy consumption and accounts for two thirds of the carbon emissions there. However, homes with double glazing windows are better insulated and there is a much smaller need for energy consumption. Therefore, the Canton of Geneva decided back in 1989 to encourage residents that have not installed double glazing to improve. This has been successful to some degree, but with an even greater focus on the environment, efforts to get people to modernise are coming with a threat. If you don’t do it by the aforementioned date, you could risk getting fined.
The director general of the energy office put it bluntly, saying: “If they do not respect the deadline, in the absence of an extension, they are exposing themselves to fines.” But many people, as you might expect, aren’t best pleased about the proposed fines. Some have estimated that more than 20,000 properties in the city may not be up to scratch, and others say that these homes are generally owned by the poor and elderly who do not have the money required to install double glazing.
The president of the Federation Of Building Trades, Serge Hiltpold, is one of the many people who wants an extension on the potential fines that will be coming into effect in January 2016. He said: “The date imposed by the canton is unrealistic. We can not do all the work required because the capacity to produce new windows cannot be increased infinitely. It would make sense to extend the deadline so that we can spread the work. We are not going to replace windows during the winter.”