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Hot air on cold days [January 9, 2010]

Sometimes you have to wonder about the big brains supposedly running this city. This week the Parool carries the story of a city centre couple who thought they would do their bit towards going green by installing solar panels on the roof of their Prinsengracht home.

They were granted a city council subsidy and the panels were installed when along came other city officials to tell the couple the solar panels had to go. The city centre is a 'protected view' and nasty solar panels do not fit on the roofs of Prinsengracht mansions. They got a council grant to place them and now the council says they have to take the panels off. And this from the city which wants to become the 'solar and wind energy capital' of the Netherlands. Yet more hot air and wasted energy from the bigwigs in the town hall.

Still, good to see that Amsterdam coffee company Simon Lévelt is doing its bit for the environment and sustainability. This week we bought a pack of their caféorganico which had no less than six 'good product' labels: the traditional Eco and Agriculture Biologique marks plus the Rainforest alliance, Swedish eco standard KRAV, UTZ Certified (good inside, whatever that means) and Bird Friendly - awarded by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre.

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