Calls for greener buildings

Homes in Athens consume 80 percent more energy than those in Copenhagen because of poor design and construction, according to a study by the University of Athens unveiled yesterday at an environmental conference. «With just a tidying up of buildings, the country’s consumption of energy could drop by 30 percent,» said associate professor at Athens University Manthos Santamouris. He added that some 2 million buildings in Greece were contributing to the increased use of energy. The study found that public buildings are the worst offenders when it comes to energy conservation. According to the results, state-owned buildings use 20 percent more fuel than do private homes to heat up the same area. A report released by Greenpeace in July found that public buildings in Greece wasted more than 100 million euros a year in excessive energy bills due to poor insulation. Experts called for the government to set up a national program to encourage new houses to be more eco-friendly and suggested that tax breaks could be introduced for people who buy them.