Michael Squire (Soapbox April 28) is quite right that higher energy conservation standards for new buildings will have little effect in the short term. An annual 1% replacement/growth of stock is far too slow to tackle the looming energy and environmental crisis. What is needed is the urgent upgrading of the existing building stock.

On a point of detail, Squire's figures leave out the contribution that solar thermal water heating can have domestically - these offer the same energy saving as double-glazing.

Forget the sexy hi-tech until the basics are done to the existing buildings - insulate, overhaul windows and double glaze, and install solar thermal - then move on to boilers etc. Optimistically, I would suggest that little more than a decade exists to channel some of the nation's prosperity into this.

We need to look beyond the energy supply company deals for low-energy light bulbs etc, and to the government to be seriously involved at a policy level and in provision of finance and grants.

Mike Richards, Bristol