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Signoff: David Taylor

ENERGY efficiency, carbon em issions, global warming? the environment just won't go away.

In today's construction industry a day never goes by without someone bending your ear about U-values, SAP ratings or air-tightness standards.

I suppose, if you looked around, you might find someone in the industry who hasn't noticed the energy efficiency hysteria that has gripped construction for the past few years. But that person will probably have just woken out of a deep sleep having pricked their finger on a spindle or bitten into a poisoned apple a century ago.

Well, now we have the new Part L with its draconian U-values and suffocating air-tightness requirements, we can just get on with the job of building.

Or we could were it not for David Cameron. The dynamic, Blairlike leader of the Conservatives has stirred up the sustainability debate again by u rging us all to 'go Green, vote Blue'. (In doing so, he's also upset many old-school environmentalists who have the more straightforward aim of getting us to turn green by voting Green).

In the environment, Mr Cameron has found one area of policy where he can distinguish himself from the prime minister. Compare the two: Tony Blair's efforts to woo the environmentalists fizzled out years ago. Most people now think The Kyoto Protocol is by Frederick Forsyth and all we have left of New Labour's green crusade is a building code as tight as a shrink-to-fit straitjacket.

On the other hand, to convince us of his sustainability credentials, Mr Cameron is having his house fitted with exciting energy saving devices and has started driving around in a rather special Lexus.

Well, I'm convinced.

WHAT is it with Amer icans and nail-guns? The US has a modern, sophisticated construction industry with high standards of health and safety, yet labourers there are always shooting themselves with nail guns.

The latest victim is a man from Oregon who wandered into a hospital complaining of a headache. Doctors couldn't find a cause of the pain until X-rays showed more than a dozen nails snuggling up to his cerebral cortex. Only then did the patient recall an 'accident' with a nail-gun.

He later adm it ted that the accident was a suicide attempt committed while he was all messed up on d rugs.

Doctors wielding pliers and a drill whipped the nails out in a trice and the patient then discharged himself, churlishly declining offers of psychiatric help.

A similar incident, which I reported a couple of years ago, shared the same outcome as this case: the victim survived none the worse for his ordeal.

Well, what does this story tell us?

That all Americans have small brains?

That they have short memories? Or a poor aim? Or a cavalier approach to health and safety? Perhaps they are all messed up on drugs?

None of the above, of course. These nutters are victims of an extreme disorder. But why is this disorder so characteristic of the US, especially as the Second Amendment to the American Constitution safeguards the citizen's right to bear arms. Why use a nail-gun when a Colt .45 will do the job properly?

FINALLY, to Tesco. Announcing record profits, the supermarket giant has revealed plans to raise £5 billion over the next five years from property transactions.

But chairman Terry Leahy is anxious to dismiss talk of a 'landbank'. Tesco doesn't buy up sites to prevent its rivals acquiring them, he says, but in order to develop them itself. Same thing, surely?