Monthly Archives: February 2008

route to reduce Scottish carbons

Having posted on the Welsh drive to zero carbon yesterday, only fair to note the The Scottish Government last month launched its consultation on pushing for 80% reduction by 2050 … signaling Scotland’s serious intent to lead the global effort to combat climate change.
This is significant as it is based on the now recongised carbon level of 350ppm that scientists agree we must acheive, not the out-of-date 450ppm level upon which the English and other targets are based on.

Also significant is the high profile that the contribution of housing and built enviroment within the launch article,

a particular focus on housing-related products and services such as green mortgages and loans for domestic energy efficiency works. The energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes is improving, partly as a result of existing Government programmes, but more needs to be done to achieve the carbon emission reductions needed. Lenders have a potentially significant role to play through products such as green mortgages.


sustainability – barriers or opportunities?

As expected a number of mixed and potentially confusing announcements made at Eco Build question progress towards zero carbon construction, question the defintion of carbon zero while setting more targets for (non domestic) zero carbon construction by 2020.

Founder of the UK Green Building Council, Dr David Strong is right to question the focus on carbon reductions – we need to remember the ecological footprint as well. Unfortunately the carbon footprint is easier to comprehend, and to address that the wider ecological aspects. Yet we are heading for a skewed future if we do not. See the One Planet Living principles for an approach that encompasses carbon zero through to health and happiness as an example of the wider issues.

Perhaps Simon McWhirter, WWF-UK, a member of the newly announced carbon industry task group headed by Barratts boss Mark Clare to redefine zero carbon will remind this group (once again) of the wider issues?

I also see the barrier of cost being raised again in achieving these targets –“a cost premium for anywhere between 5% to 30% extra”. Now isnt that the estimated cost of waste in our industry, or lost time through uncollaboartive working ?

At a recent best practice club presentation I used a green scale – from grey to bright green – to help illustrate different views to the environmental concerns. Delegates agreed the UK built environment is stuck as accommodationalists – only just turning green from grey  defined as ‘do as little as possible, be led by legislation , but no need to change core behaviour’

I cant help but think of the green build movement in the USA that is just getting on and doing it – talking about achievements and benefits of being green (including cost benefits) rather than talking about definitions, barriers, problems and more legislation to ‘help us’.

(Take a look at the buzz and the near evangelical speeches and presentations at the recent USGBC Green-build Conference – still on line for viewing ! – where it was reported that LEED Platinum accredited buildings produce 45% improvement in energy usage – its not anecdotal any more we have the proof said USGBC CEO)

Thanks to fellow blogger Phil Clarke and Building for news from Ecobuild – nearly as good as online !

Sponge green guide to buying a home

Bit late on this one as it has been picked up by Mel at Elemental and Phil at Zero Champion, but worth relaying across to isite readers is the Sponge guide to green home buying – a check list you can print off and take with you.


Reminds me of the 10 Principle guide to slow homes …  which should see more light of day here in the UK as a backdrop to the new eco-homes, and eco-villages.

zero carbon route map to Wales

Jane Davidson the Welsh AM for Environment, Sustainability & Housing,  launched the new Renewable Energy Route Map for the Welsh Assembly Government last week – out for consultation until May.

It details lots of wind farms and lots of public engagement. Of note is the speed of the intentions across all energy themes, including the built environment as:

The devolution of the Building Regulations: Assembly Government control of the Building Regulations, in addition to our existing Town and Country Planning powers, should enable us to ensure all new buildings in Wales are built to the highest possible low carbon standards, both in respect of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

Higher standards through devolved Building Regulations would be aimed at delivering the aspiration for all new buildings to be zero carbon by 2011. Over the next 3 years the Assembly Government will be looking to demonstrate a path to zero carbon buildings through construction work it funds.

Carbon Zero by 2011 – a far more ambitious plan than the Code of Sustainable Homes and other targets being set, increasing the importance of a strategy to follow with confidence


Its clean and its efficient and its possible  – its efficiencity – whilst the government dither on policy Greenpeace have produced an attractive and informative animation to show just what is possible in our towns and cities.  It is a animated and illustrated portal to many of the initiatives and emerging technologies in the built environment

It is statistics such as by the time we use electricity in our homes and offices, we’ve lost nearly 80 per cent of the usable energy inside the fossil fuels we burn that demonstrates the urgency of rethinking our approaches, and as this site demonstrates – this rethinking is happening in real world communities and projects around the UK

Women into work events NW

I have been asked to communicate the events being held through Elevate and Women Into Work over the next month or so.

The training is free and is available to all female staff within the built environment sector – including accounts, reception , administration, trades, office and professional.

Training on offer includes:


Managing Safely


Positive Action

Get more details via email here

isite round up

I was looking at the blog stats for isite last night – so here is a round up of isite activity over the last month or so.

Where are you all?

Recently I added a nice little gadget – ClustrMaps – showing the location of isite viewers – you can find it at the bottom of the right hand column – below the flickr images. Although the numbers here dont agree with the stats from wordpress (around 1000/week) it is fascinating to see the global interest. There is an isite viewing community maybe, spanning from north america, europe, middle east and far east and then australia and new zealand. Not bad for a blog that started as a local initiative.

It would be great to get comments from viewers across the globe on built environment issues we face today.

What are you viewing

Taking out the admin (Lancashire Best Practice Club, steering group, news, and Events), CKE, and hits to my fairsnape profile, the top hits still focus around carbon issues. I have said it before but this is certainly the defining zeitgeist of our sector today.

Top hits over last month are

Construction Carbon Calculator

Walking the walk – design resources

Carbon Footprint – definition – useful?

Route 2 Zero

New Liverpool school seeks ‘Very Good’ B

Construction carbon calculator – no more

JCT legally binding sustainability contr

Code level 6 too easy ? – go to level 7

sustainability turns red … code red?

Eco Build 2008 – not online … ?

I am of course happy to see the fairsnape Route To Zero iniative getting a high number of hits along with a good response for more information from viewers.

The post that has surprised me in its popularity is the ECO Build conference and Exhibition not being available online at all. A message there.

isite will be away for a week or so – please continue to comment and contribute with material for posting.