Category Archives: links

defining zero carbon

As a post on this blog noted at the end of last year, the definition of zero carbon buildings is currently under consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

I am in full agreement with Casey over at Carbon Limited who blogs for a call to arms on this one, this consultation is so important that all in the built environment should engage with.

The outcome definition will shape and determine design, construction, building services  and facilities management into the future, in a similar (but more profound way) that the HASAW and CDM and other milestone legislations have done.

(from zero carbon consultation:summary)

At the core of the document is the government’s preferred framework for reaching zero carbon. In order of priority:

  1. A minimum standard of energy efficiency will be required.
  2. A minimum carbon reduction should be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency, onsite low and zero carbon (LZC) technologies, and directly connected heat. This is referred to as achieving carbon compliance.
  3. Any remaining emissions should be dealt with using allowable solutions, including offsite energy.

The zero carbon definition will have profound implications for…

… the built environment client in the choice and cost implications

design –  a change the design parameters,

construction, for example with airtight construction calling for a build quality and quality control we are not too good at. (Research at Leeds Met is showing that the cost of retro fixing air leaks in new buildings is  a hugely costly exercise *)

building services – on energy sourcing and management.

And of course on the way buildings are used, run and managed.

If you haven’t read it yet, you can download it here.  or as Casey puts it – get involved or forever bitch about it in the pubs.

(* more on this later)

zero carbon definition

Climate Change and Sustainable Development Team at the Department for Communities and Local Government have launched the consultation on the definition of zero carbon homes and non-domestic buildings.

see the press notice at http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1101131.

They are interested in views on the definition of zero carbon homes and non-domestic buildings – consultation closes on Wednesday 18 March 2009.

You will see from the press notice that the Zero Carbon Hub will be organising workshops in February.  For more information about the workshops, please contact the Hub at info@zerocarbonhub.org.

smart sustainable homes?

Reading the BRE Smart Home Systems and the Code for Sustainable Homes published from ibexellence and available from their site   (thanks for the info on this from Derek over at Keeping Ahead of the Oil Curve

The objective of this report is to identify the role smart home solutions could play in supporting delivery of the performance levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The report provides an evidence base, including case studies, demonstrating how smart home solutions can be used to enhance the environmental, economic and social sustainability of homes.

So far so good.  I headed straight to the chapter on using smart technology in existing homes and refurbishment of existing stock, as this is the real challenge we face and one organisations such as BRE must be addressing, only to be disappointed with a short note to say that

In progressing digital connectivity in the UK’s domestic sector, it is essential to consider the housing refurbishment sector, particularly with regard to improving the energy efficiency performance of this stock.

It is a pity that this seems so far away from the open source,unconference ideas and developments of be2camp and in particular homecamp

code for sustainable buildings

A while ago  I posted on the UKGBC task force UKGBC task group too important to be so narrow? and how it should embrace an open collaborative wiki style approach to the development of the Code for Sustainable Buildings.
This code will be so influential and far reaching that it cannot be developed behind closed doors, behind closed servers etc

Now the good news is that the UKGBC have started a consultation on the development of the Code.

Closing date back to the UKGBC is on the 12 December. A very short window compared to the months given to the same process for the Construction Sustainability Strategy.

The document can be downloaded from here, and a discussion area has been set up on the be2camp forum.

on low-carbon existing homes

From the UKGBC website, will comment when I have time to digest!

UK-GBC Releases new report

Report submitted to Government 13/1008

After a summer of stakeholder engagement, including a ‘webinar’- an online seminar – which attracted around 100 participants, the report on Low Carbon Existing Homes has been submitted to Government this morning and is available to download here. The appendices are available here and the Executive Summary of the report is available here. This is a landmark report in terms of the number of organisations that have contributed to it and the importance Government attached to the process. It will go forward to inform Government’s energy efficiency consulta  ion later in the year, and the resulting Low Carbon Homes strategy next spring.

The report can also be downloaded directly from here low carbon existing housing

on public building epc’s

The UK Communities and Local Government government website states

Our buildings are responsible for almost 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

October 1st marked the date by which UK public buildings have to display their energy performance for buildings and facilities as an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). Currently around 18,000 buildings, including town halls, museums, schools and job centres, are being tested.

The Guardian’s Hall of Shame lists a number of very prominent and public buildings that score G ( on the same A (good) to G (bad) as white goods). There is within the article a number of calls for refurbishment of these buildings – many less than 5 years old. So where was / is the sustainable design, construction and facilities management that everyone has claimed to be doing since ‘whenever‘?

a facilities management issue?

I question whether this is a design issue or the running of the building. Case studies indicate that Facilities Managers often lack the up to date eco-knowledge to manage complex building management systems, so manage all buildings ‘the same’.    In addition FM has largely been excluded from the debate, news and leading edge sustainability decision making, (at least publicly as a voice shaping our built environment sustainability future) and here we see the consequences.  (see my post on the UKGBC task group for example)

And the blame?

You can see the FM providers or managers from poor scoring buildings being called into board or chamber meetings or  to explain the low EPC score, and told to ‘do something about it’. After all no one wants to be associated with producing white goods that carry a G rating, so the same with buildings that carry a G rating.

and the costs

To be really meaningful, and easily understood the A – G ratings need to be converted into £ of wasted energy per building or per m2 for each building, to demonstrate the real cost to the tax payer of inefficient buildings or facilities.

and keep the focus on ….

It is necessary that focus remains on EPC, change will only come when the public, the building users and environmentalists (and bloggers) kept focus on EPC and displays, as with so many good initiatives this could easily fall away. Maybe the first fine for non display will sharpen minds.

picture that tells a 1000 words

This is cool.

This image, easily generated at Nokia Barcode Generator site contains links to my site.

Anyone with a barcode reader can zap the images and instantly ‘read’ the information and save to contacts.

Also works with text and links.

Could we see all business cards looking like this one day.  Or profile images on social networking sites replaces by the picture that tells a thousand words.

Badges at conferences could be far more interesting, and a great ice breaker as people get close to zap each other.