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

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UKGBC task group too important to be so narrow?

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has announced the panel of experts that will shape the Code for Sustainable Buildings to complement the government’s consultation on its target to make all new buildings zero-carbon from 2019.

The task group comprises:

• Bill Bolsover, chief executive, Aggregate Industries;
• John Connaughton, partner, Davis Langdon;
• Ian Coull, chief executive, Segro;
• John Frankiewicz, chief executive, Willmott Dixon;
• Alistair Guthrie, director, Ove Arup & Partners;
• Ken Hall, managing director, Prologis;
• Bill Hughes, managing director, Legal & General Property;
• Daniel Labbad, chief executive UK, Lend Lease;
• Sunand Prasad, president, RIBA; and
• Ant Wilson, business unit director, Faber Maunsell.

This group is impressive and will be influential, but I fear for the wrong reasons.

I cannot help but think we again fall into the trap of trying to solve today’s problem with the mindset that created them.(*) I have no problems with any individuals on this panel, indeed from their profiles scattered across the web, they are without doubt passionate and well informed on sustainability, but collectively do they represent too narrow a view of our industry.    It is appreciated that the task force will take evidence from sub groups and work groups, but at strategy level …

  • Where is the inclusion of small builders, the SME’s , the subcontractors from the bread/butter of the industry, where there is a mixture of struggling to understand green issues, some really great examples of grassroot initiatives but a dominant denial that we need to do anything at all. I would have thought a FMB or NFB inclusion would necessary.
  • Where is the mainstream facilities management expertise?  We are talking about sustainable buildings here – ie the use and life of the buildings, the interaction with the people who live and work in the buildings – not only the design and construction of the buildings.
  • Where are the training and educational representatives. Increasingly the educational and academic sector is the problem or barrier to us really moving forward on sustainability in the built environment, both on craft skills and professional knowledge.
  • Where are the younger generation or student representatives – from G4C (Generation for Collaboration) or Sponge for example. This is our comprised generation (from Brundtlands definition) who have brilliant ideas and very different values to mainstream, viewing the sector from the start of their careers…
  • Where are those with differing views to main stream construction and property – for example from the Transition movement, or the environmental movements
  • Where are the IT or Web experts, the research and technical innovators, as increasingly this will play an essential part in built environment sustainability.

The UKGBC have in the past stated that this Code would be an open source document which is the right way forward.  Lets hope that the panel adopts open source approach during the development as well as in the document itself.  This is an important issue for our sector and cannot be done behind closed doors. For example:

    • Open communication of meetings,  minutes and evidence considered.
    • how about a Codepedia – The Code posted to a wiki site to allow real consultation and collaboration, as the Code develops. See for example RIBApedia
    • Communication and dialogue through discussion forums, blogs or twitter on progress. (See for example the use of twitter by Downing Street, HM Government and others)

    Unfortunately unless there is a truly open and representative approach to the Code development, it will, like the Strategy for Sustainable Construction and the Code for Sustainable Homes be largley ignored, misunderstood or perceived irrelevant to those at the sharp end of the industry.

    (*) from Einsteins famous quote “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

    out breeam’d ?

    The UK Green Building Council has promised an open source sustainability code, to help address the confusion arising from the myriad of different green building standards with a new Code for Sustainable Buildings, joining in the debate / tussle between LEED and BREEAM.

    Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK-GBC,: “Industry needs a clear and practical route map and milestones that are aligned with Government policy to give it the confidence and knowledge to move forward on a trajectory to 2019.

    UK-GBC Chairman Peter Rogers , “The UK-GBC wants to see very wide take-up of robust and customer-friendly tools, and we believe that the standards at the heart of a new Code for Sustainable Buildings should be ‘open source’, meaning that such a Code could potentially be incorporated into a range of different tools, from a range of providers who could then compete in terms of service provision, without confusing the industry with different standards.”

    The concept of open source, is to be welcomed, allowing the code to be incorporated into regional, corporate and community developments, and also allowing other standard bodies, building firms and consultancies to use elements of the code in their own green building guidelines.  And it flies in the face of the more closed and commercial approaches from BREEAM and LEED

    The final code, which is scheduled to be published in March next year, is expected to mirror the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes and as such, will feature wide-ranging rules and guidelines on the metrics and best practices builders should embrace to limit the environmental impact of offices, commercial properties and other non-domestic buildings.

    Is there something else here,? Can codes, approaches, tools and technologies which in essence will improve environmental performance, carbon emissions, sustainability generally, and ‘save the planet’ morally be closed and commercial. The emerging models of wikinomics, freeconomics etc must be applied to sustainability, where the economic model is built upon giving away free ‘lead’ products.

    I would love to see much more open approaches with the built environment sustainability agenda using for example the creative common model.