Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Energy-efficient homes are already a reality ... why aren't we building more of them?


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Its now possible to build energy-efficient and carbon neutral homes (including the construction of the building and the generation and transportation of all materials). Several architects and builders have shown this by actually building such homes. The question we need to ask now is "why are'nt all new homes built to the highest standard of energy-efficiency?"

The UK Government has certainly made a step in the right direction but at too slow a pace for many people. The Government has set out the phased change to the Part L Regulations that will be introduced over the coming years to 2019.

Code for Sustainable Homes

Code for sustainable homes logo

On the 27 February 2008 the Government confirmed a mandatory rating against the Code will be implemented from 1 May 2008.

The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against nine categories of sustainable design, rating the 'whole home' as a complete package. The Code uses a 1 to 6 star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home. The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use at each level and, within England, replaces the EcoHomes scheme, developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

The Code will provide valuable information to home buyers, and offer builders a tool with which to differentiate themselves in sustainability terms.

Homeowners can download the Greener homes for the future document as a pdf from the Communities and Local Government site.

Examples of schemes where energy-efficiency has been at the heart of the development include the New England Quarter eco village in Brighton and the BedZed development Bedzed in Wallington, Surrey.

If these schemes show it can be done, then why not everywhere?

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