03. 03. 2008

Wanted: a code for sustainable buildings

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What a treat yesterday (28/3): a visit to the EcoBuild Exhibition at Earls Court. I think this is the fourth or fifth of these exhibitions – and it started out very small and very ‘niche’.

The 2008 Exhibition is big, bold and bullish. With dozens of mainstream industry giants mixing it with innovative start-ups, government departments, industry organisations and so on.

The cumulative impact is very impressive, a powerful statement to politicians and citizens alike that if we want to live in sustainable homes, work in sustainable offices, shop in sustainable retail outlets, work out in sustainable gyms, etc etc, then we really are capable of figuring out exactly how to do it.

We are just in the foothills of the innovation mountain that we now have to climb, but the prospect already looks pretty good.

And for those who are sceptical about this Government’s passion for target-setting, you would have been heartened to see the way in which the 2016 target for zero-carbon housing is now impacting on the entire sector. Lots of doubts from the industry, lots of confusion (what is the difference between zero carbon, low carbon, very low carbon and carbon neutral?), but a gathering focus on what now needs to happen.

All this provides yet another example of the way in which timely and decisive regulation drives innovation. So, what we need next is a Code for Sustainable Buildings (commercial, retail industrial) to match the Code for Sustainable Homes, with the same kind of stepped standards kicking in at different milestones along the way. And given that things have moved a lot since the 2016 target was adopted for houses, in terms of the new consensus about the science of climate change, let’s go for the same target date of 2016 for all buildings, and just squeeze the intervals between the different steps along the way.

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03. 03. 2008
Sean

I completely agree, but even though more efficient commercial buildings will save businesses money on running costs, just watch the CBI and chums moan about making the UK business uncompetitive and how it will lead to job losses if such a code was enforced!

13. 03. 2008
Nadine

My words! I was very impressed with the exhibition and the way the zero carbon target is taken into account by the industry. Just think that existing buildings are being ignored pretty much. We need strict regulations and support from the government to force homeowners to improve their existing homes. They are the real nightmare out there!

29. 04. 2009
Laurie

As part of my degree at the University of East Anglia I have been fortunate enough to visit some buildings owned and operated by companies committed to reducing their carbon footprints. Adnams Brewery have incorporated an earth-insulated roof and passive cooling system in their distribution centre, whilst the Norfolk Council have constructed earth-sheltered social housing and a housing development powered primarily by renewable energy sources. I think it's great to see companies and organisations coming up with solutions to problems such as refrigeration, lighting and heating in a manner that are sustainable and low/zero carbon.

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