It’s not easy being green…
Antony, our Code for Sustainable Homes assessor and advisor, was kind enough to write up a quick progress update from his perspective:
It’s especially impressive that the team have not only met the minimum requirements, but gone that little bit further – a testament to their commitment to build an ecohouse and learn from the experience.
Having worked with the London ecohouse team since the very first planning application, we have seen how the requirements to be green have increased at every stage.
Although many developers see compliance with the Code for Sustainable Homes as just another piece of red tape, it’s the only national system currently that ensures new development is sustainable. This is not just in terms of energy efficiency and carbon emissions, but also driving more sustainable use of water and materials as well as encouraging good management during construction and a healthy living environment for the occupiers. But it’s not easy. The Code has various levels with 6 being the highest.
When the first planning application for the London ecohouse was submitted the requirement was for Code level 3, but by the time final planning was approved for the current scheme it had gone up to level 4! This is a significant challenge for any small development such as the London ecohouse. Unlike larger developments, the costs are borne by the single house and smaller sites are constrained by what can actually be fitted onto the site.
So what has helped the London ecohouse meet Code level 4 so far? It’s a long list but includes a highly efficient building envelope to keep the heat in but with controlled ventilation to ensure a pleasant indoor environment. Energy efficient appliances and lighting, facilities for a home office and a cycle store. Fittings to reduce water use, materials and insulation that have a low environmental impact and a range of features to ensure a healthy environment including levels of daylighting, security and adaptability for those with disabilities. Finally there’s the green roof which helps slow the flow of water into the drains when it pours with rain and the PV panels to generate electricity when the sun shines.
So whatever the weather the London ecohouse promises to be green!