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August 2006

York Eco Depot Has A Solar Roof
York Council's EcoDepot development has begun installing photovoltaic panels on the roof of the building off Hazel Court. The panels already in situ represent the biggest solar PV system in York but they are only a third of the total number that will be on the site when development is completed. Due to open in the autumn... more    back to top

Green Affordable Housing For Oban
A new affordable housing development in Oban, contains one of the UK’s largest biomass district heating systems. The development of 44 new homes was developed by West Highland Housing Association and supported by £3million from Communities Scotland. It includes one and two bedroom flats and a mixture of two, three and four bedroom houses... more back to top

New Fuel Prophet Website
Following the development of the Fuel Prophet Tool by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, a new website for the tool has been launched. The Fuel Prophet Tool is aimed at helping housing professionals and policy researchers decide on which energy saving refurbishment measures should be supported or installed... more    back to top

Innovative Ceiling For Durham Green Offices
The Rivergreen Centre, Durham, built by local firm, Rivergreen Developments, has been awarded the highest BREEAM certification of 'excellent', demonstrating that the building is eco-friendly, as well as providing a better working environment for the people using the building. The Centre is a thermal slab building, using... more 
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Unsustainable Offices Waste Energy

Badly built offices are costing British business millions of pounds each year in wasted energy costs, according to research by international architects, Gensler. The report, ‘Faulty Towers: Is the British Office Sustainable’, reveals that almost a third (27%) of companies’ property-related energy consumption could be saved by making offices sustainable.
Nearly three quarters (72%) of companies’ property directors believe that business is picking up the bill for badly designed, inefficient buildings and more than a quarter (26%) state that bad office stock is actually damaging UK productivity.
However, the majority of property developers (67%) will only go as far as legislation demands when it comes to energy efficiency. Government plans to grade buildings with an energy performance certificate (in response to the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive) will therefore be instrumental in improving Britain’s ailing office stock.
Chris Johnson, Managing Principal, Gensler said: “The commercial offices which currently dominate our city skylines are costing business and the environment dear. With around 30% of energy consumption in the EU coming from the building sector, more sustainable and efficient design offers an enormous opportunity for reducing energy wastage, reducing carbon emissions and cutting costs.”
According to the study, spiralling fuel costs have pushed energy efficiency up the business agenda, with business aiming to reduce property energy consumption by 12% over the next 5 years. On average, business is willing to pay 10% more in rent for efficiently designed and constructed buildings.
The study reveals that businesses have the smallest influence on the design and build of their workplace – just 11% impact. More than half believe that developers do not build with the end-user in mind. And despite the recent proliferation of flagship towers, 87% of businesses would prefer an efficient office to an iconic building.
Whilst business welcomes the grading of buildings to raise the standard of the British workplace, developers have a stark warning about the impact of such measures on commercial property investors. 75% of developers believe that poor energy efficiency will have a negative impact on the value and transferability of current commercial property assets when certification is imposed.

Johnson commented: “Property fund managers are effectively sitting on an investment timebomb. The introduction of building certificates will shorten the lifespan of commercial buildings constructed before the new regulations, and we expect the capital value of inefficient buildings to fall as a result. We expect to see a shake up in the market, with investors disposing of inefficient stock, upgrading those buildings which can be adapted and demanding much higher energy efficiency from new buildings.”
A full copy of Gensler’s Faulty Towers report is available to the public at:

See also Firms Will Pay More For Green Offices

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Firms Will Pay More For Green Offices
The Springboard Business Centre in Stokesley, Yorkshire, is one of the first 'eco-offices' to be built in the North-east of England. Its award winning design is the result of a competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects, which saw architects from as far away as Australia and America compete to design it... more   back to top

New Sustainable Refurbishment Package
SBRE and the Housing Corporation have launched EcoHomes XB. It provides a way for Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to judge the environmental performance of their management structure and existing housing stock, highlighting properties that are in need of attention. The package is easy to use as it draws on existing data already to... more  back to top

Construction Industry Keeps Head Above Water
Mainstream construction activity increased during the second quarter of 2006, according to the latest joint Trade Survey Report from the Construction Products Association and the Construction Confederation. However, profitability is compromised by continuing increases in fuel and energy costs, which are squeezing both product manufacturers’... more   back to top

Households Could Get Carbon Audits
Individual carbon audits may be handed out to UK households in a bid to reduce their contribution to global warming, says Tony Blair. Speaking to BBC Radio 1's news programme, The Prime Minister said that the Government was looking at the idea, which he believes could encourage carbon-reducing measures in households across the country... more    back to top 

Recycled Ash Makes Greener Bricks
Researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia have developed bricks and building aggregate that can be manufactured entirely from waste fly ash. The result is a strong, lightweight building material that they believe could generate a thriving new "green" industry for countries such as China and India... more  back to top



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