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February 2007

SBRE organises Passivhaus tour
SBRE is organising a fact-finding visit to German PassivHaus dwellings in the Hannover region. A workshop and study tour will be hosted by proKlima, the regional climate protection agency. A full briefing regarding the PassivHaus principles will be provided, with visits ... more  back to top

Ever heard of Site Waste Management Plans ?
NetRegs, the Environment Agency website, say that in a survey of 402 companies this year, over 60% did not know what Site Waste Management Plans were. This is despite the fact that the plans will be required from April 2008 for all projects above £200,000 in value. The NetRegs website, which advises small businesses... more  back to top

German renewable energy expands
German electricity generation from renewable energy sources rose by 15 percent last year to 73.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), industry association VDEW said recently. Within Germany's total power output in 2006, which was up from 63.5 billion kWh in 2005, renewables accounted for an 11.9 percent share... more  back to top

Mini waterwheel can power a house
Two men from Kendal, Cumbria have invented a mini-waterwheel capable of supplying enough electricity to power a house - for free. The contraption is designed to be used in small rivers or streams - ideal for potentially thousands of homes across Britain... more  back to top



Survey shows increased demand
for green homes

A recent survey has shown a massive shift in public opinion regarding sustainable homes.
   The new report, 'Eco Chic or Eco Geek' by the Sponge Sustainability Network, has demonstrated for the first time an overwhelming consumer demand for high performance environmentally friendly homes. The MORI poll showed that home owners are prepared to pay more to live in a sustainable home. 92 per cent of those surveyed are keen to see sustainability features offered on new homes, while 64 per cent said these should be compulsory.
   In November 2005, Sponge published a report which found that at that time there was no proven market demand for more sustainable homes; and that homebuyers did not fully understand the choices available to them in relation to sustainability features.
To see how the situation had changed, Sponge employed Ipsos MORI to make a quantitative telephone survey of 500 home owners and qualitative research with four discussion groups. The new research found that:

Home owners are becoming increasingly interested in sustainable housing. Four out of five believe that sustainable homes can help combat climate change. There is a general willingness to adopt sustainable lifestyles; however this has to be both time and cost effective. Home owners expect developers to build to high environmental standards, over half (52%) are prepared to pay more for this, but nine out of ten people also think that the Government should provide incentives to encourage demand.
Lack of information is seen as a key barrier in driving demand for sustainable homes. 70% of homeowners claim to know little or nothing at all about sustainable homes. 73% also felt the Government should be responsible for communicating the benefits of sustainable homes to the public. If Government schemes such as the Home Information Pack (and associated Energy Performance Certificate) and the new Code for Sustainable Homes succeed, these findings suggest that information is a significant barrier that needs to be addressed, in order to drive demand for sustainable homes.

Of especial interest to builders were the following findings:-

Homeowners are concerned over how much electricity/gas and water they use (75% for energy; 61% for water);
Water and energy efficiency are becoming more important features for home buyers. While 45% of respondents state that energy efficient or water saving features were fairly or very important when choosing their current home, 73% say it would be fairly or very important in choosing their next home;
92% of respondents want to see sustainability features offered as options on new homes. 64% of respondents think these should be compulsory;
Home owners hold positive associations with sustainable homes, seeing them as modern, attractive, hi-tech, fashionable, and good value (in comparison with old-fashioned, ugly, lo-tech and poor value); and
Home owners are prepared to pay extra to live in a sustainable housing development. Two thirds of homeowners would be prepared to pay a monthly charge for sustainability services, such as convenient recycling facilities, green-caretaker, and car sharing.

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Ground source heat pump pilot a success
A Council scheme to test ground source heat pumps and energy saving measures has proved a runaway success. Harrogate Borough Council fitted ground source heat pumps (GSHP) to eight detached bungalows in a year long trial to measure their energy and cost efficiency. Energy bills were high, ranging from £450 - £700 for hot water and heating... more   back to top

Recycle surplus building materials online
Two new websites aim to provide an online green shopping experience. The first sets out to provide a green solution to the building trade’s burgeoning problem of surplus building materials. The new online marketplace is dedicated to selling surplus, new, used, or salvaged building stock/materials, to trade and DIY enthusiasts... more   back to top

Low and zero carbon building group formed
If the UK’s house building aims are to be achieved by 2016, the construction industry must work together now to share experience, innovation and best practice and expand the collective knowledge essential in delivering the government’s zero carbon objectives. This was the message from Neil Schofield, Head of Sustainable Development... more   back to top

UKGBC to officially launch at Ecobuild
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) will be officially launched at Ecobuild on the 27th February 2007. The UKGBC aims to be a unique voice for the built environment community, bringing together companies and organisations who work on the demand and supply side including building funders, developers, agents, designers... more   back to top 




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Forthcoming Events

27 February to
1 March 2007
Ecobuild - London

Ecobuild is the UK’s only event dedicated to sustainable design and construction. The Ecobuild conference – now in its third year – is aimed at everyone involved in the creation and delivery of policy and regulations, and any aspect of architecture and design, engineering, planning, surveying, development and construction.

1st March - Natural Building
Green Building Bible Sponsored seminar

29 March 2007
Energy Efficiency, Sustainability & Old buildings - Oxford

The whole issue of energy conservation is highly topical particularly given recent changes to the Building Regulations and the introduction of Energy Performance Certificates. The SPAB's Technical Panel has recently been considering the complex issues.

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Multifoils 2-6 - the answer at last

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