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February 2008
Greener Homes and Buildings

Greener cement production starts soon
A factory on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia could be about to provide a big step forward for green building. It's the first commercial enterprise in the world dedicated to transforming waste from power stations and blast furnaces into geopolymer concrete, said by the manufacturer to offer significant savings in carbon emissions... more
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Rising energy prices encourage efficiency
European governments and the European Commission are being urged to hasten the development of housing that produces no greenhouse gases. The European Energy Network (ENR), which includes energy advisory bodies across the EU, says better enforcement of green building codes is also needed. Less than a quarter of EU states have introduced... more
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Barratts green house under construction
The winning eco home design from the 2007 Homes of the Future competition, run by the Mail on Sunday, is now being built by Barratt at the BRE Innovation Park. Designed by architects Gaunt Francis, the house is one of the the first to be both suitable for volume production and capable of meeting the UK Government's zero carbon... more   back to top



South East development 'could be environmental disaster'

The government's home building ambitions in the South East of England could be an environmental disaster despite the Code for Sustainable Homes, according to a new report from University College, London.

The reports author, Jo Williams says that planned developments in the Thames Gateway, Ashford and Milton Keynes, could be a "marvellous opportunity" to tackle climate change. But the top environmental standards for sustainable homes must be made compulsory for all new houses, she said. There will also need to be far more investment in technology and infrastructure to ensure that all new homes meet the government's zero carbon target by 2016.

In a paper published in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Dr Williams said the environmental performance standards set by the Government are not strong enough.

The Code for Sustainable Homes aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and introduce greater energy and water efficiency, recycling facilities, sustainable building materials and waste and ecological considerations.

But while publicly-funded homes must currently meet the three-star grade, compared with the top six-star rating for the most zero-carbon homes with state of the art technology, the code is still voluntary for privately built developments.

"The housing growth programme planned for England and Wales could provide a marvellous opportunity to tackle climate change if approached differently, but currently appears set to be an environmental disaster," Dr Williams said.

"The housing programme provides Government with an excellent opportunity to move towards its carbon reduction targets, but to do so will require that higher performance standards become mandatory for all new housing.

"The Government needs to address this urgently and provide investment to ensure that environmentally sustainable housing does not come at the price of exacerbating the housing shortage."

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Employees don't save energy
Over a third (36%) of UK workers are more likely to waste energy in the workplace than at home according to new research. Male workers were shown to be the worst culprits in contrast to their female colleagues. The research, which surveyed 1,140 working adults, found that despite people taking proactive energy saving steps at home, such as switching off light more   back to top

Green amendments to NI building regulations scrapped
Carbon emissions from housing in Northern Ireland are likely to stay much the same after NI finance minister Peter Robinson MP binned proposed legislation to tackle climate change. Robinson decided NOT to implement changes to building regulations which would have forced property developers to build greener homes... more    back to top

Emissions figures 'do not tell
the whole story'

According to new figures released by DEFRA, overall greenhouse gas emissions fell slightly in 2006, but environmental campaigners Friends of the Earth say the government is not telling the full story. The final figures for all emissions in the UK in 2006 show that total greenhouse gas emissions were down 0.5 per cent on 2005 levels... more   back to top

Anger at fuel povery announcement
Environmentalists have reacted angrily to the recent announcement by the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group that a legally-binding target for tackling fuel poverty for vulnerable groups by 2010 will not be met. One in six British households is now living in fuel poverty, the highest for almost a decade. Fuel poverty is defined as when a... more   back to top 

Eco shelter gives teens a place to go
It's a familiar story: a group of noisy teenagers congregate in a public place and annoy the residents. But instead of slapping an antisocial behaviour order on them, a parish council in rural Northamptonshire has taken a more enlightened approach and helped its young people to design and build an eco-friendly place to hang out... more
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Strawbale demonstrations at Ecobuild
Some essential strawbale building techniques, as well as some new ideas will be demonstrated at this year's Ecobuild (Earl's Court, London, 26-28 February). Ecobuild is the UK 's only event dedicated to sustainable design and construction. Strawbale pioneers amazonails will be teaching the basics of strawbale construction, as well as... more   back to top



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Forthcoming Events

January to March
Northern Architecture's Event Series 2008 - Designing for life
Free debates examining ways of improving the
sustainability of regional buildings and improving the lives of communities.
18 March, Sustainable futures Gateshead.

26th - 28th February
500 exibitors
500 speakers
75 free seminars
free entry to exhibition

7th - 9th March
Greener Homes and Buildings Show
Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells. Professionals and self builders involved in planning, designing and constructing greener homes and buildings are being urged to book a date in the diary for an unmissable event.

28th/29th March
Homes for Good
Sustainable homes and gardens exhibition, Shepton Mallet. Conferences:
Eco-space – the final frontier - For construction and landscape professionals.
Co2mmunity Heroes  - A community level conference for community groups and individuals.

Green Building Forum

Post your questions on our green building forum. If other website visitors don't offer an answer then we will get you one within 72 hours.

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