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February 2008

CAT building to use hemp walls
Walls built with hemp will be a major feature of a new building at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). The innovative mixture of hemp stalks, lime and a small quantity of cement ... more
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Product manufacture needs responsible sourcing
Construction product manufacturers have come together to push forward the development of a framework standard on responsible sourcing... more back to top

Feed in tariff for microgeneration
It looks as though the government may be deciding to embrace feed-in tariffs, and the Renewable Energy Association have issued a statement welcoming the news. Malcolm Wickes, the energy minister, told... more  back to top

Brownfield recommendations adopted
The government has responded to English Partnerships’ recom-mendations on policies to coordinate the redevelopment of brownfield land. Formal adoption of the recommendations, announced by Under Secretary of State Iain Wright MP... more 
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Sustainable Homes Code rating
will be compulsory

DEFRA have announced changes to the Code for Sustainable Homes, the voluntary standard designed to improve the overall sustainability of new homes. The Code aims to set a single framework within which the home building industry can design and construct homes to higher environmental standards and offers a tool for developers to differentiate themselves within the market, and for homebuyers to assess the greeness of their future home.

Following a consultation regarding whether the code should be made mandatory rather than voluntary, the government will be introducing mandatory ratings against the Code from May 2008.

This means that while it remains voluntary to design and build a home to meet the standards set out in the Code, regulations will mean that from May 2008 those selling new homes will be required to provide information to any prospective purchaser on the sustainability of the home.

Where a home is designed and built to the Code and assessed against it, a Code certificate will be provided. Otherwise, a statement of non assessment (a nil-rated certificate) will be provided.

This decision does not require and has not resulted in any changes to the Code itself.

The consultation also affects Lifetime Homes. As a result the performance standard has been amended to reflect the mandatory status of the Lifetime Homes element at Code level 6 from April 2008.

With regard to site waste management plans, Defra will require these for developments over £300,000. The Code threshold limit for developments requiring site waste management plans has been increased from £250,000 to £300,000.

This change will be reflected in the next version of the Technical Guidance in April 2008.

The National Assembly of Wales announced in December 2007 that it will be adopting the Code for all new social housing. Welsh Ministers are expected to confirm shortly the timing and Code level. New build homes in the private sector may also choose to have an assessment done against the Code.

The Code will also be required for all new build social housing at Code Level 3 from 1 April 2008. There will be a review of the Code, followed by a full public consultation, at the same time as the consultation on the next planned changes to Part L of the Building Regulations relating to energy efficiency standards.
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Solar powered paint in the pipeline
Electricity could be generated by the painted roof and walls of a building if current research being carried out in Wales works out. Scientists are aiming to find a way to paint solar cells onto steel sheets of the kind used to clad large buildings. At present, steel sheets are painted rapidly by passing them through rollers... more   back to top

Portland development will have to be green
The former naval playing fields on Portland are being sold for £2 million to make way for a new 'green' housing scheme. The South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) has invited tenders for the 4.61 acres site near Victoria Square through agents Goadsby. It has insisted that the new 'groundbreaking' development... more   back to top

Gardens essential to sustainable urban design
Good old fashioned gardens are essential to the development of eco towns as well as in the control of overheating and flash flooding in urban areas, say the Town and Country Planning Association, (TCPA). A seminar in Exeter today will see the TCPA call for proposed eco-towns to rediscover the qualities of the Garden Suburbs and Garden Villages... more   back to top

Brighton couple win eco home award
A couple from Brighton, who transformed a derelict builder’s yard into a home that’s bursting with green features, have won Norwich and Peterborough Building Society's Eco Self Build competition. The Society holds its competition, which has a prize of £5000, every year to raise awareness of how homes can be built in a... more
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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.

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.

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