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October 2008

Low Carbon Existing Homes report released
The UK Green Building Council has submitted its report, entitled 'Low Carbon Existing Homes' to the government today, after spending the summer working on it alongside a number of other organisations. The Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, who initiated the work, the Technology Strategy Board and the Sustainable Development Commission have all joined forces to help deliver the project. Government provided co-funding and support.... more
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See the latest in timber structures
An exhibition running in Bristol until the beginning of November showcases a selection of cutting edge timber structures. Following on from last year’s successful Inspiring Futures exhibition on wooden buildings, The Architecture Centre is presenting a second exhibition from The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World... more  back to top

Less red tape will benefit builders and householders
Householders wanting to extend and improve their homes will benefit from the relaxation of planning rules which come into force on 1st October 2008, say the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Changes to permitted development rights for householders will mean that many home extensions will no longer require planning... more  back to top



Feed-in tariff may be in the pipeline

A lobbying event last week, hosted by the Renewable Energy Association, Friends of the Earth and the Renewable Energy Tariff Coalition, to push for a 'feed-in tariff' may have met with success. The event was followed by a statement from Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband announcing plans to amend the Energy Bill to introduce a 'feed-in tariff' to support small scale renewable power generation.

The event showcased a 3D model of a ‘2020 town’ which demonstrated the different renewable energy possibilities available. As a result, huge support was generated with over 100 MPs (and rising) signing their support to the Early Day Motion (EDM) for the amendment to the Energy Bill.

The proposals announced by Ed Miliband today will offer a fixed reward to renewable power technologies only. The tariff proposed by the Coalition and the Lords would have rewarded producers of renewable heat and renewable gas, as well as power.

Consumers will have the potential to reduce and stabilise energy bills and generate additional revenue. A tariff is also widely seen as essential for driving renewable energy generation to the level required to meet the EU’s 2020 target. The UK is currently bottom of the league while the tariff model has been highly successful in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs, Renewable Energy Association, commented: “Business and community support for this campaign has always been incredible and we are delighted that the new Department for Energy and Climate Change is showing it means business by picking this up. However, it is vital that the Tariff measure covers renewable heat as well. Heat is the primary use of energy in the UK, responsible for half the UK’s emissions – and renewable heat is the cheapest way to help meet the renewables targets.”

Dave Timms, Senior Campaigner, Parliamentary Unit, Friends of the Earth, added: “We welcome Ed Milliband’s acceptance of the need for a feed-in tariff and the important role that it can play in encouraging the installation of small scale renewable electricity systems, such as solar panels, wind and water turbines. However the details of the Government’s amendment are unknown. It is essential that they bring forward a comprehensive scheme, with a timetable for its introduction. It must include households, businesses, communities and local authorities, giving them all an incentive play their part in tackling climate change by generating renewable electricity and heat.

“The renewable energy potential in Britain is enormous, developing green power will cut our dependency on fossil fuels, slash UK carbon dioxide emissions, increase fuel security and create thousands of jobs.”

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Planners may ignore sustainability issues
A new report published today by the Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) has identified a number of key issues currently facing the practice of Sustainability Appraisal (SA) within the spatial planning process. The report uncovered evidence of areas where SA recommendations are making a real difference to development plan policies, but evidence was also found which suggests that recommendations are often ignored.... more  back to top

Strawbale semis a first for UK
The owner of a 16th century Somerset coaching inn is building an extension - made of straw. The new buildings at Ralegh's Cross, in stunning isolation 1,300ft up on Exmoor, are the first pair of strawbale two-storey semi-detached houses in the UK. They form part of owner Peter Rowan's plan to reduce the inn’s carbon footprint, aiming ultimately to achieve carbon-neutral status. ... more   back to top

Friends of the Earth teams up with green energy supplier
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth is so impressed with the green credentials of electricity supplier Good Energy that they have formed a partnership with the company to fight climate change. Good Energy is the first and only 100 per cent renewable electricity supplier in the UK... more  back to top

Welsh Assembly 'should not hurry for zero carbon'
Manufacturers are telling the Welsh Assembly Government not rush to bring in new regulations aimed at tackling climate change but which could also inadvertently make some companies in North Wales uncompetitive compared to counterparts in England... more  back to top 

Code for Sustainable Homes 'will not save water'
Water consumption levels will be unaffected by the Code for Sustainable Homes, according to the Good Homes Alliance (GHA), a group of developers committed to building and monitoring sustainable homes. By looking at the performance of the whole household rather than setting ratings for individual fittings and by failing to take user behaviour into consideration, the GHA believes that the Code is driving developers to install impractical fittings, such as spray taps in kitchens and baths that are too small... more   back to top




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