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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorbogal2
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2019
     
    From July last year councils were given the right to set higher building standards for new builds beyond Part L building Regs. Several councils have acted on this, including Norwich and Brighton. I've only just found this out and through the local Green Party in Cheshire West and our one councillor we are going to try and push for higher standards, at least on council owned land. Has anyone else got any thoughts on how to exert pressure on local councils to improve standards?

    https://www.ukgbc.org/news/government-confirms-local-authorities-can-set-energy-standards-beyond-part-l-in-nppf/
  1.  
    This has been available for quite a while, in Scotland and I had thought in England too?

    It is actually works through the planning system, rather than through Building Standards/Regs, which councils can't alter. The local planning policy says that new buildings must exceed Building Regs/Stds by so much, before they will give planning permission.

    Our local council planning policy is that new buildings must have a Gold sustainability rating to get planning permission (27% less CO2 than Building Stds as well as improved water use, daylight, accessibility, deconstuctability, renewables, security, etc).

    By next year the policy changes to require a Platinum rating which is zero net emissions.

    I have no idea how enforced this is in practice, planning is a different office from building control, there are lots of getouts available ...

    Maybe your group could influence the next cycle of your council's local development plan, get it baked into the planning policy and then it is clear for developers and officers what the requirements will be?
    • CommentAuthorbogal2
    • CommentTimeJul 21st 2019
     
    We were thinking of speaking at the next planning committee meeting to start with and possibly proposing a motion at some point. Great to see that some councils are already acting to improve standards.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    Mine did it last year soon to be ratified for a 35% improvement over 2013 building regs and failure to achieve this will attract S106 charges that will be earmarked for improving other properties to deliver savings there instead

    I do not like that it is all defined in terms of CO2 where the definition is vague, inconsistent and confusing with ideas like net zero carbon

    The are effectively asking for zero carbon homes though.
    • CommentAuthorIan1961
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    wouldn't it be easiest to require a minimum CO2 emissions rating of, say, B or A? All EPC certificates for new-builds the environmental impact rating G-A.
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    While on the subject, can somebody please explain me why I see newbuilds going up at this moment with walls designed to U=0.3 W/m2K? I thought U=0.18 is BR requirement since 2016?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    Is that a designed 0.3 or a delivered 0.3?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019 edited
     
    I would far rather we talked kWh/m2/a not CO2 as the definition for CO2 is full of inconsistency, conflicts etc
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyI would far rather we talked kWh/m2/a not CO2 as the definition for CO2 is full of inconsistency, conflicts etc

    +1

    I'd also like to see a more sensible system than EPCs used before we start measuring any real targets against the standard.
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: tonyIs that a designed 0.3 or a delivered 0.3?

    I guess designed. I see walls with standard 100mm cavities with a full fill of Knauf Earthwool 32 going up, with no prospect for further EWI.
    Although it would be a very funny layup, it could be that IWI is going to be added to the inside. 20mm PIR backed plasterboard would do the trick of getting to U=0.18. Is that something that is standard nowadays? It would seem an expensive solution as PIR backed plasterboard is not cheap.
    • CommentAuthorIan1961
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    These are the Limiting U Values for England (Wales is now different)
      Capture.JPG
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    Bart that lay up sounds like a perfect case for thermal bypass and draughts behind the linings
    • CommentAuthorbhommels
    • CommentTimeJul 22nd 2019
     
    @ian1961: thanks for the ref to the original part L. I thought the 2016 amendments upped the game for walls of a new build to U=0.18. Reading through it seems that it only applies to a "best practice" case. SIgh.

    @tony, fully agree, yes it would be. Consequently even the lousy BR airtightness std would be tricky to achieve.
  2.  
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: tony</cite>I would far rather we talked kWh/m2/y not CO2 as the definition for CO2 is full of inconsistency, conflicts etc</blockquote>

    The requirement in the local planning policy references Scottish building standards which use the SAP methods (warts and all)
    https://www2.gov.scot/resource/buildingstandards/2016Domestic/chunks/ch08s02.html

    "the carbon dioxide emissions (Dwelling Emission Rate) is to be 27% lower than the Target Emission Rate set by the .. SAP calculation...."

    "energy for space heating : 30 kWh/m2 for houses, or
    20 kWh/m2 for flats ... Assessed from box no.99 of the SAP worksheet...."

    "50% of the dwellings annual energy demand for water heating .. from heat recovery and/or renewable sources... assessed by a SAP spreadsheet"

    There are also requirements for water saving, accessibility/adaptability, noise, daylight, security, outdoor space, deconstuctability with criteria how to assess them.

    As this determines whether you will get planning permission or not, it has to be defined tightly enough that it could withstand a planning appeal.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2019
     
    I don't think Tony and I are disputing how planning policies are stated. We're just saying we think it would be better if they were in terms of kWh/m2/a rather than CO2 instead.
  3.  
    Well, obviously not all kWh/m2/a have the same GHG effects - a kWh/m2/a of heat-pump heat, is much better than a kWh/m2/a of electric resistance heating.

    But calculating the emissions does involve even more 'inconsistencies and conflicts', as Tony said. And the heating could be replaced several times in the building's lifetime.

    Each council is free to choose which approach to put in their planning policy, or they could sit on the fence like ours did and specify both! That was my point...

    Ideally this could be solved by tightening up Building Stds/Regs nationally, then local planning departments wouldn't have to take positions on this.
  4.  
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenWell, obviously not all kWh/m2/a have the same GHG effects - a kWh/m2/a of heat-pump heat, is much better than a kWh/m2/a of electric resistance heating.

    Err - no
    3 kWh /m2 of heat pump is the same as 3 kWh/m2 of electric resistance heating is the same GHG emissions in both cases. The fact that you get more useable heat from a heat pump doesn't alter the GHG of 3 kWh/m2

    I agree with above where a figure of kWh/m2 is a better measure (more understandable) and how you chose to spend it could be up to the owner.
  5.  
    ???!

    Heat pump uses one-third as much electricity as electric resistance heating does, to heat the same house, so causes one-third as many kgCO2e emissions.

    But which system would be chosen by a low-costs builder, if they were constrained only by a kW/m2/a target?

    Were you thinking of something else?
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2019 edited
     
    If you want to make this happen I believe you need to get it into the local plan or developers are likely to get the conditions overturned at appeal.

    Your first task will be to get someone in the planning department to own the issue. To do that you might need to get your councillors and MPs to write in support.

    I believe it would help your case if you could show it wouldn't significantly increase house costs/prices. Backing up assertions with real data. Perhaps get a tame QS involved?

    Once you have a draft policy.. The process of formally amending the local plan includes a consultation phase. Officially anyone can comment during the consultation phase but only if they know its happening. Developers and other interested parties will already be on the mailing list (I am for my planning department). So your next mission will be to get lots of like minded people onto the planners mailing list and have them comment in support once the document is open for consultation. It can be done but expect a long slog.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2019
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenHeat pump uses one-third as much electricity as electric resistance heating does, to heat the same house, so causes one-third as many kgCO2e emissions.
    Not so if the electricity comes from a fossil power station - the poiwer station uses three units of primary fuel to produce one unit of electricty, so you're back where you started. Only if youy can guarantee that your heat pump is powered by renewable 'fuel', or dread to say nuclear, is it true that a heat pump "causes one-third as many kgCO2e emissions".
  6.  
    Tom, please read my post again!

    I compared heat pump to direct electric heating

    You are thinking of comparing it to gas heating.

    Peter, the 30kWh/m2/a limit is 30kWh/m2/a of heat requirements (according to SAP ) - not 30kWh/m2/a of electricity or fuel.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2019
     
    Posted By: CWattersThe process of formally amending the local plan includes a consultation phase.

    Our local plan has just gone into the consultation stage. So your "Your first task will be to get someone in the planning department to own the issue" is a bit too late for me. My local councillor (green) is onboard. Sadly the largest party (con) is not. But the largest party does not have a majority, so things are not completely black.

    So are there any suitable draft policies out there already written that could be adapted or even adopted wholesale?
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2019 edited
     
    Beg pardon Will. It did seem like a v old 'insight' to be trotting out!
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2019
     
    The point is it's better to separate concerns. Housing performance should be measured and tested in terms of kWh and energy supplies in terms of CO2. That way you avoid obfuscation, and make the system more transparent.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJul 28th 2019 edited
     
    I asked: 'So are there any suitable draft policies out there already written that could be adapted or even adopted wholesale?'

    Hmm, no response but fortunately I can now answer my own question. :bigsmile:

    The Green Building Council has a 'Policy Playbook' that offers model clauses for incorporation into councils' local plans. It can be downloaded at https://www.ukgbc.org/ukgbc-work/sustainability-standards-new-homes/

    In the case of my council's local plan, it seems they had incorporated some of the suggested clauses, but had done some butchering so as to make them ineffective. Whether that was deliberate or just incompetent I don't know. Anyway, I have commented on the plan and copied our green councillors so hopefully they might be modified before they are brought into use. :devil:

    They'd also failed to recognize that they have an obligation to actually grant planning permission on self-build plots by Oct 30 this year to match the number of names in their self-build register, so I've reminded them of that and pointed out they are open to a legal challenge on it. :shocked:
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 28th 2019
     
    I like the GBC doc, like the energy standard even though it allows a wide range

    Some are already taking up better standards

    Well done UKGBC
  7.  
    They are advocating a CO2 target 19% better than 2013 standards, which they say can be met by adding another 1kW of PV.

    Isn't that a little bit feeble?

    C/f the already-enacted policy which I quoted from, up the thread.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2019
     
    I also like the idea of as delivered standards, ie closing the performance gap, this could make a huge difference, likely ruling out the dreaded dot and dab approach to wall finishing.

    The Scottish standards look nice, I like the heating energy demand figures given of 30 or 40 but these properties will need to have been retrofitted before 2050 to help achieve the targets . Why not build fit for that purpose now?

    Passive House says 15 which is half of the 30 and that standard was developed 35 years ago, shouldn’t we boing better than that by now.

    We are moving in the right direction but the thinking is not right yet.

    7 would be my aim and nothing more than 10 acceptable for all new builds.
  8.  
    Posted By: tonyPassive House says 15 which is half of the 30 and that standard was developed 35 years ago, shouldn’t we boing better than that by now.


    We (they) are. Whilst I don't particularly like the new PH classification - in my view it complicates the single recognised 'standard' - I've now done some more reading on the subject and can see why they now advocate for classes that generate more kW on site than they use.

    Rather than aiming for lower point of use demand at the scale of a single property, they are now looking at the wider practicalities of supporting a decarbonised grid. At this end of the demand scale, electrical heating is becoming more practical and more and more new builds will be electric only.

    The original 15kWh target was set (a long time ago), by looking at the diminishing returns available from extra insulation and airtightness measures. To get to 10 or even 7 would be more likely to just make a few expensive one-off houses that perpetuate the perception of PH as a costly extra that can be dropped when the money gets tight.

    In my view it's a bit like the building regs generally - better to ensure that all the buildings you build actually meet the existing standard than just keep aiming lower and lower without actually meeting the target. If we made PH at 15 mainstream and affordable this would be a much bigger win.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2019
     
    Posted By: djhThey'd also failed to recognize that they have an obligation to actually grant planning permission on self-build plots by Oct 30 this year to match the number of names in their self-build register, so I've reminded them of that and pointed out they are open to a legal challenge on it.


    I think they may have another year. I think the register opened in Oct 2016 so the first year of registration would be Oct 2016-2017. So I think they have until 30th Oct 2020 to grant requests made before Oct 2017?
   
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