AECB News : Soapbox

The case for public authorities

Tara Gbolade considers whether the face of public authority housing is changing. Local authorities (LA’s) and housing associations (HA’s) aren’t identified as ‘innovative’ when it comes to quality and provision of housing in the UK (with a few exceptions!). With slowness in responding to changing markets, a very real cost budget to meet, and the Section 106 requirement by the government, public housing have historically suffered as the ‘add-on’ to development, often also represented as such. But, with councils like Camden, Norwich and Exeter, as well as HA’s like Hastoe leading the way with Passivhaus developments, could the face of » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on April 13th, 2017

Local authorities and sustainability standards

Tom Jarman asks what can planning authorities do, and how do we create a dialogue rather than minimum compliance? Local authorities (LAs) are required to have a local plan which contains their development goals and direction of travel for the next decade and a half.  The local plan contains a housing allocation, including numbers of buildings and areas where development is likely to be granted planning permission.  It will also contain guidance which indicates what needs to be considered to make a development broadly acceptable.  This blog considers the current legal situation, in terms of what LAs can ask developers » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on April 7th, 2017

The importance of improving indoor air quality in the fight against air pollution.

Carl Fivash argues we should be fixing the problem from the inside out. If we are to protect a generation of young children from serious harm, time is running out to clean-up the toxic air pollution choking many of Britain’s towns and cities. That was the urgent warning issued recently in a letter to the Prime Minister by the campaigning group Doctors Against Diesel, and it’s a concern shared by many scientific and medical experts. It will take years to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on our roads, but we can protect ourselves from air pollution’s harmful effects right » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on March 23rd, 2017

We are still taking a disgraceful approach to build quality – and waving goodbye to energy savings.

Paul Buckingham argues that profit driven construction is having detrimental effects on quality and energy efficiency. Seven years of experience with thermographic imaging and air testing on all kinds of buildings have confirmed AECB member Paul Buckingham’s depressing conclusion that almost without exception, buildings in this country are still shoddily assembled and continue failing to meet the standards set. What is worse, the prevailing ethos seems not to be ‘how well can we build?’, but ‘how quickly and cheaply can we get these boxes ticked?’ In this latest Soapbox, Paul shares some more of his horror stories, and calls for » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on March 21st, 2017

failed sedum

Green roofs – why so many go wrong and how to get it right.

Lee Evans looks at common problems with sedum roofs and discusses research into a Swiss-inspired alternative. Often when clients, architects or specifiers think about green roofs they think of sedum, small succulents which are naturally occurring around the northern hemisphere. So much so that sedum roofs dominate UK green roof specifications, comprising perhaps as much as 85% by area of a £100M annual market. Sedum is popular because it’s claimed to be low cost (less growing medium), low weight (less implied cost to strengthen the structure below) and considered ‘fit and forget’, i.e. low or no maintenance (O&M). The argument goes » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on January 31st, 2017

Soapbox – can you contribute an article?

Use our Soapbox platform to get your point across! AECB soapbox is a platform which members and guest contributors can use to put forward an idea, view, opinion, or a distinctive practice or product that they are itching to share with fellow AECB members. Soapboxes are published generally one per month, and will be flagged up in the monthly Network newsletter, and published on the AECB website, in the AECB news area and social media. A soapbox item will be quite short – around 700 words, and will be clearly identified as opinion. The opinion can be passionately held, but » Read More

Posted in Soapbox on November 16th, 2016

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings: Emperor’s Clothes or the Most Significant New Buildings Policy Ever?

Robert Cohen Shares his Views on the Definition of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings When the government abandoned its long-nurtured zero carbon buildings policy soon after the May 2015 election, the EPBD requirement[1] for all new buildings to be Nearly Zero Energy from the end of 2020 was the last remaining hope on the policy horizon for truly low energy standards to be mandated for non-residential new build. Even after the referendum vote for Brexit, I believe they will still be coming to the UK. But if they do, will this policy deliver the intended transformational outcomes? That will all depend » Read More

Posted in Soapbox on August 25th, 2016

Claus Best outside his retrofitted home

Retrofitting – the Effective way to Achieve C02 Savings in the UK Housing Sector

Soapbox Article by Claus Best Discussing the Benefits of Retrofitting With the Government’s vote to scrap zero carbon homes and estimation that the UK population will rise by almost 10 million by 2035, there is no better time to start pushing – and I mean really pushing – the retrofitting of existing homes to achieve CO2 savings. Without action, the toxic cocktail of poorly built homes and a rapidly growing population will have wide reaching implications for the nation. One major problem is the downgrading of planned building standards, which are again slipping behind the times and expectations of the industry itself. Insulation » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on June 14th, 2016

Anti-European Obsession with Kettles and Toasters is Distorting the Energy Efficiency Debate

Andrew Warren Argues those Hostile to Europe are Trying to Block Energy/Carbon Saving Measures Republished from www.businessgreen.com New rules could save eight million tonnes of oil and 10 million tonnes of CO2 – but Leave campaigners ignore these benefits when attacking EU efficiency standards, argues Andrew Warren The European Commission’s plan of action for the next round of ecodesign and energy labeling regulation of energy consuming equipment has been deliberately delayed, allegedly due to the forthcoming UK referendum on membership of the European Union. The long list of possible product energy efficiency measures, originally announced in 2014 to be under » Read More

Posted in Soapbox on May 25th, 2016

Will the Smart Meter Roll-Out be Another Government IT Disaster? By Andrew Warren

Andrew Warren Fears the Government’s Flagship Smart Meter Programme Could be Heading for Trouble Republished from www.businessgreen.com Last year, in March and July, the government undertook two public consultations on the Smart Energy Code. With the sole exception of Citizens Advice, nobody else seems to have responded. Perhaps not altogether surprising as these concerned debate around such specialist areas as Repository Test Scenarios, Gas Proxy Functions, the DCCKI Infrastructure Certificate, Non Gateway Interference and the role of the Smart Meter Device Assurance Ltd. All the time, government ministers have continued to reiterate the energy saving benefits to consumers of these » Read More

Posted in Soapbox on April 13th, 2016

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