AECB News : Soapbox

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

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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 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

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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 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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Seeing is Believing – by AECB Guest Author, Andrew Warren

The Importance of Open Homes to Promote Energy Efficiency “The cheapest and cleanest energy choice of all is not to waste it.” I have lost count of the number of commentators who have reached this ( in many ways blindingly obvious) conclusion.  But the fact remains that we in Britain continue to live in some of the coldest, leakiest homes in Europe. We have to ask ourselves why it is that quite so many people, who could perfectly well afford to improve the energy performance of their homes, simply  put up with living in such cold and wasteful conditions.  I suspect » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on April 11th, 2016

Soapbox Author

Why Should Architects Adopt Passivhaus? By Tara Gbolade

Soapbox Article to Discuss the Benefits of Passivhaus While still a student of architecture, I took the same approach to sustainability as I did to structural design – first design my building, then think about how these ‘concepts’ would be implemented. The bigger influence for me developing an understanding of, and an interest in sustainable design was my newly built, one bed flat by the quayside – it was always freezing and I paid extortionate electricity bills for the privilege! I knew there had to be a better way to building homes and as a budding Architect, it was my duty » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on March 4th, 2016

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Carrots, Sticks and Tambourines; A Donkey Serenade – by AECB Guest Author, Andrew Warren

On average, we are all 18% wealthier in real terms than we were at the start of the century. On average, we are achieving this increase in affluence whilst using 14% less energy than in 2000. One way this turnaround has been achieved is by treating us all like donkeys. How come? Well, there are three ways to get donkeys to do things. You wave a carrot in front of their noses. You bash them on the rump with a stick. And most importantly, around their ears, you rattle away on a tambourine. All three work together, to get the » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on January 25th, 2016


Does Passivhaus Pay? – by David Olivier

History In March 1983, I stayed in a ‘superinsulated retrofit’ in Boston, USA. The three-storey row house with basement was of timber-frame construction [1]. In 1985, I visited a similarly ambitious retrofit in Toronto, Canada, featuring a solid brick-walled ‘heritage building’. In 1994, I visited a ‘chainsaw’ retrofit’ in central Canada. It gained its nickname because the rafter overhangs were removed using one of these, as a prelude to insulating and draughtproofing the house thoroughly from the outside. The work went ahead in 1982. These retrofits were the sequel to the new superinsulated buildings which began to appear in North » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on December 2nd, 2015

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Decline and Fall – by AECB Guest Author, Andrew Warren

Job losses in the insulation and related industries continue to mount. Because of the disparate nature of these industries, and in particular its delivery agents, precise figures are difficult to establish, even by the relevant trade associations. A new survey launched on the back of the Government’s controversial feed-in tariff (FiT) consultation has found that 70% of solar installers are concerned that the anticipated cuts to subsidies – set to be confirmed this autumn – could cripple their financial stability. The survey, conducted by the NAPIT Trade Association, which represents tradespeople and installers within that part the building services sector, also found » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on November 5th, 2015

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Time to Wake up to the Reality – Article by Andrew Warren

This column appeared in the October 2015 issue of Energy in Buildings and Industry.   Amazement, shock and concern greeted the news that energy use has declined over the last 50 years. But will the Government finally catch on to the benefits of energy efficiency? In September, the Warren Report was headlined “The Silent Revolution in UK Energy Use”. In it, I revealed that over the past fifty years UK GDP wealth has increased by almost threefold while at the same time overall energy consumption across the economy has actually fallen (by about 5 per cent). The level of interest » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on October 27th, 2015

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