AECB News : Soapbox

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Passivhaus planning refusal.

Philip Newbold questions a recent planning refusal on the basis of “isolated location”. I have just suffered my first planning refusal (upheld on appeal) in forty-odd years of building design. It was a proposed passive house (Band A) new-build, detached home on an established residential plot on the edge of a small town. The clients’ existing home on the same site won a national award for the Best New Eco-home in 2006 and the designer of their proposed new home next door (me),  is also a national award-winner for Best New Home in 2014. In spite of our collective credentials » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on June 15th, 2017

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Robust and effective ventilation strategies vital for new-build and redevelopments.

Carl Fivash comments following the EC’s decision to include indoor air quality into its EPBD. Carl wrote a Soapbox article for us in March 2017 on “The importance of improving indoor air quality in the fight against air pollution“.  Since then the European Commission has included indoor air quality into its Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.  This is what Carl had to say about this decision: “The announcement that the European Commission has made a last minute decision to include indoor air quality (IAQ) into its Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is a welcome sign that finally, health is » Read More

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

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Regulation; Why we don’t want or need it, and should stop asking for it!

Tom Jarman argues that regulation can be undesirable and unnecessary. In most industry events and workshops it is not long before talk turns to the ‘ask of government’, which in turn leads to a wish list of financial or regulatory assistance. And because this is an instinctive thing to do, it is hard to distinguish between what we genuinely need, and a replacement for something we can do ourselves already. This blog argues that regulation can be undesirable and unnecessary, and calls for regulation are too casually made. Ultimately, any sector needs to engage positively with Government. This blog argues » Read More

Posted in AECB Latest News, Soapbox on June 5th, 2017

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

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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

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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

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