Zero Carbon Challenge? Block Architects Are Stepping Up
The UK government is committed to sustainable growth and the green agenda. In 2011 they laid down a target for 2016 requiring all new homes built from now onwards to mitigate, through various measures, all the carbon emissions produced on-site as a result of the regulated energy use. This includes energy used to provide space heating and cooling, hot water and fixed lighting, as outlined in Part L1A of the Building Regulations. Emissions resulting from cooking and ‘plug-in’ appliances such as computers and televisions are not being addressed as part of this policy.
Basically this means that we will start to use zero carbon power generation methods such as wind power, solar power and geothermal power to light and heat our homes and our water.
What does zero carbon construction mean for existing home owners?
Over time, existing homes will have the opportunity to be upgraded to start taking advantage of sustainable power sources such as the initiative currently in place regarding solar panels.
What does zero carbon construction mean for future self-builders? Will new build homes and self-build homes all start to look like Scandinavian eco homes or European PassivHaus constructions?
The government has urged architects to design traditional British style homes, retaining the characteristics that we are used to seeing but embrace the necessary techniques to achieve a zero carbon rating.
“I am clear that the beginning of zero carbon does not need to mean the end of Great British design.” - Housing Minister Grant Shapps
Embracing the PassivHaus standard requires a change of lifestyle and so may not be practical for all. PassivHaus standards rely on Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) meaning frequent changing of filters, costing time and money.
So the challenge has been thrown down - design Great British zero carbon homes and buildings. Block Architects are well equipped to meet this challenge head on.
There are exciting times ahead as we embrace low energy and low carbon technologies. Maybe we are looking forward to a future where wind turbines become as common place in our gardens as water features are now…
If you'd like to know more about your carbon footprint and how to reduce it, please contact us today.
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