Good Homes Alliance calls for review of Guide’s use under Code for Sustainable Homes

Lobby group the Good Homes Alliance (GHA) is calling for an immediate review of the Green Guide’s use in the Code for Sustainable Homes claiming it is flawed and could to more harm than good.

In a draft report, seen by Building Design magazine, GHA states: ‘The Green Guide is so flawed that it will undermine good building design….[and] will very likely worsen the overall environmental impact of buildings.’

The report says the guide’s lack of transparency in data and its flawed methodology is ‘preventing understanding of the environmental impact of building materials.’ It also claims certain materials such as PVC are given higher eco ratings than they deserve for embodied impact, and says there is no way of verifying how PVC’s top ‘A’ rating was arrived at.

Responding to the claims, Paul Gibbon, BRE’s global director of materials warned that misinterpretation of the guide could lead to badly performing buildings.

The Green Guide rates products on a scale from E to A+ based on the environmental impact of materials during manufacture. Designers win BREEAM and Code of Sustainable Homes credits when they specify materials with a high rating. Gibbon said insisting on materials that are given a high manufacture rating could mean many other materials are excluded that are much more environmentally effective during use.

Milton Keynes council recently made it mandatory for all new buildings to use materials with high ratings from the online tool. ‘Let’s nip this in the bud before we get 50 councils saying people have to specify A+ materials,’ said Gibbon.