Think 07 demostrated how seriously industry is facing up to its zero-carbon challenge

A week is a long time in sustainability. Last Friday Building and Finnforest published a forum on low energy homes that discussed how on earth developers could build zero-carbon homes by 2016.

Zero-Carbon Challenge

Speakers at Think 07 this week provided some of the answers. The event provided a huge number of events and seminars that addressed some of the issues highlighted by Building’s expert forum panel which included such luminaries as John Calcutt and Trevor Beattie.

Issues raised at the Zero-Carbon Challenge included concerns over research costs, planning law, build costs and inefficient housing stock. Everyone agreed there were formidable barriers to overcome before zero-carbon Britain became a reality.

Forward thinking ideas mooted at Think included an incentive scheme suggested by the Construction Products Assocation. To boost existing building stock CPA Chief executive Michael Ankers said that homeowners should receive incentives for environmentally-friendly building work done in the first year of their occupancy.

A range of measures put forward in the Think Charter also pointed towards future sustainability solutions. The Charter, which was handed to deputy prime minister John Prescott, contained ten industry commitments which included pledges on carbon modelling and measurement tools and the proposal for a master off switch in every home – an intriguing proposition but one that presumably requires a back-up energy source for the fridge freezer.

Talking of tools, an Online CO2 tool was launched by the British Property Federation at Think which calculates carbon emissions in rented buildings.

One intriguing proposal picked up by Building’s Vikki Miller and published by London’s Evening Standard today (Friday) was Nicky Gavron’s proposal to use human excrement to power London’s buildings. Such plants exist in Sweden and the concept of powering homes using biogas seems eminently sensible, though as far I'm concerned the concept has thirty years too late. The childhood memory of wading through sewage in Blue Anchor bay in Somerset scarred me for life.

  • Full details of the recent Zero-Carbon Challenge convened by Building and timber specialist Finnforest can be found in our digital edition.