Experts flag worries over unintended consequences, lack of measurement and achievable targets in the Code for Sustainable Home
The Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) came under attack for being unachievable, misguided and rushed from scientists, engineers and house builders at this year’s Ecobuild.
Neil May, chairman of the Good Homes Alliance, said: “Reducing the carbon emissions in our new housing is a good starting point but we need to be realistic and set targets that are achievable by the house building industry in reality and not just on paper.”
Professor David Strong, chairman of sustainability consultancy, Inbuilt, said the checkbox approach of the CSH was leading to the installation of untested technologies.
“We have to be aware of unintended consequences. We may be building millions of homes at risk of summertime overheating. In many cases the new technologies do not work.”
Reducing the carbon emissions in our new housing is a good starting point but we need to be realistic and set targets that are achievable by the house building industry in reality and not just on paper.
Neil May, Good Homes Alliance
Bob Lowe, Professor of Energy and Building Sciences at UCL, also called for more measurement before action, saying: “If we don’t bother to measure and monitor our new homes for environmental impact, we weren’t interested in the first place.”
An unintended consequence of the Code for Sustainable Homes’ staged approach was that house builders were just trying to get to the next stage rather than seeking the end point of zero carbon homes warned Matthew Brundle, also of Inbuilt.
“People come to us looking how to achieve a 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2010 where they should be seeking a strategy to get to zero carbon by 2016. All they are worried about is shareholder value. But it’s going to cost more to get to 2016 in stages.”
He continued: “They don’t trust the Government to be in power in 2016 and the Government don’t say very helpful things about zero carbon.” He gave as the example the uncertainty of whether or not zero carbon includes offsite renewables.