Renew On Line (UK) 62

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 162 July-Aug 2006
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Energy Review EAC Review, FoE Scenarios

2. BWEA on offshore wind wind ups and downs

3. Wave & Tidal Power in Scotland and Wales

4. Reactions to the Budget...and the Climate Review

5. Greening London.. but not Devon

6. Energy Statistics RO grows

7. Coal to come back cleaner? Clean coal

8. Building Battles Building regs and codes

9. Policy moves. Tory greening, UKERC query

10. Stern Climate Views doom ahead?

11. Fuel Cells R&D slow progress

12. EU News Wind and biofuels grow

13. US News Wind battles, Bushes plan

14. World News Divisive Climate Pact?

15. Nuclear News US reprocessing

8. Building Battles

The Government, under pressure to cut the time for the building industry to comply with new building regulations, has cut it from the usual maximum of three years to 12 months. All new buildings must comply with the new Part L of the regs. which they claim will increase the energy efficiency of new buildings by 20%. They add that ‘taking account of changes already made in 2002, energy efficiency standards will have been raised 40% over four years’ and say that the regs. had actually been brought in two years ahead of schedule. Although mandatory for new and existing homes the new regs. exclude extensions and conservatories, so their impact could be limited. But there are proposals to extend the regs. and to include the renovation of commercial buildings in a new Code for Sustainable Homes.
However, as the Guardian (22/2/06) noted, the initial proposals for the Code only covered ‘publicly funded new buildings and will be entirely voluntary for new homes built by the private housebuilding industry’. WWF had already withdrawn form its earlier involvement with the ODPM team producing the draft Code, and the consultation on them led to many objections- the TCPA, FoE and the REA warned that the Code needed tougher mandatory standards aimed at major reductions in CO2 emissions from new homes, including reductions in emissions from new commercial buildings as well as the refurbishment of existing buildings. Environmental Audit Committee member Joan Walley MP commented: ‘Evidence of the impact of climate change is all around us, and time is running out if we are to meet our domestic targets. We have a massive housebuilding programme under way, so this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make sure these buildings are built to the highest possible standards.’
Following the consultation period, in March the government announced today that it would strengthen the Code and will ‘set minimum standards of energy and water efficiency for every level of the Code, rather than allowing builders to trade different kinds of improvements against each other. The lowest levels of the Code will also be raised above the level of mandatory building regulations.’ It added ‘In addition energy efficiency ratings- which form one component of the Code- will be made mandatory for new homes and existing homes. The ratings will be included in energy performance certificates set out to EU standards.’ And ‘in order to further promote on-site energy generation, new homes that use micro-renewable technology such as wind turbines and solar panels will also gain extra points in the Code’.
According to a new Guardian/ICM survey, there may be some public support for these changes- even if they cost householders more. It found ‘a widespread willingness to make personal sacrifices to tackle the threat of climate change’. Asked how much they would be willing to spend to make their homes more environmentally friendly, even if the move brought them no direct cost saving, 32% said they would be willing to invest over £100 and 8% more than £1,000. Only 16% said the would not pay anything. The poll found 80% support for a plan by the ODPM for builders to include a mandatory £600 worth of measures to reduce the environmental impact of new homes, with the cost passed on to the house buyer.
*The Guardian (22/02/06) reported that the poll also suggests that ‘the message that small changes in people’s domestic lives can make a difference appears to be hitting home’: 83% said they or their family had turned the TV off instead of leaving it on standby to protect the environment. 82% of households said they had turned the central heating down, 75% had installed low energy lightbulbs, 25% had cycled at least one journey instead of using the car and 24% said they had decided against a holiday that involved flying. 92% said they recycled as much rubbish as possible, while 38% said they were likely to install solar panels, and 28% a wind turbine. 73% said they would upgrade their home insulation. And to help them along, British Gas is offering 880,000 householders rebates worth up to £100 on their council tax if they install energy efficiency measures.

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