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Blueprints for Green Homes

Blueprints for Green Homes

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Published by Empty Homes

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Published by: Empty Homes on Oct 14, 2010
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Michael Cashman MEP
Housing and Energy –the possibilities
Dr Brenda Boardman
Energy 4 Homes
Hywel Lloyd, SERA
Planning for Heat
Michael King, CHPA
The Case for Recycled Houses
David Ireland
Promoting Better Practice
Marianne Hood, LHG
Housing and Sustainable Energy in Wales
Keith Edwards, CIH Cyrmru
Decent Homes in a Sustainable Environment:30
Priorities for Labour Policy
Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP
List of contributors
‘Sponsored by Pinnacle psg;
modernising public service management'
If you are interested in helping to take this debate forward,
LHG, SERA and CHPA would be happy to hear from you.
Labour Housing Group
Marianne Hood: Marianne.hood@which.net
Emma Burnell, 2nd Floor, 1 London Bridge, Downstream Building, London SE1 9BG
020 7022 1985
35/37 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W OBS
020 7828 4077
This pamphlet does not represent the combined views of CHPA, LHG and SERA, but only the views of the authors.
The responsibility of these organisations is limited to approving this publication as worthy of consideration.
This publication may not be reproduced without the express permission of CHPA, LGA and SERA.
We have heard a great deal over the past few months about the need to build more
homes. This is a welcome development. Housing has a profound impact on lives, on
education, health, our economy and our pride in our communities. Failing to address
housing problems will be sure to undermine our central goal to create a fair
society for all.
The evidence on the need to build more homes gives a compelling motivation for the
Labour Party to prioritise this issue. We have known for some time that the increase
in the number of households, caused predominantly by our aging population and by
more individuals living alone, is not being matched by an increase in homes being
built. But the scale of the problem is growing and must be addressed. According to
recently published Government research, the past 30 years has seen a 30% increase in
the number of households formed, but a 50% drop in house building.
Because demand is so far outstripping supply, it is becoming increasingly difficult for
first time buyers and those on lower incomes to afford to get a foot on the housing
ladder. That means thousands of young families around the country cannot fulfil their
aspiration to invest in their own homes.
So if the Government wants to do more to help the ninety percent of people in the
UK who want to own or part-own a home, they are right to instigate a step change
in house-building across the country.
But building houses is about much more than bricks and mortar. As this timely
pamphlet, produced by the Labour Housing Group, SERA and CHPA shows, the
relationship between housing, sustainability and energy policy is becoming
increasingly important.
These interlocking issues are of particular interest to me as co-convenor of the Labour
Party’s ‘Creating Sustainable Communities’ Policy Commission. Our Commission has an
ambitious remit, covering among other issues housing, the environment, transport,
and sustainability. Whilst this can at times seem like a daunting list, it is also a great
opportunity to consider policy solutions across traditional government lines.
Michael Cashman MEP
BLUEPRINTS FOR GREEN HOMES: A Housing and Energy Policy for the 21ST Century
BLUEPRINTS FOR GREEN HOMES: A Housing and Energy Policy for the 21ST Century
The issues covered in this booklet are a good example of the need to adopt a
thematic approach to policy. We must not develop house building in isolation,
without also finding ways to create strong, sustainable communities and protect
the environment.
Since 1997, significant steps have been taken in this area. The Sustainable
Communities Plan has brought environmental considerations into the heart of the
Government’s communities strategy. The greenbelt is growing and the proportion of
houses built on green field sites is falling. Building on brownfield sites has risen from
57% of all new homes on brownfield land in 1997 to 70% (71% in London and the
South East) in 2004.
Building regulations have also been significantly tightened since 1997, for
example by improving insulation to make buildings more thermally efficient and
reducing energy consumption. But while there have been significant improvements
since the 1990s, still more than a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions come
from energy used in homes.
In a recent development, the government has announced proposals for a new Code
for Sustainable Homes to improve the resource efficiency and sustainability of new
homes. The Code, which is planned to be voluntary for private sector homes but
compulsory for any new homes receiving Government subsidy, sets out minimum
standards on energy and water efficiency, site and household waste materials, and
surface water management.
Homes will be given a star rating of one to five based on these measures, the lowest
of which is already higher than existing building regulations. This is a welcome
development and should create stronger incentives for developers to build sustainable
homes, as well as giving homebuyers a reliable way to measure the sustainability
of their new homes. The Code is currently under consultation and is due to be
introduced next year.
Some excellent work is already happening around the country. Marianne Hood’s
chapter on Beacon Councils shows that many local authorities are already developing
Housing and Energy – the Possibilities
Dr Brenda Boardman
There is an urgent need to have a debate that brings together housing and energy,
particularly as part of the 2006 energy review. Energy demand in the residential sector
could be substantially reduced. Much of the remaining energy needs of individual
households could be met within their own premises or locality, which would offset
the requirement to have more centralised nuclear or coal-fired plant.
By 2050, the carbon emissions from all energy use, in all households could be reduced
by 60%, to comply with the government’s Energy White Paper target of a 60% cut,
as research at Oxford University has shown (Boardman et al 2005). This is despite a
growth in the expected number of households to 31.8m homes (33% higher than the
1996 figure of 23.9m) both because of population growth and new household
formation. This is not a ‘hair-shirt’ future, as, on average, people would have more
space and hot water, a warmer home and slightly more appliances.
As most of the current debate is about nuclear power, the future demand for
electricity is considered first. Most electricity use in the home is for lights and
appliances and this has been the major growth area of energy demand over the last
30 years (a 70% increase per household between 1970 and 2001). There are two major
ways to curb this growth: individually we have to stop buying more and larger
equipment and the lights and appliances we do use have to be more efficient. The
greatest savings are available in lights, refrigerators and, through preventing growth,
in consumer electronics. For instance, by 2050, in the model, every light fitting, in
every home is using a light emitting diode (LED), which at present are limited to cycle
helmets and batteries. This would cut electricity consumption for lighting from 715
to122kWh pa. Some technical development is needed, to make them brighter, good
designs for fittings are required and the technology has to be supported, for instance
by making them mandatory in all new buildings, through the Building Regulations.
It would help to announce the imminent phasing out of the incandescent bulb, too.
The net effect of these policy proposals is to reduce electricity use for lights and
appliances, per household, from 3,000 to 1680kWh pa.
The scenario assumes only a minimal growth in the number of appliances per house,
partly because there is less development and purchase of profligate and unnecessary
their own innovative models under existing building regulations to improve the
environmental quality of their housing stock. These best practice models should give
ideas to other local authorities who are looking for ways to improve standards.
There is clearly more work that could be done on all of these issues. More public
sector brownfield sites must be identified for future housing development,
microgeneration must be tested further, and perhaps most importantly, the public
must be enthused to play an active personal role in reducing carbon emissions.
I am sure this booklet will help to stimulate debate and help us find solutions to
ensure that in the future, every home in every community is high-quality,
affordable and sustainable.
BLUEPRINTS FOR GREEN HOMES: A Housing and Energy Policy for the 21ST Century
BLUEPRINTS FOR GREEN HOMES: A Housing and Energy Policy for the 21ST Century

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