The Government´s objective for the Code is that it becomes the single national standard for the design and construction of new homes, and that it drives a step-change in sustainable home building practice.
The Code for Sustainable Homes is a set of sustainable design principles covering performance in nine key areas: Energy and CO2, Water, Materials, Surface water run-off, Waste, Pollution, Heath and well being, Management and Ecology.
The Code is expected to provide valuable information to homebuyers on the sustainability performance of new homes. Houses built to the standards in the Code will bring with them lower running costs, improved well-being and reductions in the environmental footprint.
In addition, all new Zero Carbon homes costing up to £500,000 will be exempt from Stamp Duty and where the purchase price of the home is greater the Stamp Duty will be reduced.
With these standards come new technology and altered ways of living. To operate a truly Zero Carbon home, occupiers need to be well-informed, be able to make optimum use of appliances and systems that reduce consumption and generate renewable and alternative forms of energy.
Based in Sheffield, RIBA Chartered Architects, A C Liani (Yorkshire) Limited, has been specifying, using and installing many of these technologies within their projects, both residential and commercial, for many years and has built up significant knowledge in many aspects of green design´, demonstrated by the fact that they have won two awards for their environmental initiatives.
Many of the projects that A C Liani undertakes incorporate increased energy performance, renewable energy solutions and water reduction measures. The project depicted within this information presents a hypothetical concept home intended to illustrate many of the technologies that can be used either in isolation or as part of an holistic approach to the construction of any modern building.
Solar thermal panels can help to generate all the required hot water in the summer and a good proportion in the spring, autumn and winter, thereby reducing the demand on the boiler (biomass in this illustration) and the amount of fuel used, keeping energy use and costs to a minimum, especially when used in conjunction with under-floor heating.
Photovoltaic (PV) array panels capture energy directly from the sun to supply electricity for the whole house. Any surplus energy generated is sold back to the national grid. External shutters can be used in summer to reduce solar gain and the build up of heat.
External shutters can block out all or a proportion of direct sunlight depending on how they are arrayed.
Incorporating a greenhouse within a home allows the user to home-grow basic vegetables and herbs right next to the kitchen, as well as creating hot air that can be directed into the living areas in winter and cold times. Triple glazed windows protect the interior from overheating.
Currently, one of the most carbon friendly boiler types is the Biomass boiler. This type of boiler provides hot water and space heating in winter fuelled by wood pellets. The illustrated example is located in the utility room to supplement a dedicated drying area, as an alternative to an electricity-sapping tumble dryer.
An increased awareness about what water to use where; collected recycled rainwater for the garden and washing machine and/or used shower and bath water for the WC, gives potential average savings of 50% compared to a conventional house.
A modern smart meter´ records energy consumption to help occupants identify any wastage and to promote more environmentally aware lifestyles.
The Code For Sustainable Homes requires that by 2016 all newly constructed homes must be to a Level 6´, i.e. net Zero Carbon´ for homes in use, including appliance and occupant energy use. For Code Level 6 the standard for the building fabric is very high, placing more demands on the building envelope such as insulation, glazing and shading and how these operate with the technological systems of the house.
Modern mechanical ventilation systems can recover up to 90% of heat generated within a building. Often mechanical ventilation and passive systems can be combined to operate wind catcher´ units that operate in tandem to provide flexible and effective ventilation.