Red Tape Blues for Green Builders

It’s scarcely the most sexy subject in property, but why are there so many ‘green codes’ for developers building new environmentally-friendly homes?

This issue struck me as I was writing an Estates Gazette story about Britain’s builders facing a plethora of different green measurements, including:

• CRC: Carbon Reduction Commitment (or Energy Efficiency Drive), a multi-year programme where participating builders forecast emissions and then may win ‘revenue recycling payment’ subsidies if they come in under;

• BREEAM: a voluntary measurement of buildings’ eco-functionality set up by the Building Research Establishment. Developers have been clever at getting ‘excellent’ BREEAM ratings for some designs to boost their marketing;

• CfSH: The Code for Sustainable Homes is a 2006 guide of environmental best practice for house builders;

• Building Regulations Part L: this controls insulation values, window areas, doors, air permeability, heating efficiency of all heating, hot water and lighting systems, and sets out the Standard Assessment Procedure measure;

• On top of that, government is consulting over a new definition of ‘Zero Carbon’.

These are not necessarily contradictory but are certainly duplication. Isn’t there merit in starting again, creating a single definition of green credentials for house builders? Surely that would be easier for them to understand and easier for the public to understand?

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