Sustainable Communities Plan
In 2003, the UK Government launched the Sustainable Communities Plan which set out a long-term programme of action for delivering sustainable communities in both urban and rural areas.
The Plan included major reforms of housing and planning and a new approach to building, in order to bring about development that meets the economic, social and environmental needs currently and for future generations.
Sustainable Procurement National Action Plan
On the 12th June 2006, the Government published the National Action Plan: Procuring the Future. This aims to deliver sustainable procurement to stimulate innovation through public procurement and deliver sustainable procurement by complementing and building on existing activity.
The Code for Sustainable Homes
From 1 May 2008 the Government introduced a mandatory code to measure the sustainability of new homes. The Code for Sustainable Homes provides a comprehensive measure of the sustainability ensuring that new homes deliver real improvements in key areas. These are measured against categories in order to give the home a ‘whole home’ rating. The code uses a 1 to 6 star rating which gives an overall sustainability performance to the new home.
The nine categories of sustainable design are:
- Energy efficiency/CO2
- Water efficiency
- Use of materials – major elements of construction need to achieve a BRE Green Guide 2006  rating of at least D.
- Surface water management – maintain site run-off rates to pre-construction values.
- Site waste management – site waste management plan and adequate waste storage space.
- Pollution – a selection of measures that provide credits.
- Health and well-being – a selection of measures that provide credits.
- Management – a selection of measures that provide credits.
- Ecology – a selection of measures that provide credits.
The Code sets minimum standards for energy and water use and provides information to home buyers. It also offers builders a tool which enables them to improve sustainability.
You should be aware of the fact that the code is continually developing and the date of registration of a home will depend on the version it must conform to. The requirements can be found in ‘Code for Sustainable Homes: Technical guide’ accessible from the link below.
A number of publications are available from the Communities and Local Government website shown below which explain the code and provide guidance on how to comply with it. These documents can be accessed from the website and can be down loaded.
You should also visit the site below to watch the ‘Web based videos’ to gain another perspective on sustainability. You will also find an excellent article on at the web link ’Towards Sustainable Homes’.
The Passive House (Passiv Haus) Standard
The Passive House (Passiv Haus) standard is a voluntary standard which relates to an ultra-low energy building design system. This uses an energy efficient building envelope which reduces the energy consumption in a structure.
In order for a building to be classified as a Passive House a set of requirements have to be met. Although the standard specifies housing it also relates to a variety of other types of buildings such as offices, schools and supermarkets.In order to find out more about this you should visit the website Passive House Standards below.
The Merton Rule
The 'Merton Rule' is a planning policy, developed and adopted by Merton Council in 2003. It requires the use of renewable energy onsite to reduce annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the built environment in that new commercial buildings over 1,000 square meters must generate at least 10% of their energy needs using on site renewable energy equipment.
It has subsequently been implemented by a number of other Councils and has become part of national planning guidance. To find out more about the Merton Rule you should visit the website listed below.