Lessons in Domestic Efficiency – Low Carbon Business Breakfast

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On Tuesday 21st of February 2017, Low Carbon South West were joined by HAB Housing and gcp Chartered Architects to host the February Low Carbon business breakfast, with a large audience of members and guests. The morning explored some of the previous initiatives, successes and lessons to be learnt, as well as what lies ahead in the future of domestic efficiency.

Colin Powell – gcp Architects
Colin Powell, Director of gcp Chartered Architects, kicked off the morning’s talks by providing background information to housing standards in the UK, emphasising the government’s 2015 announcement to not proceed with the 2016 Zero Carbon Standard or Allowable Solutions mechanisms. Continuing, he talked about the rising problems with energy providers predicting steep rises in energy prices, along with around 10% of UK households struggling to afford to keep their houses warm, expressing the need for higher housing standards, such as:

– Insulation – cheap and doesn’t break down
– Minimising thermal bridging needs careful detailing and clear explanation
– Installation needs careful quality control
– Airtightness – designers need to understand the sequence of building operations
– Test early and often – fixing later on is often difficult
– Service instillation should be planned at design stage
– Ventilation systems
– User controls should be simple
Colin concluded by showing an example of gcp’s PassivHaus projects in South Oxfordshire, which was built by a small local contractor in Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF), something both gcp and the contractor had little experience with; when things are done differently the parties involved have to think more about what is being achieved.

To read more about gcp’s projects and see Colin’s presentation, click here.

David Eynon – HAB Housing
Second to speak was David Eynon, Assistant Development Manager for HAB Housing, who explored the plans for HAB’s sustainable housing plans for Dunmail Housing, Southmead. The site is set on the former Dunmail Primary school, and is in partnership with United Communities. The scheme will have green infrastructure, including sustainable food production, low carbon energy sources and new cycle routes.

The housing designs include a higher-than-normal ground floor ceilings and large amounts of glazing to enhance spaciousness and abundance of light. To cut the costs of domestic energy, the homes will be built to very high levels of efficiency, delivering real savings in energy use and lower running costs.

David mentioned the scheme’s microgrid, with Simtricity technology that will be installed to offer a community energy system to the neighbourhood. David went on to express the excitement HAB Housing have with the scheme, and revealed exclusive plans of the site. To read more about the project, click here.

We would like to thank our speakers for making this breakfast dynamic and engaging, and also a huge thank you to all attendees – we hope you found it worthwhile and came away with some useful insights.

If you are not already a Low Carbon South West member but would like to know more about the opportunities and benefits that membership can offer, please visit our membership page or get in touch with Matthew Tudge for a chat about working together.