Salient Technical Challenges of Delivering Code for Sustainable Homes – Essay Example
Government calls for sustainable living The depletion of natural resources is at most attributed to human activities. The continuous growth of the Earth’s population put increasing demands on food, water, energy and space. The technologies that dynamically changes by the minute need high amounts of energy in order to be used. The effects of these insults to nature are now being felt as climate change, landslides, decreasing number of animals and flash flooding.
With the continuing degradation of natural resources, establishments, both public and private, are encouraged to be more earth-friendly. For example, families are suggested to make a more sustainable choice of dwelling in their homes. Introduced by United Kingdom in April 2007, the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) is a national measure that homeowners can use to conduct comprehensive assessment of sustainability of homes on the basis of materials, surface water run-off, waste, energy, pollution, health, wellbeing, management, ecology and potable water consumption. The CSH rates in six levels, and increasing stage denotes decreasing energy requirements. In fact, homes with the highest level, level 6, do not use carbon to provide energy (Wilson, 2010).
Despite such movements, the zero carbon concept is still ambiguous. According to the Department of Communities and Local Government (2007,), this can be achieved by using a minimum standard of energy efficiency and minimum carbon reduction through a combination of energy efficiency, onsite low and zero carbon technologies, and directly connected heat.
Although the plan for zero carbon use is on its way, the government recognizes that a step-by-step approach is necessary in order to achieve level 6 CSH. For example, a 25% reduction was aimed for 2010 and 44% for 2013 (Hayles and Dean, 2010). For this to be implemented on a wide scale, programs must include information dissemination in order to raise awareness. Community-based programs such as workshops are envisioned to encourage engagement and subsequent behavioral change (Harland, 2004; Kaplan and Kaplan, 1989; Moloney, Horne and Fien, 2009).
The role of architects
However, the Architecture industry is wary of such movement, because the level 6 CSH requires addition to designing. Their perspective is being changed from visual and spatial innovation to mobilizing sustainable specification (Stevenson, 2006) Furthermore, their language should be modified to integrate the communication of space heating and space cooling energy demand through KW/m2/yr unit (Zero Carbon Hub, 2009). In addition, studies regarding the design of level 6 CSH homes are limited (Porteous and Menon, 2006).
Aside from the architectures, the building professionals also play a vital role in turning the vision of CSH homes into reality. Although governments instigate the desire to change to sustainable living, the implementation still relies on the perception and awareness of architects and building professionals (Lo, Zhao and Cheng, 2006). The costs of building zero carbon establishments are also expected to increase substantially. As a solution, large scale house builders design add-ons instead of integrating the zero-carbon concept to the entire house building (Porteous and Menon, 2006).
No matter how much the government, architects and building professionals work to promote sustainable homes, the successful conversion to zero carbon living lies on the end users
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Lo S.M., Zhao, C. M. and Cheng, W.Y. 2006. Perceptions of building professionals in sustainable development: A comparative study between Hong Kong and Shenyang. Energy and Buildings, 38, pp. 1327 – 1334
Moloney, S., Horne, R. E., Fien, J. 2009. Transitioning to Low Caron Communities - from behaviour change to systematic change: Lessons form Australia.
Porteous C D A, Menon R. 2006. Problems of the Scottish / UK Building Industry vs. energy-efficicient new build passive housing. Passive houses in Cold and Mediterranean Climates. Working group 8. Internaitonal House Conference pp. 211-216.
Stevenson, F. 2006. Natural Materiality – The people’s choice. WIT Transactions on the Built Environment. 86, pp. 257 – 266.
Zero Carbon Hub (2009) Defining a Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard: for zero carbon homes