From 2016, all new homes must be built to Level 6 of The Code for Sustainable Homes

June 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

In the next few years, the construction industry will be faced with the tremendous challenge of building homes which must be zero carbon. The government’s Code for Sustainable Homes has implemented a rating system for sustainable home building practice. It sets out the target that all new homes must be built to a Level 6 standard from 2016.

The Code rates homes from 1 to 6 stars according to a multitude of factors, ranging from the use of heat retaining devices to the provision of storage for bicycles. Level 6 comes with the longest list and the most stringent measures. To be rated at that level, new homes will have to be completely zero carbon.

However, it is now claimed that the government will not be able to reach this target. Debate was sparked when the government released a new definition for the term “zero carbon” in its Plan for Growth in March 2011. It implies that the ratings won’t take into account the energy produced by mobile appliances such as phones and TVs used in the home. Richard Baines, from Black Country Housing Group, explains: “The aim is that new homes will still be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016 but only in respect of heating and lighting, i.e. the CO2 target for Code Level 5 rather than Code Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.” (Run Services)

Level 5 already sets out strict regulations concerning:

  • Energy and CO2 emissions
  • Environmentally-friendly construction materials
  • Waste facilities
  • Pollution emitted by the new home
  • Drainage facilities
  • Impact of the home on health and well-being (for example sound insulation, provision for private space)
  • Management of the construction and operation of the home (for example Considerate Constructors Scheme, impact of the construction site)
  • Environmental impact

Between April 2007 and March 2011, only 323 UK homes have received a 6 star rating, according to official data.

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Ealing Council awards £80,000 through its Recycling Reward Incentive Scheme

June 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm

In April 2011, residents of several wards in Ealing were rewarded for their recycling efforts. Waste disposal in the 23 wards of the borough was monitored for a period of 7 months, between September 2010 and April 2011. Council officers went out on to the streets to check how much residents were using their recycling bins for paper, glass, cans, plastic and food waste. Monitoring first took place in September and then 6 months later, in order to measure the wards’ rate of improvement.

In the end, 5 wards were rewarded and placed in two categories:

  • Elthorne and Hobbayne were found to be the best overall recyclers, with an average of 72.7% of their households recycling. They won £10,000 each.
  • South Acton had the best increase in recycling rates with a rise of 6.1%. It was followed by Southfields and Northolt Mandeville (4.1% increase each). Each ward won £20,000.

At the other end of the spectrum, Southall Green came last with the worst participation rates and results. On average, only 38.3% of its residents participated in recycling.

Ealing rewarded wards rather than individuals. The prizes will be used to improve local facilities.

It is not just the wards that profited from this award: during the 7-month survey, the council as a whole spent £231,000 less in landfill tax according to the Ealing Gazette.

Ealing’s incentive initiative is fairly new in the UK. Only two other councils have recently organised recycling rewards schemes: Windsor and Maidenhead (RecycleBank scheme) and Cornwall. These schemes aim at rewarding the residents directly, rather than wards, with shopping vouchers, discounts and offers at local shops and restaurants.

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