News item

LCBE Case Study: Dwelling on Low Carbon Homes

Post date: April 28, 2014

LCBE Case Study: Dwelling on Low Carbon Homes

The LCRI’s Low Carbon Built Environment (LCBE) project brings academics and industry together to tackle the issue of reducing carbon dioxide emissions associated with the built environment.

LCBE’s Low Carbon Building Design Solutions work package team focused on the definitions, standards and challenges of delivering low carbon buildings. They aimed to provide design teams with clear design guidance based on current best practice in the delivery of low and zero carbon building, covering each stage of the design, construction and operation phases.

Part of their output included gathering best practice case studies from the domestic housing and education sectors. They developed two guideline documents to showcase these examples and give up-to-date details and guidance on current regulations and trends in sustainable construction.

The UK emitted 550 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005. Nearly half of this energy was used in buildings, and a quarter came from the energy used to heat, light and run our homes. Housing accounts for (27%) of the UK’s carbon emissions. By setting exacting emissions requirements for new housing, and retrofitting existing housing, the government hopes to reduce the energy use in domestic buildings and create a market for sustainable technologies.

The Dwellings guide provides design teams with clear design guidance when involved in the delivery of low/zero carbon buildings for the domestic housing sector in Wales. It includes information on latest green compliance targets, minimum energy efficient standards, and recent and upcoming building regulation reports.

The document includes 5 case studies, demonstrating various best practice methods used in domestic buildings in sites across South Wales. These include using passive design considerations to improve access to sunlight and ventilation, incorporating high performance construction materials to enhance the efficiency of the design and reduce heat and energy loss, and ensuring that owners are fully briefed on the best ways to use the technologies and reduce energy loss in their homes.

The Dwellings guide suggests that stronger communication between the various stakeholders designing and building low carbon homes can help to identify and solve any potential problems at an early stage, and create a better sense of ownership of the projects. It also emphasises the need for more activity to encourage consumer attitudes towards low carbon homes, so that low carbon features and design go from being seen as an unnecessary niche option, to being viewed as a benefit to a property and an integral part of future developments.

LCBE’s Wayne Forster said “This is the first of two documents we’ve produced, using working examples from case studies around Wales. We hope our research will be a useful tool for designers and architects working on sustainable housing projects, and will demonstrate the value of the work being done by the LCBE project, and the wider LCRI”.

To download a copy of the Dwelling’s Guide, please click here


LCRI Newsletter