Comparing Green Housing And Traditional Housing In Uk Construction Essay

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The following report is a critical in-depth analysis of Green or Sustainable design. Green architecture is an approach to building that reduces harmful effects on the environment and to human health. The "green" designer or architect attempts to safeguard air, water, and earth by choosing eco-friendly building materials and construction practices. There are many factors considered by designers when designing "green". The report primarily focuses on how green design can live alongside or even replaces current housing construction practices and the advantages it offers the occupants and designers alike.

The report will also concentrate on how the impact of green design can have a positive effect on energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings. Nowadays, designers are fully aware of the demand for energy saving buildings from both the consumers and the Government. Designing and creating products with new innovative ideas will minimise environmental contamination, reduce the use of energy and introduce the use of alternative energy.

There is little doubt that the UK is facing an energy crisis: UK domestic heating, lighting, power and personal travel together account for 44% of all CO2 emissions and, between 1990 and 2005, emissions in the household sector rose by 40%.


Combine this with the threat of fuel poverty, caused by the estimated increase of fuel prices within the next five years, affecting more and more households and there is no doubt that the UK is facing a severe problem.


Ecological and environmental aspects such as weather, climate change and pollution are on the news everyday. The demand for eco-friendly products and housing is increasing. Furthermore, growing awareness of the potential impacts of climate change is affecting how companies operate and the products they offer, both creating new markets and diminishing or destroying existing ones.

The subject matter discussed in the report is well known and has been discussed/designed the world over. Any building whether a house or an office could be designed in a way to protect indoor space from external elements, prime example being the weather. In order to achieve this aim, different elements such as sophisticated heating, air conditioning systems, ventilation and appropriate materials can be employed. In this way, huge amounts of energy is conserved on a daily basis. Savings such as these not only have financial benefits to the consumer, but also to the environment with less harmful emissions being produced than normal energy consumption.

The report also looks at history of green design and how it has been used throughout time, focussing on material used in the past. The report then moves onto to discus what changes to traditional practices are being made to achieve Government targets with examples of successful current green building projects. Finally the report concludes by outlining the changes required for the future and asks the question if it is possible for all future buildings to be green.


The following chapter provides an introduction to green design and includes definitions on what is meant by green or sustainable design. The chapter also discusses why the need to go 'green' and the Government targets and requirement set by the United Nations.

In 1983, the United Nations set up the World Commission on Environment and Development (Bruntland Commission). Then in 1987, the commission published 'Our Common Future', which defined sustainable (green) development as:

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (MacKenzie, 1991, 10).

Sustainability or green design is defined by the Design Council as, 'delivering the best (social, environmental, economic) performance for the least (social, environmental, economic) cost.' In order for a designer to attain sustainability a holistic approach must be adhered to which deals with the range of needs indicated by the following three pillars of sustainable development:

Social responsibility

Environmental protection

Economic development.

The home building industry started using the phrase green buildings in the late 1980s (also referred to as sustainable design) turning a niche movement of resource efficient homes into a quiet revolution, which has slowly become an ideal or preferred way to build.

Fundamentally, Green sustainable building design is a step-by-step home building process to minimise the negative affects on the environment and which is also resource efficient. The Green approach is a realistic answer to a variety of issues that affect all of us in modern day life i.e. changing weather patterns, increasing energy prices and weakening water resources.

According to the UK Green building Council which was launched in February 2007 buildings have a significant impact on the environment. Buildings are responsible for 43% of our total carbon emissions in the UK alone and they also impact on the consumption of raw materials and production of waste.

Ref: UK Green Building Council:

Robert and Brenda Vale in their book Green Architecture. Design for a Sustainable Future define green design as: '…green approach to the built environment involves a holistic approach to the design of buildings; that all the resources that go into a building, be they materials, fuels or the contribution of the users need to be considered if a sustainable architecture is to be produced."3 P5

According to the Vales 66% of total UK energy utilisation is accounted for by buildings and building construction and services. This figure suggests that building and building construction are one of the most important users of energy and resources. In order to tackle issues such as ozone depletion, natural resource wastage, toxic emissions, the building design and construction services will have to review all building materials production, construction and transportation methods. Insulating homes or using low energy light bulbs will not make much of a difference and fundamental changes are required.

RE; [ValeRobert and Brenda Vale in their book Green Architecture. Design for a Sustainable Future

Past & Present

The following chapter discusses how green design has been used in the past and the different stages or trends it has been through up until the present. The chapter also discusses some of the initiatives available from the Government to help people go green.


Green design may sound like a relatively new concept, but the Anasazi Indians in the U.S. built the first green homes thousands of years ago as early as 700 A.D.

Eric Freed writes in book Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies that few of their green home designs included passive solar heating and cooling ventilation systems. They were so ahead of their time that they also found a method for rainwater collection for irrigation all of which made use of natural, non-toxic materials such as wood, mud and stone.

Although these ancient green design ideas are innovative and well ahead of their time, it would however be impossible to use them in modern building plans but the green homes do serve well as an inspiration to builders and architects who are interested in planning and designing eco-friendly green homes and communities.

Natural, recycled, non-conventional and non-toxic building materials can be just as successful in terms of meeting the standard needs of a building while also fostering sustainability and reducing health hazards on its occupants.

Building design has been through a number of stages throughout history. The first being the increasing sturdiness and longevity of the materials used. Early building materials were delicate, such as leaves, branches, and animal hides. Soon after, more durable natural materials such as stone, timber and clay were used. Then finally, synthetic materials such as brick, concrete, metals, and plastics were being incorporated. Another trend was the requirement for larger buildings with considerable height, which was achieved by constructing stronger materials and by knowing of how these materials interacted with one another to get the most out of them. Another trend was to control the interior of the buildings such as the environmental aspects like air temperature, light and sound levels etc, basically factors that affect human comfort. Finally moving towards the use of powerful machinery instead of humans in the building construction process and how by using these methods would reduce energy.

Past Decades

By 1980 the green building movement was just starting to get organised but because energy prices were low people did not see the need to save and hence very little progress was made. The movement was starting to get organised but was still a long way from the ideas formed in earlier decades. (the philosophy of sustainable design,p29). Advocates for sustainable design faced additional barriers and Green design ideas were hard to come by.

Green materials were more expensive and hard to find. People didn't have sufficient knowledge and because there wasn't a need for Green, mistakes were being made. This combination of factors was not formula for rapid growth (p30) and hence Green was no longer seen as the in thing.

The 21st century

The twenty-first century is where green or sustainable design really lifted off and particularly this decade will expected to be known as the decade that green design became main stream. People are realising that building in green results in healthier better buildings that are more cost effective in the long run and sometimes cheaper in the short run as well.

The design of buildings has changed over time but the function of buildings has remained the same. Building or homes provide warmth, shelter and safety. However, in recent years, comfort level requirements by occupants of buildings have become more demanding.

The demand for greater comfort levels in buildings have led designers to neglect green materials and instead opt for mass produced materials and integrating energy supply distributed from a centralised power source which has increased the human habitation.

Architects and builders now recognise the requirement for more sustainable and energy efficient buildings. Building Regulations are changing quickly and the Government has proposed changes to Building Regulations and have stated that buildings constructed between 2008 and 2016 will have to use renewable energy, make use of sustainable materials and use renewable energy.

The aim of these regulations is to reduce the environmental impact from both living in buildings and the actual building process whilst increasing comfort level for occupants.


In an effort to lower the UKs carbon footprint, the Government, recently launched a scheme called the Low Carbon Building's Programme through its Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) website. The Government introduced this initiative to meet national and International requirements to reduce pollution, hence reducing the effects of climate change. The programme has been set up to offer householders and community group's grants to install products that derive energy from renewable sources and hence reduce the usage of power effectively within their homes. The available grants are helpful to householders who would like to go green because these products are in early stages of mass usage and tend to be quite expensive.


The Carbon Trust, a non-profit Independent Company set up by the Government that works with businesses to reduce emissions has launched an initiative called the Low-Carbon Building Accelerator (LCBA). The task of the LCBA is to seek to hasten the adoption of initiatives such as grant in order to complete projects in a low-carbon and cost effective manner for commercial buildings and their refurbishment.


As we can see from the above the UK Government have started the ball rolling and are doing their bit to get people to go green and start using sustainable design methods. However, what are these methods and will these methods be incorporated in mass construction processes? In order to answer this question, first we need to look at the principles of Green design and how these have been used so far.

Green Design Principles

The following chapter discusses the many principles of Green design and although there are many definitions for green or sustainable design the following from the Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA) sums it up perfectly by saying:

..The creation and responsible management of a healthy built environment based on resource efficient and ecological principles...6

The definition combines energy efficiency with the impact of materials on occupants.

BSRIA categorise Green principles as the following:

Enhancing the natural environment

Minimising non-renewable resource usage

Minimising the use of toxins

With the increasing costs of energy and the rapid reduction in the supply of natural resources, incorporating green building strategies into architectural design is crucial. Successful green building depends on the building form, design of energy-using systems and the specification of environmentally sustainable materials.

Passive Solar Design

Successful passive solar design means being able to naturally heat and cool a building without reliance on a mechanical system. The shape and orientation of a building on the site, location and size of windows, and the insulation of the building envelope are critical to successful solar design.

Energy Efficiency

Efficient design of electrical, mechanical and lighting systems in a building reduces energy usage and considerably reduces utility costs. Low-energy light sources, such as fluorescent and LED bulbs, are more expensive to buy initially, but they use a lot less electricity and last much longer than standard light fixtures. According to the BBC energy saving bulbs require 70% less energy than standard light bulbs. Using an energy saving bulb would reduce average annual energy usage from 700kwh to 150kwh, that is a huge reduction of 550khw. The table below (figure 1) show comparison between normal and energy saving light bulbs

Figure 1: ref

Water Efficiency

Selection of water-saving plumbing fixtures, such as low-flow taps, toilets and faucets, will net considerable savings in water usage.


Around 30% of the total water used in a household is from using a toilet flush. Water-efficient dual-flush toilets use just four litres of water with reduced flushing and six litres for a full flush compare this to the traditional single flush toilet which can use up to 13 litres


Reducing portable water usage in landscape design is another effective green building strategy, achieved through incorporating more drought-tolerant native planting and collecting rainwater to irrigate the landscape.

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Regional and Recycled Materials

Using locally manufactured materials helps support the local economy and reduces the amount of energy required to transport materials to a building site. Making use of recycled materials in building design reduces the need to process new material, eliminating waste and using less energy.

Indoor Environment

Indoor air quality plays an important role in people's health. Reducing pollution and improving the air quality of an interior space is paramount, especially in buildings that are heavily populated, such as offices and houses.


Also Using low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials reduces new material odour and are less harmful to human health. Ref:

Green Characteristics

There are many characteristics of Green architecture or design which are to be considered when going green. The following lists the different types and also discusses them in detail below:

Water efficient products

Solar and wind power

Heating and cooling system

Airtight and Ventilation


Building materials

Space Efficiency


Water saving products

It is important that water efficient products do not have a negative impact on consumer lifestyles. Different types of products are available on the market which consume less water and do not sacrifice design. With the requirement for water efficient devices built into planning regulations, designers can determine a building's water efficiency requirements. There are plenty of products available on the market that have been tried and tested and are of good quality and design as well as being water efficient. Other methods to reduce water use include the design of plumbing or heating systems.

Solar and Wind Power

Nowadays buildings are using solar panels in order to cut their carbon footprint. In order to reduce energy costs the sun's angle and its paths in different times of the year are taken into consideration.

The theory of passive solar heating and cooling depends on the orientation, regional location and landscape of the house.


In order to maximise using sunshine heat at home, a south-facing direction is preferable. This theory is known as passive solar design and to reach this goal some elements can be employed such as a tiled floor, internal heat store and a brick chimney, which gets exposed to direct sunlight during the day. In summer the sun passes over head at noon and its direction in the southern sky is on lower position in winter. For this reason, most windows should be built on the southern side in order to let the sun inside the house in winter. In the Northern hemisphere a house should be oriented to the south, and in the southern hemisphere, a house should be positioned with most of the windows facing north. (Solar Trading Post LLC [Online]).

Using an over hanged roof can minimise heat loss. In colder regions, the north side of the house can be built into a hillside to reduce more heat loss. In warmer regions, the slope need not be as severe. (McRae, 1999-2010, [online])

Heating Storage and Cooling systems

The heating and cooling system are normally designed separately from the constructions, as a result the buildings are not more energy-efficient. The architects or builder draws up a floor plan ,then passes it to the contractors to verify the proper mechanical equipment . Technological fixes are used to make up for the lack of stylish design. Using technology in order to fix heat and cool, which designed poorly, is as expensive as it is inelegant.(Thomas, 2005, p39)

When designing a house, the climate should be considered for energy-efficient homes. The climate of the site will help to decide whether the need should be more focussed on heat or cooling. This will determine what types of heating and cooling systems are most beneficial.

For example heating the houses in winter uses less energy than cooling them in summer in Mediterranean climates. Because the sun heat of the midday is held out of the house good insulation levels help in this matter.(McRae, 1999-2010,[online])

Majority of people build their houses in order to use less energy so they will be able to portion out with a heating system altogether. However, the house will not be comfortable without any heating system. Even if the space-heating demand is very small, the need for domestic hot water is essential which can not be provided by solar panels. Instead of fitting a full heating system, many houses add a small heating unit onto their ventilation systems. A wood burning stove is another solution to make a great central focus for any house. (Brinkley, 2007,[Online]). 

Airtight and Ventilation

In every step of the design process, the airtight obstruction should be considered which have a great result on the amount of air outflow.

The design of the building depends on the place of the airtight barrier and the materials used in its construction. The designer should recognise the correct position of the airtight barrier in early stages and mark it on the plans. The airtight barrier is a constant line around the building that separates heated and unheated spaces.

Each part of the airtight barrier should be completed before the building work is covered up by builders and it must be planned beforehand. It is crucial to make sure that the builder's team and sub-contractors, to understand the importance of the air tightness layer also how it is to be integrated and how to preserve its integrity.(Quality Domains Ltd,2010 ,[Online]).

To prevent any unnecessary penetrations, the detailing and the junctions should take into consideration. Although it is better to build an airtight house with high quality material which can saves energy, the construction expenses is higher than a conventional house. (Brinkley, 2007, [Online])

Mechanical ventilation is usually essential since green buildings typically have very low levels of air leakage.

Unfortunately, a huge number of mechanical ventilation systems are designed or installed in bad condition. The frequent Problems are:

The ducts are undersized so ventilation fans are low flow, curvy, convoluted, or very long.

Ventilation systems that ventilate at a high rate, or for too many hours per day increase energy consumption and hence prices.

Ventilation systems waste energy because they depend on improper fans. (Holladay,2010,[online])

It is disappointing that many green homes waste energy because of poorly designed ventilation systems that were inappropriately custom-made.


The building design and construction errors will allow heat and cold to enter the home, there is a solution to resolve this matter by sealing the home's thermal envelope, which separates the living area of the home from the outside space.

Insulation can prevent wasting energy in most homes. Insulation can saves money and energy resources makes houses more comfortable by helping to keep a consistent temperature inside the house, and makes walls, floors and ceilings warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

The amount of energy which can be preserved will depend on different elements: The local climate; shape, size and structure of the house; the fuel, the form and efficiency of the heating and cooling systems; energy conserved and the money will be saved by insulation of the building and saving energy will be even more important as utility rates increase.(Desjarlais, 2008, [online]).

Building Materials

The surface of a building is made up of different materials, which may effect, absorb, store, pass on or heat resistance. Heat loss is as important as sunlight in winter, therefore the roof of the building requires insulation with additional bulk insulation on top of the building.

Wide selections of trade insulating materials are available on the market for low-income houses. Even a layer of lined newspaper is better than no insulation at all. However, fire risks should be taken into consideration. In very cold climates people use the curtains which assist to insulate windows whereas double-glazing (two sheets of glass with a gap between them) to reduce losing heat through windows.

…A building form is important from an energy point of view. Preferably, a building should be solid, with a low surface area to volume ratio, because the building's surface is the factor through which the heat can transfer easily. (Creating cuses, 2010, [online])

Aluminium has an advantages whereby it can be used as many times, is also free from pollution, practical with special insulation design can reduce heat transmission, and noise, stronger, durable, anti-corrosive, available in many colours and shape, also many model variations.

Using wall material that absorbs heat is an important factor. One design innovation is using Ceramic for wall that replaces wallpaper. Ceramic wall provide cleaner look and can be enhanced visually by themes and colours.

Purpose of using every room is different, so make design and floor material become various, like marble, granite, tile, ceramic, and parquet or others.

Create artistic floor which do not need expensive materials and is affordable. Plaster combination for walls and floors at several places will make it unique. Plaster technique also make various forms emerge.

Biological filter septic tank made from fiberglass which is designed with good technology so do not contaminate environment, has disintegration phase system, equipped with disinfectant system, save land, anti-leak or not permeate, durable with corrosion, easy to install, and doesn't need special treatment.

Buildings materials which fit in with the local landscape are important also, for example, using all wood for a new property in a forest allows the building to be part of the environment, rather than imported into it. Using natural materials where possible, enhances the symbiotic or inter-connectedness, between a building for humans and the natural world.

Cement, ceramic, brick, aluminium, glass, and steel are main materials which have important roles when going green. For main building structure and roof, wood materials with light steel are more common. Light steel chosen based on several quality levels; depending on its raw materials. Roof structure from steel has some advantages; stronger, anti-corrosive, anti-porous, anti-termite, flexible, easy to pair, lighter, so do not encumber construction, and also can pair with architecture design calculation, and civil technique calculation.

Space Efficiency

Less is more nowadays. Using space efficient design has many advantages such as save on cost and use less energy.

If a new build is to happen in a more rural or wilderness environment, the options are many. Many architects now specialise in designing buildings for the area they are to be in, which might involve original shapes based on the local environment, or even built into the environment into the side of a mountain for instance, or deeply embedded within a forest.


The Government's plan to make all new homes carbon free by 2016 can only be achieved by using Technology. We live in a technological era with daily advancement in this field.


A significant portion of Britain's energy output is used on power, heat and lighting for homes. In order to reduce this usage and to meet Governments target of carbon free homes, the designers have to make use of cutting edge technology.

What is made absolutely clear is that builders need to use the right technology for the right situation and this needs to be done on a case-by-case basis, otherwise they are unlikely to deliver on the three crucial measurements: carbon reduction, cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

There are many different types of technology available today to designers. According to the NHBC (National Housing Building Council) there are 11 different types of technology which designers can take advantage of such as solar systems, fuel cells, renewable heat power systems and small scale hydroelectric technologies. These particular technologies are designed with cost-efficiency and carbon saving benefits in mind with factors like geographical location, consumer savings and Government planning regulation taken into consideration.

Advantages of Green Architecture

The following chapter discusses some of the advantages Green buildings have to offer. Sustainable or Green designed, built and managed building, are reduces the negative impact on the environment. There are numerous way of building a house, offices or schools, but the finest builds should include the following:

The Right Location

Creating sustainable buildings starts with proper site selection, including consideration of the reuse or rehabilitation of existing buildings. Ideally, the building will not be constructed in any sensitive habitats like old growth forests, wetlands or green recharge zones. Many new green buildings are purposely built over former polluted industrial areas that have been reclaimed.

Buildings that are designed and located near major bus and train stations encourage the use of public transport. Buildings with less space and smaller car parks tend to be more energy-efficient while leaving more room for landscaping. Landscaping which incorporates non-invasive native plants, some of which produce food for humans and wildlife alike are ideal.

Creating sustainable buildings starts with proper site selection, including consideration of the reuse or rehabilitation of existing buildings.

The location, orientation, and landscaping of a building affect the local ecosystems, transportation methods, and energy use. Incorporate Smart growth principles in the project development process, whether it be a single building, campus or military base. Siting for physical security is a critical issue in optimizing site design, including locations of access roads, parking, vehicle barriers, and perimeter lighting. Whether designing a new building or retrofitting an existing building, site design must integrate with sustainable design to achieve a successful project.

Energy Efficiency

Low Energy consumption is a key element of green building design, making use of energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal is becoming increasingly important. Heating, air conditioning and ventilation are usually a building's biggest energy costs, so basic practices like moderating summer and winter thermostat settings makes a big difference. Also incorporating efficient appliances like those with Energy Star certification can go a long way and form the ideal.

Windows play a very important role when designing green buildings. High quality, insulating windows are as important as window placement. Windows in the right places provide solar warmth in cool weather and allow plenty of daylight during the day to reduce lighting use, hence saves on energy bills. Landscaping also saves energy through clever placement of shading trees and green roofs where plant beds are placed on roofs that provide insulation and reduce storm runoff.

Material recycling

It is as though every day, some innovative, new sustainable building material for green buildings comes online. Some are recycled, recyclable, or brought back into use from architectural salvage companies. Others are local materials including those, like rock and gravel, that can be harvested from the building site itself. Most of these contain few or no toxic substances or finishes, and many, such as bamboo, straw bales, cork, and recycled denim insulation, come from sustainable or low-impact sources.

Clean Air

Most of us can identify the smell of fresh paint, but there are many other indoor air pollutants that can be even more harmful. The EPA estimates that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from some paints, carpets, synthetic fabrics and adhesives are a known health hazard, contributing to the malaise known as sick building syndrome. Proper use of HVAC can help, as can one obvious but hard-to-find office technology -- windows that open to let fresh air in and bad air out.

Water-Wise Green Buildings

Some smart uses of water in green buildings are obvious -- low-flow toilets, sinks and showers -- but others are still being introduced in some municipalities, like the reuse of graywater (non-septic water from sinks and showers) to flush toilets and irrigate landscaping. Some green buildings even take advantage of rainwater, collecting it to cool the building and incorporating it into natural water features on the site.

Zero or minimal Waste

Does Green building always have to be new buildings? No - some green buildings are not new at all, in fact, they are older buildings that have been modified for reuse and have incorporated green ideas. Adaptive building reuse, like turning an old warehouse into housing, is just one example of how smart design can reduce the waste flow from construction, as well as the waste generated during building occupancy. More efficient building processes, like prefab buildings, also reduce the amount of waste generated by building demolition, construction and renovation.

User Management and Maintenance

So we have a latest all green building that does not impact the environment like traditional houses but that would mean nothing if the occupants did practice sustainable living. What would be the point of living in a 'green' house if the users for example did not switch of the lights when not in use to save energy or did not recycle their waste? Living in a Green building requires a lifestyle change and ongoing participation in sustainable living from occupants.

Examples of Green Buildings in UK

The following chapter provides examples of green buildings in the UK. There are many examples to choose from but the author has highlighted some of the most recent projects.

Apartment Block Development

Below is (Fig.) is a substantial low-energy housing scheme developed by a company called Citu, who turned an empty 1930s art-deco structure in to a multi-award winning low carbon sustainable development called the Greenhouse.

Fig 2. Greenhouse, Leeds

Greenhouse is a groundbreaking new sustainable eco-development, pioneering and innovative with environmental credentials that are like no other in the UK. A multi-use residential and office space complex, it packs in a lot of functionality, as well as seemingly every possible kind of new technology to ensure it is as low carbon, energy efficient and economical to occupy as it is possible for a building to be..

The building has an energy performance certificate A rating, which is achieved using high levels of insulation for the envelope, solar panels, rooftop wind turbines and a ground source heat pump. A sophisticated building management system helps minimise energy use by moving air from areas that are too hot to those that need heating, and using summer heat recovered from the apartments for water heating.

Rain water harvesting from flat roof and terraces and grey water is recycled from basins, sinks and showers. This combined with water efficient appliances reduces water usage to 80 litres of potable water per person per day compared to the average of 148litres. This water is then filtered and reused to flush toilets and wash clothes.

In addition to this, the flow restricted shower heads and flow efficient taps are as standard, combined with dual flush toilets reduce water consumption without any detrimental affect on the performance of the fittings.

Work tops were sourced from bamboo, a sustainable harvested crop that matures in 7 years with sink covers that double as chopping boards fashioned from the cut out of the hob. Recycled carpet underlay and 100% British wool carpets have been used.

Finally dedicated energy efficient light fitting were used such under counter LEDs to reduce energy consumption without compromising on design.

At least 85% of all site waste was recycled each month with an array of different skips on site to reduce off-site sorting required.

Recycling facilities are provided in each home in the form of an integrated bins with separation of different materials.

In addition to this, the amount of waste is weighed on weekly basis (both recycled and non-recycled) and displayed in simple diagrammatic form on residents TV screens  so the building can work collectively to reducing brown waste and increasing recycling.

Through their television residents can monitor their electricity usage as well as their consumption of hot, cold and grey water. This is expressed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and defined in pounds and pence as well as Kwh and litres. By providing this information in a timely, readily available and simple to understand format residents behaviour is encouragedtoreduceconsumption.

In addition to this the total buildings energy usage (and output from renewables) is displayed on an energy efficient LED monitor in reception to show the bigger picture of energy usage and encourage occupants to work together as a community to reduce overall consumption.

Energy Monitoring

Through their television residents can monitor their electricity usage as well as their consumption of hot, cold and grey water. This is expressed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and defined in pounds and pence as well as Kwh and litres. By providing this information in a timely, readily available and simple to understand format residents behaviour is encouraged to reduce consumption.

In addition to this the total buildings energy usage (and output from renewables) is displayed on an energy efficient LED monitor in reception to show the bigger picture of energy usage and encourage occupants to work together as a community to reduce overall consumption.


A free on-site gym is provided for residents and office workers with an array of cardiovascular as well as strength training equipment,.  This also acts to encourage interaction between residents and office based people, thus strengthening the community net.

The on-site cafe/ deli sells locally grown produce from the allotments and other locally sourced healthy eating products.  It also bakes fresh bread and serves sandwiches and ethically sourced freshly brewed coffee. The shared courtyard provides private space and encourages community interaction. All new build homes achieve lifetime home status.

All apartments have been designed to utilise maximum possible daylight with floor to ceiling windows in the new build elements of the building (top 2 floors and  the inner core).  In addition to this the ventilation system constantly circulates fresh air throughout the building and doesn't post the problems often associated with the dryness of air conditioning systems.

Green Housing Development

Fig 4. Threshold Centre, Dorset,

The Threshold Centre could be the answer, as it is one of the UK's first co-housing schemes. The idea is to further reduce carbon emissions by tackling the way people live. Here residents share communal space and white goods such as washing machines and freezers so the homes can be smaller, cutting energy use.

The communal living ethos extends to car sharing and growing food, further reducing carbon emissions. The homes are converted holiday accommodation and a farmhouse has been turned into communal facilities including a kitchen and living space, offices and a laundry.


Commercial Development

Currently a new Green development is near completion in Manchester at MMU All Saints. The new Business School building which designers say is at the "forefront of green development" in the city.

In a highly original concept, three towers will sit under a single glass roof, separated by two atria or arcades. The jewel-shaped building has glazed facades which refract colours that react to the changing patterns of the sun and daylight. Solar panels on the large south-facing roof and ground source heat pumps will generate power for the building which is designed to let in the maximum amount of natural light.

Building work started in 2009 and will be completed in 2011.

Incorporating change

The designer

Designers have a direct role in industry as service providers. They also have the scope to adopt a broader role that recognises the part their profession plays in shaping society and in minimising or reducing the impact of industries on the environment. Rising to this challenge requires a commitment to continued learning and embracing new ideas and practices.

Government policies

It has long been recognised that the Government has a role to play in influencing how we use resources and ensuring a sustainable future. The UK Government has established ethical codes of practice.

One cannot be surprised to find policy statements such as this from internationally recognised professional bodies but one wonders how many members adopt them or are even aware of them. Whilst designers might respect these codes of practice in principle most have yet to develop sustainable environmental policies of their own.

Measures such as recycling paper waste and printer ink cartridges, and using effective lighting and heating control systems to reduce energy consumption in the office do help a design company to project a positive message to clients. Increasingly, public sector and corporate clients will only engage service providers that have an explicit environmental policy covering sustainable business practice.

Extending an environmental policy to the provision of sustainable design solutions is a step few designers are yet prepared to take. However, there are potential benefits for both designer and client.

Designers that do have a comprehensive environmental policy can communicate their achievements on past projects to potential clients when pitching for work.

A sustainable design approach to exhibits that address a public audience and have a longer term use can be a persuasive proposition. Potentially it offers business advantage, community benefit and enhances environmental quality, all considerations that may directly interest the client.

Partnerships and collaboration

As noted above, designers need to engage with new ideas and practices which may take them beyond their immediate field of expertise. They need to be aware of environmental issues and advances in the broader field of sustainable design. By subscribing to environmental organisations, trade associations and specialist publications designers can keep abreast of new research. However, where gaps in knowledge are identified it is worth considering liaising with environment experts and consultancies, and when appropriate commissioning project-specific research.

The need to consider environment issues at an early stage in the design process will mean that close partnerships with other contributors to the programme, engineers, printers, construction companies, technologists will be crucial. (MacKenzie, 1991, 158-9)

Lack of cross-disciplinary collaboration in the early stages of projects is one probable reason for their failure to achieve sustainability.


The National Qualifications Framework (UK) provides benchmark statements for all undergraduate study. The architecture subject benchmarks are explicit about coverage of environmental issues and sustainable design in the curriculum; the art and design ones refer to environmental issues in contextual studies but do not explicitly refer to sustainable design in the curriculum.

Students need some knowledge of what impact design and manufacturing processes have on the environment to be able to adopt sustainable design practices. One can conclude that all design courses should at least include environmental issues in the curriculum and preferably should integrate them with design learning. Given the rapid development of the field students could also be encouraged to engage in research and thereby contribute to better understanding.

In professional practice multidisciplinary collaboration is important, as noted above. This should be asserted early in a designer's career through engaging as a student in cross-disciplinary design projects and sharing ideas and resources with students on other design courses as well as those in engineering or construction.

The sustainable designer needs to develop a perspective on how design processes fit into broader social, economic and political context. This suggests the need for a theoretical framework that goes beyond environmental issues. Design students might benefit from a philosophical strand to their education. The ability to question and rethink design briefs and accepted practices is likely to mark out strong designers for whom sustainability is just one of the many challenges they can overcome.

The Royal Society of Arts annual student awards (RSA Directions), for example, provide many

opportunities for students to form cross-disciplinary teams to develop project submissions that

question accepted norms, are innovative in technical, business and creative terms, and exemplify sustainable design.


Green Affordable buildings is designed to meet various target. In order to reach this goal, different factors must be considered, such as:

Using high levels of insulation

High-performance windows, using the suns heat reflective in east & west.

Strongly sealed construction

Sophisticated heating

Air conditioning systems

Ventilation and appropriate materials.

The lowest cost should be considered first which leads to high functioning system design. Energy efficiency is important so that low operating costs make houses more affordable. By incorporating proper ventilation, the indoor air quality can be improved hugely. The types of construction systems, material strength selection and low maintenance are also important. Long lasting materials are more expensive to purchase but are more affordable in the long run. Selecting systems and materials with the least impact on the environment is the most crucial consideration in green affordable building.

An architect should be able to tell and advise a client what makes a building energy efficient. The architect should also be able to translate the clients ideas into reality, using both common architectural sense, and the most up to date technology and methods. This might include solar panels, thermal mass building construction, green materials, including wood, stone, or earth (or even recycled waste materials, such as tyres or glass or plastic bottles).

It is both the design and the construction which can make a building truly sustainable and green, and the architect should pay careful attention to both aspects of the entire process. On a site visit, a green architect should pay close attention to the environment that the potential building site is located within. This should guide the architect in their design, with an intention to respect the immediate ecology of the area, and for a prospective new green building to be in harmony with this. In the case of an existing building, or a building to be constructed on a so-called brown field site, which is usually in an urban area, where often industrial or residential properties are or have been demolished; the architect should pay particular care to what already is on the site, and how it has been used and treated.

There are many examples of green development in the UK. It seems as though designers are now thinking 'green' and with the introduction of new carbon cutting laws, they are left with no choice but to go green.

Green architecture can be wonderful examples of the possibility of humans living harmoniously within the environment. The opportunities exist to design beautiful, energy efficient and environmentally friendly residences and workplaces that demonstrate our human ability to adapt to and peacefully live within the ecology of the natural world.

Hopefully this report shows that sustainable design is about more than the selection of a few organic or recycled materials and involves a wider balance of concerns. In a travelling exhibit project, for example, it means shaping the exhibition programme and the context of use, accounting for the energy used in production, operation and disposal, and evaluating alternative solutions against rigorous criteria set out in the brief.