Water Efficiency Awards 2005

If you have been involved in developing a water efficient scheme, now is the time to enter the Environment Agency’s Water Efficiency Awards 2005.

Now in their 4th year, the Awards recognise, reward and celebrate those who help to conserve resources through water efficiency.

The ODPM award invites entries from organisations that can demonstrate good practice, in the houses they build, maintain and renovate, through innovative approaches to water efficiency. Judges are looking for new, cost-effective and transferable ways of addressing water efficiency in the built environment.

For more information, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/savewater. Entry forms must be returned by 30 July 2004.

New User Behaviour Report
Do residents actually benefit from the energy-efficiency measures installed in their homes? A new report sheds light on the behaviour of residents in energy efficient homes. It found that, while 86% of residents are happy with the results they get from they heating system,

· Only 23% of residents actually use their systems in the recommended, energy efficient way.

· 50% of them use the systems in a way considered “reasonable” for their needs and lifestyles (but which is not energy efficient).

· 14% of residents use their systems in a way which is neither energy efficient nor provides the increased comfort levels associated with these technologies.

The report, undertaken by ACE (the Association for the conservation of Energy) and funded by the Housing Corporations’ IGP grant and EST, draws its results from a large number of interviews with residents, and makes interesting reading to inform your future decisions.

Download your copy of the report here.

Taking it on Together
This consultation by the Government seeks your views and ideas on what should be UK sustainable development strategy. Opinions will be collected from an online panel and there is a list of questions from which you can answer as many or as few as you like. For example:

· What more needs to be done to improve the business contribution to delivering sustainable development?

· What should be our vision of sustainable development for the UK?

· How can we encourage more public involvement in action to reduce emissions?

Click here and have your say!

World Habitat Award 2004
- Your invitation to enter.

If your project can offer sustainable futures to residents and practical, imaginative solutions to current housing problems, you could be eligible for an award and £10,000 prize.

Judges, including the Under Secretary General of the United Nations/ Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, will present the awards at the Global Celebration of World Habitat Day, giving international recognition to winning projects.

The awards seek to identify projects that are innovative, successful and replicable. Only a summary of the project is required, by 1st June, to enter the initial stage of the competition.

More information is on the Building and Social Housing Federation’s website: www.bshf.org/wha/index.html.

Low carbon technologies - have your say
Practical Environment and the Energy Saving Trust are undertaking a questionnaire to see what housing associations think about low carbon technologies. Their findings will help to shape the support for these technologies that is available to associations in the future.

In broad terms, low carbon technologies cover everything from loft insulation to ground source heat pumps - any measures that improve energy efficiency or use renewable energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

If you are interested in submitting your views, the questionnaire is available at www.routestosustainability.org.uk/technology.php.

A focus group will also be held on 10th June in London to discuss the use of these technologies and how support can be developed. If you are interested in attending, contact nicholas.doyle@nbh.co.uk.

Refurbishment Case Studies

The latest update of Baker Homes’ Good Practice Guide is now available, free of charge. This time the focus is on sustainable refurbishment.

Fifteen case studies demonstrate ways to save energy and water and to reduce waste and pollution in different house-types representing the range of social housing stock.

The case studies include information about sustainability features, procurement, developers’ comments, costs and savings.

Contact Baker Homes for your free copy: info@bakerstimber.co.uk.

Free Sustainability Consultations
Ecological building specialist, Construction Resources, is offering free training and consultancy to housing associations, to help them implement sustainability at the design stage of their schemes.

The training day, targeted for development and project managers, involves examining in detail the practical issues and choices involved in making projects sustainable. There will be a focus on the common issues raised in participants’ schemes.

This is followed by a day of free individual consultancy to work through in detail the options outlined during the training and to apply these to the individual’s current or planned project.

The following topics will be covered:

Ranking environmental options; practical implementation – issues to deal with at the design stage; environmental benefit and EcoHomes points; system and material costs – determine economic and environmental return; improving the business case for sustainability through design and supply arrangements; preparing “green” performance specifications for common refurbishment and new build items.

For more information about this free training and consultancy package, contact Jonathan Fovargue on 020 7450 2211, or email seminars@constructionresources.com.

Sustainable New Homes Awards
The WWF and House Builders Federation have teamed up to make the aim of genuinely sustainable homes a reality by launching the Sustainable New Homes Awards.

The award scheme has been launched to ensure not only that homes are built sustainably, but also that the lifestyles they enable for their occupants are as sustainable as possible.

If you have a development you would like to enter for the award, and it has achieved an Eco Homes rating of at least ‘Very Good’, contact Marian Macdonald for further information: 020 7608 5109 or marian.macdonald@hbf.co.uk.

EcoLaw updates
‘EcoLaw’ - a guide to environmental regulations for housing associations - has been prepared for the Housing Corporation to alert associations to the environmental risks associated with their operations, help them to meet their environmental obligations and place environmental legislation in context.

The guide is regularly updated to reflect changes in legislation. The latest update draws attention to the Sustainable and Secure Buildings Bill which if passed would provide a basis in law for promoting sustainable construction through the Building Regulations.

EcoLaw is freely available online at www.ha-ecolaw.org.uk.

Innovation and Good Practice
There is an increasing number of guides, advice, support and training available to housing associations and their partners on delivering sustainable development.

To help promote these effectively and consistently, Baker Homes is now being funded by the Housing Corporation to co-ordinate the tools/resources provided by the Innovation and Good Practice (IGP) sustainability projects. Clare Wilson has joined the Baker Homes team as Sustainability Coordinator to take this forward.

Please contact Clare on 020 8973 0424 or cwilson@bakerstimber.co.uk for further information.

Building Towards Sustainability
A newly launched survey, commissioned by the WWF and Insight Investment, indicates for the first time the sustainability performance of the UK’s 13 largest listed house-builders.

Two companies clearly led the pack: Countryside Properties and the Berkeley Group.

Although a number of house-builders fell short of best practice, all clearly recognised the growing importance of sustainability issues, particularly in terms of their business.

The survey was carried out as part of the WWF’s One Million Baker Homes campaign. A report of the findings, entitled “Building Towards Sustainability; Performance and Progress Among the UK’s Leading Housebuilders” is available from www.wwf.org.uk/sustainablehomes.

Fiscal incentives for sustainable homes
The WWF believes that the government must provide fiscal incentives to encourage the development of sustainable homes.

Stamp duty exemption on sustainable homes is amongst the measures proposed. This would build on the precedent of stamp duty exemption for the regeneration of land in disadvantaged areas.

Paul King, Director of WWF’s One Million Baker Homes Campaign, said: “House prices are already prohibitive for many people including key workers. If homebuyers were given a real incentive to save significant sums of money the would leap at the chance. By introducing a differential stamp duty tax for homes that meet a credible environmental standard then the demand for sustainable housing would soar, money would be saved and the environment would benefit”.

More information about the WWF’s One Million Baker Homes Campaign, and the fiscal incentives proposed, can be found at www.wwf.org.uk/sustainablehomes/.

Brent - sustainable by design
Sustainable design principles must now be embodied in all development proposals, according to a new policy adopted by Brent Council.

A design checklist has been produced to indicate the sustainability level of design proposals. It integrates the environmental aspects of sustainability (energy, water, waste, materials, landscaping, construction and demolition practices, waste and pollution) with the social and economic aspects.

The policy, part of the Unitary Development Plan, is accompanied by new Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG19) for the council and their partners, to ensure more sustainable design, construction and operation of development within the borough.

Separate advice and information has also been produced to encourage householders to apply the principles of sustainable design and construction.

For more information about SPG19 or the Householders’ Guide, contact Delle Odelaye on 020 8937 5315 or delle.odeleye@brent.gov.uk.

SPG19 and the Sustainable Development Checklist can be downloaded from www.brent.gov.uk.

New eco partnership for South East
The Environment Agency has brought together a range of organisations and businesses from the public and private sectors, to form a new partnership for better, more sustainable buildings in the South East.

The partnership, called ecoSE, was officially launched at the 'Better Buildings Conference' on 9 December. It includes water companies, planning associations, housing federations, government bodies, local authorities and environmental organisations.

Housing is a major challenge in South East England, as up to 800,000 new homes are due to be built in the region over the next twenty five years. ecoSE has produced a manifesto for housing development in the region – seeking to ensure that it proceeds in a sustainable way which creates a better quality of life by addressing social issues and the environment at the earliest stage.

The key elements in the manifesto are:
· Ensuring the highest quality of design in new developments,
· Promoting and encouraging the raising of construction standards for all new buildings,
· Raising the design standards of new homes, by encouraging adoption of ecohomes ‘very good’ as a minimum standard,
· Promoting and encouraging the retrofitting of existing stock to raise energy and water efficiency.

For further information on the aims and objectives of ecoSE, visit www.ecoSE.org.uk .

Green Street online

If you want your refurbs, repair and maintenance to be more sustainable but don’t know where to start, log on to Green Street, www.greenstreet.org.uk, our new free webtool.

Funded by EST and the Housing Corporation, Green Street has a wealth of information on sustainable measures including energy, water, waste, materials and how to involve residents. It looks at how they work, their costs, funding, Corporation standards and health and well-being issues.

Green Street is practical and flexible, providing tailor-made solutions depending on what’s driving you, which house type you need to refurbish, or what information you need. A walk down Green Street can save you money and time!


Homes For Good fair
10am - 4pm Friday 13th and Saturday 14th February 2004.

A two-day fair of exhibitions and demonstrations showing natural and recycled building materials and home furnishings will be held at The Somerset College of Arts and Technology’s new Conference and Enterprise Centre, Wellington Road, Taunton, Somerset.

This event is being launched by Kevin McCloud, Presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs. Contact: Nick Gardner, Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development on 01458 259 400 or Nick@sustainablehousing.org.uk

Sustainability Works training
Due to demand, Sustainability Works are running more training courses to show housing associations and their partners how to meet Housing Corporation requirements.

Half day, hands on courses, subsidised by the Housing Corporation, are being held at:

London - 9 January 2024

London - 23 January 2023

Liverpool – 6 February 2023

These courses are suitable for housing association development, regeneration and policy staff, local authority officers involved with housing developments, architects and other consultants working on housing projects, housing developers and contractors.

The training courses will show you how to use the web tool to:

- write a sustainable development policy for your organisation

- obtain predictions for EcoHomes ratings for projects

- prepare Sustainability Toolkit reports as required by the Housing Corporation.

You will also be able to set sustainable development targets for projects and monitor their implementation.

Only £245 + VAT per person per half day course.

For booking information, call 020 7422 1777, email contact@sustainabilityworks.org.uk or visit www.sustainabilityworks.org.uk/training.

Hard to Treat Homes website launched
EST have launched their new website at www.est.org.uk/bestpractice/hardtotreat containing information on the range of measures that are available to landlords when developing an energy refurbishment strategy for hard to treat dwellings.

The website has summaries on heating and ventilation, as well as a matrix examining different energy refurbishment approaches to a selection of hard-to-treat house types. It has used the same house types as those in the Green Street refurbishment web-tool: www.greenstreet.org.uk.

Wanted: Sustainable refurbishments
Social housing providers are leading the way in sustainable development. You’ve heard about BedZED, and other examples of new-build best-practice. But what about leading examples of sustainable refurbishment?

There are 4 million reasons for housing associations to improve the energy efficiency of their existing stock, and excellent examples of green refurbishment are being quietly undertaken. We think these projects should be shouted about and celebrated!

If you are a social housing provider with a green improvement project, or have completed an environmentally-friendly upgrade within any sector, we want to hear from you. We will promote your project for you, on behalf of the Housing Corporation, and encourage others to follow your lead.

Your project may have included super-insulation, energy-efficient heating systems and controls, recycled materials, or renewable energy technologies. Whatever steps you have taken that have helped save energy, let us know, and we’ll shout about it.

If you have a project you’d like others to know about, please contact Sarah Butler on 020 8973 0429, or email info@bakerstimber.co.uk.

Planning overhaul overdue
The TCPA has launched a report to ask for an overhaul of planning and building regulation legislation to help bring sustainable housing into the mainstream.

The report, 'Building Sustainably: How to plan and construct new housing for the 21st Century' calls on the Government to seize the opportunity of the Better Building Summit on October 21 to announce an extensive review of the legislation.

“The Government has committed to developing sustainable homes and communities, but the current regulatory frameworks that govern where and how new homes are built are not up to the job”, said Paul King, Director of WWF’s One Million Baker Homes Campaign.

There are numerous examples of quality homes built in the UK with zero carbon dioxide emissions, with highly efficient water use and re-use and within communities which are affordable for both people and the environment. However these examples are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to building new houses.

While the Government’s Sustainable Communities Plan offers an unprecedented opportunity to build sustainable homes and communities on a large scale, the report argues, the building regulations and planning system do not adequately address issues such as the environmental impacts of building materials, energy and water consumption, and access to good public transport.

The report shows that by simply changing the current building regulations and the planning system, all new houses will be built to the highest standards, be cheaper to run, and will have less environmental impact on the planet.

You can download the report from www.tcpa.org.uk and www.wwf.org.uk

Seminar on renewable energy - 24 December
The London Metropolitan University are holding a seminar on Friday 24 December.
This will focus on the role of renewable energy in housing, and launch a CD package to help housing associations deliver renewable energy projects.

The event and CD draws on the experience of 16 EU funded projects, involving refurbisment and new build schemes.

The seminar is £50 plus VAT. To reserve a place contact

Professor Mike Wilson michael.wilson@londonmet.ac.uk 020 7133 2178

All delegates will be provided with copies of the cds produced by the RESSET and CD-RES projects

Friday 24th December 2003, 10 AM - 4.20PM, The Forum, London

EST Innovation Programme
EST's Innovation Programme is encouraging applications for community-based energy projects. Funding and support are available for projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

The Innovation Programme recognises the wider benefits of energy efficiency such as employment, health & well being, social inclusion, etc. benefits that are central to successful community projects, as these are factors that communities often value above carbon reduction. However the focus for the Innovation Programme is primarily on energy efficiency. Projects can work with existing energy efficiency programmes such as Warm Front and the Energy Efficiency Commitment, in a way that adds value beyond what the normal programme managers can achieve.

If you are interested in applying, applications for community energy projects should demonstrate the involvement of local community groups or networks. Although this is not exclusive, with non-community based projects also welcome for this application round. All projects require the active involvement of local authority or housing association partners. Projects will also need to demonstrate effective links to the delivery of actual energy efficiency measures.

What is Innovative?

Initiatives can be innovative in terms of the approach taken, process, methodology or technologies used. Novel partnerships are particularly important and this programme allows other appropriate agencies to lead on a project, as long as there is at least one housing association or local authority actively involved. If applying for a community based project you need to demonstrate the involvement of a community group and/or network. This could be your residents.

What support is available?

Funding and technical support is available through two routes:

Feasibility studies - Support is available of up to £10,000 for a feasibility study.

Implementation projects- Up to £90,000 is available for funding of projects that reduce carbon emissions.

The Innovation Programme supports projects that primarily target domestic housing with schemes having to achieve no less than 70% of carbon reductions from this sector. The next deadline for both feasibility and implementation applications is October 2003 (draft applications by 17th October, final submissions by 31st October). Feasibility applications can also be submitted for January 2004 (draft applications by 16th January, final submissions by 30th January).

For more information, call the CAfE Team on 08701 261444, or contact Practical Help at https://www.practicalhelp.org.uk/innovation, or 0870 241 2089 for further details on project criteria, eligible expenditure and the application process.

Free Policy and Action Plan Training
The Housing Corporation’s Sustainable Development Strategy requires associations to address sustainable development through their policies, strategies and actions. Assistance is available for associations, including the following free training.

Baker Homes will be piloting a training programme tailored to multi-disciplinary groups of staff within individual associations, working towards the development of a sustainable development strategy and action plan. The programme will be piloted this autumn, and rolled out to all housing associations in January 2004.

From September, Sustainability Works will provide introductory courses for development, regeneration and policy staff in setting sustainability policies and targets. For more information, email: contact@sustainabilityworks.org.uk

Construction Resources are offering introductory and advanced training in sustainable approaches to construction from September until May 2004. The advanced course will focus on delegates’ specific projects. Contact: info@ecoconstruct.com

Details on further training to help associations meet their sustainability obligations is available at www.housingcorp.gov.uk/resources/sustain.htm.

Funding for Community Self Build
Events and seminars will be taking place up and down the country for the fourth UK Community Self Build Week, running from 6-13 October. A diary of events will be posted at www.communityselfbuildagency.org.uk on 1 September.

If you are a self build group or housing association interested in fielding an event, you can apply to the Community Self Build Agency for £300 to facilitate your event. Funding is limited, so bids must be received by15 August.

Contact info@communityselfbuildagency.org.uk for more details.

Green Views of Housing
A satisfaction survey of residents living in innovative and green housing has been carried out by BRE, on behalf of Baker Homes. The aim was to find out how residents view the ‘green’ features in their homes, whether they are reaping comfort and cost benefits, if they are living a green lifestyle, and what their environmental priorities are for future housing.

Among the key lessons learned is the need for effective two-way communication and adequate maintenance. This helps to ensure that residents find the features helpful, use them efficiently, and are not concerned about cost and health impacts as a result of the unfamiliarity of features and systems.

A briefing paper of the findings and lessons learned will be circulated to housing associations later this year.

In addition, a toolkit has been trialled for associations to survey their residents’ views of the green and innovative features in their homes. The toolkit will help associations use qualitative data to scratch beneath the surface and find out which features really work well, and where.

For more information on the toolkit, contact Kathryn Rathouse on rathousek@bre.co.uk.

Mainstreaming Sustainability
The launch of the Housing Corporation’s Sustainable Development Strategy took place at the end of June. This sets out what the Corporation is going to do to improve its sustainability and to encourage action in the sector.

Yvette Cooper, Under Secretary for Housing, gave the full support of Government for the Strategy. It reflects Government commitment to support social progress, maintaining economic growth, protecting the environment and making prudent use of natural resources.

Norman Perry stated that “the Housing Corporation does not do something unless we mean it”. Over the past five years much work has gone into developing tools to support sustainability in the sector and the strategy marks the next phase. In the past, sustainability has been seen as something voluntary for housing associations. “Now we will be requiring the sector to weave sustainability into the warp and weft of what they do”, Perry went on to say.

The Strategy sets out the objectives, priorities and outcomes of the Housing Corporation. Although no clear timescale was given, annual monitoring and reporting will ensure the strategy is delivered during the next few years.

Copies of the strategy and a guide to sustainability will be circulated to all housing associations in the coming weeks.

What will be done? The Corporation will integrate sustainable development principles into its Corporate Strategy and policies, raise awareness of the issues with its staff, and build partnerships with key government and other national agencies to ensure joined-up action for sustainability.

In particular, sustainable development principles will be integrated into the Investment Strategy and procedures and the Regulatory Framework.

For the sector this means association will be encouraged to adopt sustainable development principles and objectives of their own. The Regulatory Framework will be used to ensure associations with more than 250 units address sustainable development issues in their policies, strategies and actions.

All new development schemes funded by the Corporation will need to address sustainable development at the bid stage. This will be an explicit grant allocation criterion.

To support this, work is being carried out to support whole life costing methodologies to improve long-term planning for sustainable communities and homes in urban and rural locations.

In addition, a key objective is to assist associations to address sustainable development by developing and making available good practice guidance tools, workshops and seminars.

Baker Homes sees itself as having a key role in assisting with the delivery of this through its advice, support and training programmes, and by providing information on the full range of sustainable training, seminars and workshops being supported by the Housing Corporation.

For more information on the details of the strategy, contact us on 020 8973 0428 or info@bakerstimber.co.uk.

Corp Launch Sustainability Strategy
The Housing Corporation’s commitment to sustainability will be marked by the launch of their Sustainable Development Strategy and Action Plan on 26th June.

The Strategy sets a framework for sustainability at every level, and will encourage housing associations to address sustainable development issues through their policies, strategies and actions.

‘Foundations to the Future’, a guide for housing association boards and staff, outlines the sustainable development priorities for housing associations. For more information, see below.

EcoHomes At No Extra Cost
The 2003/4 Scheme Development Standards require an EcoHomes ‘Pass’ rating, with a recommendation for achieving a ‘Good’. From 2005, the ‘Good’ rating will become the minimum requirement. So how does this requirement impact financially on housing associations?

Research has been commissioned to look at the cost of achieving EcoHomes, from a ‘Pass’ to ‘Excellent’, for housing association stock to comply with SDS and Building Regulations. The report found that it is possible to achieve a 'Pass' or 'Good' rating at very little or no extra cost.

A summary of the research can be downloaded from the EcoHomes section of the website. Visit www.bakerstimber.co.uk/ecohomes or select: Resources>Sustainability Projects> Energy> EcoHomes.

RICS Awards: Are You Eligible?
Does your scheme demonstrate excellence in building conservation, regeneration, sustainability or community benefit? Have you committed to value for money and sustainability? If so, you could be eligible for one of the RICS 2003 Awards, regardless of the size of your scheme.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors are looking to celebrate eligible building developments and community projects at next year’s prestigious awards ceremony, to be held in May. The awards recognise a full spectrum of organisations and projects worldwide, from small schemes driven by the vision of one person, to multimillion budget, globally recognised developments.

Applications for the coveted awards will need to be submitted by 29th August 2003. Visit www.rics.org.uk.

New Climate Change Guidance
The UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) has produced a new report, 'Climate adaptation: Risk, uncertainty and decision-making', published by the Environment Agency this month.

Drawing on a wide range of UK expertise, the report provides a step-by-step decision-making framework to help planners, businesses and government assess the risk posed by climate change, and work out how best to respond.

UKCIP and the EA will be running training workshops across the UK on how to use the guidance, following its official launch in June.

To view a copy of the report, visit: www.ukcip.org.uk/risk_uncert/risk_uncert.html

Visit Baker Homes
Baker Homes will exhibit at two major events this summer. Visit us for information and practical tools to improve the environmental, social and economic performance of new and existing homes and your organisation.

4 June, London: Climate Change and the Housing Industry – How to Deal with the Problem.

- Government bodies including DEFRA and DTI will outline how they are responding to the likely challenges of climate change and speakers from leading organisations will present their experience in dealing with the outcomes of climate change in their projects.

14-15 July, Coventry: Building Better Futures: Development, Regeneration and Maintenance.

- The NHF’s conference programme will bring together the elements involved in building better futures for both the physical neighbourhood and its residents. Key themes include ‘Planning for Decent Homes and Sustainability’, and ‘Design for the 21st Century’.

See the Events page for more details.

Demonstrations of Sustainability
Rethinking Construction has recently published a report on the way in which the programme of demonstrations is increasingly addressing sustainable construction issues.

The format of the report is based upon a ‘sustainability checklist’ that is made available to all applicant projects and the 62-page brochure is a celebration of those sustainable demonstrations to date. It will provide a statistical overview of the current programme of demonstrations and will show how the programme has progressed since Rethinking Construction was created 5 years ago.

‘Demonstrations of Sustainability’ is available to download from the Rethinking Construction website, www.rethinkingconstruction.org.uk.

For further information, contact John Ford at Rethinking Construction on 020 7691 0220.

Green Schemes Commended

The Bree Day Partnership has won a Civic Trust Awards commendation for their Sustainable Development at Alpine Close, Maidenhead.

The scheme, built on a brown-field site, has been designed for energy efficiency and contains numerous examples of sustainable technology. Features include prefabricated kitchens, bathrooms and timber frames, cellulose insulation, solar water heaters and photovoltaics, grey water recycling and sedum roofs. The thermal efficiency of the houses outperforms the new regulations by 45%.

Judges praised the attractive, timber clad housing as being a vast improvement on the surrounding examples of social housing, and the high level of tenant satisfaction was recognised.

The Chief Executive of The Civic Trust said: “We are delighted that more and more schemes that are entering the Civic Trust Awards have sustainability as an essential part of their design brief. Whilst this makes judging harder, the improved quality of the environment and the added value that these schemes bring to people - locally, regionally and nationally - encourages the Trust to pursue the campaign for sustainability ever more vigorously”.

For more information about the Alpine Close development, visit www.architech.co.uk/MDHA.htm.

EcoLaw for Scheme Development Standards
‘EcoLaw’ - a guide to environmental regulations for housing associations - has been prepared for the Housing Corporation to alert associations to the environmental risks associated with their operations, help them to meet their environmental obligations and place environmental legislation in context.

The guide is regularly updated to reflect changes in legislation, and now incorporates the revised Scheme Development Standards, published in April.

EcoLaw is freely available online at www.ha-ecolaw.org.uk, and bound copies can be ordered free of charge from Baker Homes.

MPs Want More Ecofriendly Villages
The Millennium Communities initiative should be reviewed to find out why more eco-friendly housing schemes, such as the one at Greenwich, have not taken place, MPs said last Monday (28th April).

Their report claimed that the Millennium Village at Greenwich, the first scheme under the initiative, showed the benefits of incorporating eco-friendly features within new housing schemes, but it criticised the lack of progress made in the other areas earmarked as future Millennium Communities.

The Millennium Village at Greenwich, developed in partnership with Moat and Ujima housing associations, achieved an EcoHomes "Excellent" rating. It features environmentally friendly solutions such as CHP and high levels of insulation, and is designed to maximise levels of natural light and solar gain.


Training for Success

Baker Homes has completed another successful round of training.

Focusing on developing an environmental policy and action plan, over 40 associations attended the free, three-day course in venues around England.

At the sessions in Bristol a network of housing associations was set up in order to further the aims of sustainability. This will be supported by the NHF and the network aims to hold events and discussions for all associations in the South West region.

Sustainable Development is next on the agenda. If you are interested in attending, or would like to join the network for the South West please e-mail info@bakerstimber.co.uk.

Sustainable Communities Award 2003
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is inviting nominations for the Deputy Prime Minister’s Award for Sustainable Communities. The Award is for initiatives of all types and sizes in England which are advanced to a stage where there is a record of demonstrable results and success. Nominations are invited from projects that are contributing to making towns and cities better places in which to live and work and that demonstrate some, or all of the following criteria.

- An improved quality of life for local people, by addressing a need or dealing with a challenge identified by the community;

- An effective contribution to a wider strategy for sustainable communities, including the creation of a safer, cleaner and more efficient environment;

- A high quality of design for spaces and/ or buildings;

- Sustainability through innovation and inspiration in construction process and procurement;

- Imaginative ways of creating employment and affordable homes;

- An active involvement of the community;

- A strategic and integrated approach to transport and traffic management;

- Promotion of diversity and social inclusion.

The closing date for nominations is 22nd April 2003. For an overview of the Award, the full list of criteria and the nomination form, visit www.bura.org.uk.

What is Sustainability?
Sustainability has become a buzzword, affecting organisations at every level. So what is it and how does it affect housing professionals?

BioRegional, partners in the Beddington Zero Energy Development, are an independent environmental organisation bringing local sustainability into the mainstream.

To help bring sustainable business practice to the forefront of the housing and construction industry, BioRegional are offering a regular programme of Continuing Professional Development training, enabling housing professionals to address what is meant by sustainability and to talk to stakeholders from an informed position.

The one-day course, ‘Living on One Planet’ offers a high level pan-industrial introduction to the subject.

Course dates are 2nd May, 16 May and 6 June 2003. For more information visit www.bioregional.com, or email cpd@bioregional.com.

Recycled Eco-Construction Products

Ecoconstruction.org.uk is a newly developed and re-launched online database containing over 100 building products made from recycled materials

Designers and builders can source products ranging from hardcore for foundations to stained glass from old bottles. An information page on each material or product gives details of manufacturer, product specification, certification, availability, environmental health issues and costs and in many cases a direct link to the manufacturer’s website. The database also provides case studies of houses which have extensively used recycled materials, and gives information to help specifiers with issues such as planning, design, and guarantees.

The site is independent and has been set up to assist in increasing the re-use of waste materials in housing construction. Increasing the market demand for recyclates from industry is one of the best ways to stimulate recycling, reduce landfill and conserve natural resources. Manufacturers not yet listed are welcome to submit their products for assessment and inclusion.

For an online resource to sourcing recycled products, visit: www.ecoconstruction.org.

Clear Skies For Solar?
“Do the government grants for solar power now in place clear the way for sustainable heat and electricity generation from renewable sources?”

Following the recent launch of the new £10 million Clear Skies initiative, an afternoon workshop has been organised around this question to inspire and educate housing associations, local authorities and others about solar power and the solar grants available. Speakers will discuss topics including solar water heating for modern living, solar photovoltaics for architectural design, solar grants and maximising funding, case studies and sources of energy advice.

The event, organised by consultants Energy and Imagination will be held on 4th April 2003 at the CREATE Environment Centre in Bristol, and costs £30 + VAT.

To reserve a place, contact Clare Hawtin on 0117 942 6668 or clare@energyandimagination.com

New Funding for Renewables

The new Clear Skies initiative - launched in January 2003 - encourages homeowners and community groups to reap the benefits of renewable energy.

The £10 million initiative is offering grants of £500 - £5000 to homeowners wishing to install solar hot water, small-scale wind, micro hydro, ground sourced heat pumps or automated wood systems. The amount of funding depends on the system used.

Community groups wishing to install renewable energy systems can obtain up to £100,000 for grants and feasibility studies.

Clear Skies supports projects in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Homeowners and community groups in Scotland can apply for support under the Scottish Community Renewables Initiative (www.est.org.uk/renewables/scotland.cfm).

For more information about obtaining funding through the Clear Skies initiative, visit www.clear-skies.org .

Build Your Own Home on TV
A new ITV show called Under Construction is seeking ten couples to self-build on television - with the help of a team of experts - and to win their dream home.

The catch? After five weeks of building, the Big Brother- style elimination begins: couples can vote off those contestants who don’t quite know their sand from their cement, and the final two couples will be subjected to a public phone-in to determine the winners.

The prize? The dream home will be located in a small village near Telford, Shropshire and could be worth up to £500,000.

Filming takes place between the end of March and June and all contestants will have to be available for this entire period. You will have to be reasonably fit, and also able to take a little publicity in your stride. You will also need to apply quickly, as the deadline for applications is January 31st 2003.

If you are interested, or know someone who might be, visit www.communityselfbuildagency.org.uk for more information.


A new, improved Baker Homes website will be launched on Friday 31st January- watch this space!

Zero Emission Network
The Hockerton Housing Project have launched the Zero Emission Network- a networked community of building professionals wishing to learn from each other and to incorporate more energy efficient technologies and materials into their housing developments.

Their website includes an online company directory, news items, website reviews, an events page and a discussion forum.

ZEN can be accessed through their hosting site, www.innovationonline.info, or, for further information, email Nick White at ZEN@hockerton.demon.co.uk.

New Guide to Energy Standards
‘Energy Efficiency Standards for New and Existing Buildings’ is a new publication for housing professionals from the Housing Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme (HEEBPp).

Aimed at specifiers, installers and purchasers, this leaflet sets out the reasons why we need these standards for new and existing buildings, explains what the standards are and discusses the potential implications of their application.

To order a free copy, call 01923 664258, or download the document from www.housingenergy.org.uk.

£50m for Community Heating
A third round of bidding has been announced by the Energy Saving Trust, for its Community Energy Programme- the closing date is 31st January 2003.

£50 million is available in capital grants, in addition to development grants, and tools and information for potential applicants.

Local authorities and registered social landlords can apply for this funding, for the energy-efficient upgrading of existing community heating schemes, or the installation of new energy-efficient schemes.

Visit www.est.org.uk/communityenergy for more information.

Reduce Fuel Costs

Are your tenants' fuel costs going through the roof this winter?

A reminder that around 1million homes can benefit from loft and cavity wall insulation funded by the Energy Efficiency Commitment.

Housing associations and local authorities can save up to 100% of the cost of energy efficiency measures in their properties by applying for EEC funding.

The EEC runs until 2005 and it is expected that two thirds of the approved funding will be for insulation.

To find out more about how the EEC can help you reduce tenants' fuel costs, visit www.esd.co.uk/eec.

REACH for Community Renewables
Community groups and registered social landlords, whether designing a new building or replacing a heating system, are likely to find that a renewable energy option makes economic sense.

A new project called Renewable Energy Action in Communities and Homes (REACH) is promoting renewable energy technology by the way of practical demonstration. Advice and access to grant aid is available for those wishing to demonstrate solar, wind, water or biomass technologies in their community buildings.

REACH operate within Surrey, Croydon and Kent and can help housing associations to recover up to 65% of the cost of renewables. For more information and a free copy of their Community Toolkit, call REACH on 020 8683 6671.

To find out about similar projects in your area, visit www.countryside.gov.uk/communityrenewables/area.

Construction waste recycled
An estimated 100 million tonnes of waste is produced by the construction industry each year.

CIRIA have developed a website which encourages construction companies to be more sustainable by identifying better disposal routes for their waste, and sourcing materials and products which have been recycled.

The website database includes waste-recycling sites in England, Scotland and Wales, and can be searched by county and by materials.

CIRIA’s website augments existing services such as the BRE Waste Exchange and Aggregates Information Service. Through this website, the BRE can advise industry professionals about what wastes are likely to occur, the waste management options available, and the legal requirements for those options.

For more information about disposing of waste or sourcing recycled materials, visit: www.ciria.org.uk/recycling www.bre.co.uk/services/Waste_and_recycling.html

Further information about sourcing reclaimed and recycled materials can also be found at www.ecoconstruction.org.

O2 Community Investment
‘O2 : A Catalyst for Change: Mapping out the future of Community Investment’.

The O2 Programme is a shared learning network for housing and regeneration organisations that want to take on a strategic role as community investors

A conference is being held in Birmingham on 5th December which will draw together the learning points of O2 and launch the O2 final report.

Featuring presentations, workshops and lively debate, the conference will highlight the key issues facing community investors, including Asset Transfer, and Local Labour and Social Enterprise. Key speakers include Dr Norman Perry and Chris Wadhams.

The event will be of interest to staff, residents and service users, volunteers and board members of organisations working in housing and regeneration.

For more information contact Sam Thomas at People For Action on 0241 633 3836.


Subsidised EcoHomes Training
From April 2003, all new dwellings will need to meet an EcoHomes rating of at least a ‘Pass’.

To help housing associations deliver this requirement, the Housing Corporation and the BRE are running EcoHomes Assessor training courses for 100 housing association staff at a greatly reduced cost.

Normally charged at £650, the 2-day course is being offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis for only £225 + VAT.

Delegates will learn how to carry out an EcoHomes assessment and will have the option to become qualified EcoHomes Assessors, potentially saving the association the cost of external assessment fees.

The courses will be held in Watford between December 2002 and May 2003.

For more information and a booking form, contact Sarah Pearce at the BREEAM office on 01923 664867 or e-mail ecohomes@bre.co.uk.

EEC Update
Running from 2002 to 2005, the Energy Efficiency Commitment obliges energy suppliers to achieve an energy-saving target, by installing energy efficiency measures in customers’ homes. Over half of the energy savings should target ‘priority groups’- largely Local Authority and Housing Association households.

Six months into the programme, just under 10% of the total energy savings target has been achieved which, so far, has benefited mainly non-priority householders. Substantial funding opportunities are therefore available to Local Authorities and Housing Associations, to improve energy efficiency in their housing stock, and to help reduce residents’ fuel bills.

To help maximize EEC opportunities for Housing Associations, Energy for Sustainable Development have set up eight regional collectives who can facilitate access to the money. The collectives have already helped a range of Associations to gain funding in the millions.

Housing Associations could recover up to 100% of the cost of energy efficiency measures. To find out more about accessing EEC funds, see the ESD website, www.esd.co.uk/eec.

"Guidance to Local Authorities and Housing Associations on Working with Energy Companies" can be downloaded from: www.ofgem.gov.uk/docs2002/eecleaflet.pdf

Build your own home!
The Walter Segal Self Build Trust is a UK trust helping people- especially those in housing need or on low income- to build their own homes and community buildings. They provide advice, information, training and support for self-builders, and their services are available to everyone including housing associations and local authorities.

The WSSBT is about to start a new season of short introductory courses in Environmental Timber Frame Self Build. Courses cover all aspects of the self-build process for both individuals and groups of people in housing need. They also discuss the advantages of timberframing and different timber framing methods. So far, venues include:

London (8 November),

(Bangor (9 November),

Cardiff (29 November),

Leicester (24 January),

Cornwall (7 February),

And timber frame Community buildings in Bristol (21 February).

Courses in Cambridge Hereford Devon and Liverpool are also planned. The courses last all day and cost £45.00 (£50 in London) including a full set of notes and refreshments.

For more information about the introductory courses see www.segalselfbuild.co.uk. To make a reservation contact Geoff Stow on 01905 749665.

2002 Housing Design Award

Watton Green, a social housing development pioneered by the Focus Housing Group, has been awarded the 2002 housing design award for Urban Regeneration.

The housing design award, now in its 55th year, congratulates those who have made a marked impact on the design and construction of housing, and rewards developments which have positively affected their communities.

Completed at the beginning of 2001, the scheme of 11 timber-framed houses at Watton Green has brought design interest and innovation to the Castle Vale Estate in Birmingham without compromising sustainability or affordability.

The design for the scheme was based on the Egan principles of multi-functional, adaptable components being used to produce an individual living space. Cutting-edge building techniques enabled dwellings to be constructed in just 36 days, and any additional costs arising from the small-scale purchasing of timber cassettes were partially offset by faster construction times and the use of fewer trades. The homes use energy saving materials and achieve the maximum SAP rating.

Richard Clark, Chief Executive of Prime Focus said: “We are delighted to have been recognized for this award and hope that this project will encourage other social housing providers to look at incorporating more eco-friendly homes into their developments”

More information about this and other sustainable social-housing construction projects can be found on the Good Practice pages of this website.

Energy Efficiency Week

The Energy Saving Trust’s Energy Efficiency Week will run from Monday 14th to Sunday the 20th October 2002.

Now in its sixth year, this national event aims to show how much energy is unknowingly wasted in the home- and what to do about it. “By taking energy efficiency measures”, the EST estimate, “an average UK householder can save themselves a staggering £200 per year on their energy bills”.

Everyone can help to reduce the damage done to the environment by being more energy efficient, and national and regional events have been organised to get the message across.

Housing Associations and their residents interested in taking part can find out about events in their area by calling the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre on freephone 0800 524 024.

Foundations for the Future
Sustainable development could be the big idea that transforms the work of every UK housing association, says Jonathan Porritt, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, in the introduction to Foundations for the Future.

This Guide to Sustainability for Housing Associations explains how sustainable development is not a difficult idea. ‘It means doing right by people today without trashing people’s prospects for tomorrow. Housing is one of the key areas where this simple but powerful precept can make the biggest difference to people’s lives – strengthening communities, building local economies, improving the quality of their homes and surroundings, reducing energy bills, protecting the environment, and so on’.

Foundations for the future is available now from Baker Homes. It is supported by the National Housing Federation and the Housing Corporation and it sets the social, economic and environmental priorities for housing associations. Sustainable development offers many benefits, says the guide. It goes beyond bricks and mortar, bringing lasting environmental, economic and social improvements to tenants and to the wider communities where housing associations work.

Foundations for the Future is in two parts: Part One makes the case for sustainability. A guide for boards and senior staff, it advocates a strategic shift in thinking to ensure that planning for sustainability becomes an engine driving the association’s work. It argues that long-term investment for wider community benefit is already becoming the norm and not an optional extra. Sustainable Development, it adds, is as much about prevention as cure.

Part Two is a longer practical guide for all staff. It offers a step-by-step approach to the sustainable development of homes and communities. A comprehensive series of sustainability checklists is provided with 27 outstanding examples of good practice from urban and rural housing associations who have placed sustainability at the heart of their work.

Over 2400 chief executives of housing associations have received the Guide. To receive a copy contact info@bakerstimber.co.uk or telephone 020 8973 0429.

For more information and to download the guides please click here.

Community Renewable Energy
A wind turbine bought second-hand from Denmark is generating funds for a community group in the Dulas Valley in Wales.

The 75 kW Vestas turbine, part-owned by local shareholders, supplies electricity to the nearby Centre for Alternative Technology, and the excess to the national grid. The income generated is used to facilitate and promote energy efficiency in the local area. Funding from this project came from a number of sources including the Energy Saving Trust.

For housing associations interested in community energy, the EST’s Community Energy Programme can provide funding, information and support. For more information, see the EST website at www.est.co.uk.

A further capital grants scheme providing £10 million for household and community renewable energy schemes will be unveiled soon.

Consumers choose 'Carbon Neutral'
Seven out of ten British consumers believe that they can personally help to reduce global warming, and would be willing to pay a premium on flights, car rental and hotel rooms if this would allow their carbon dioxide emissions to be offset. These were amongst the findings of a recent MORI poll commissioned by Future Forests and Avis into the attitudes of the British public towards travel and environmental issues. The survey found that to help make their purchase ‘Carbon Neutral’, 70% of consumers would pay £7 extra on flights, 73% would pay £1 per week extra on car rental, and 78% would pay £1 extra per night on hotel accommodation- and these figures increased for business travellers.

As a result, car rentals can be ‘carbon neutral’. One company is funding this for a promotional period, after which it will be up to customers to choose whether they will pay the small premium for carbon neutral hire. This could equally apply to events, developments or activities in which housing associations are involved.

The carbon dioxide emissions can be calculated and be offset through planting trees and creating forests throughout the world. Although this won’t reduce emissions at source, it offsets emissions that cannot be reduced. The recent World Summit on Sustainable Development gave people the option to be carbon neutral, and other supporters of the scheme include the BRE, the Peabody Trust, and the RICS Foundation.

If you'd like to get involved or make a development Carbon Neutral visit www.futureforests.com

Growth of Baker Homes
Jo Koenig and Sarah Butler joined the Baker Homes team at the beginning of September.

Jo joins the team as Sustainability Officer and has spent the last two years working on a DTI project looking as sustainable re-use and refurbishment. Jo will be involved in the Green Street project and promoting Sustainable Development to housing associations.

Sarah joins the team as Sustainability Assistant and has been previously working at The Building Centre providing specialist advice on building products in the UK. She will be involved in the research and development of projects including the Tenants’ Green Survey, and provide support and advice to housing associations.

Both Jo and Sarah can be contacted on info@bakerstimber.co.uk or 020 8973 0429.

Free Route Planner
With the help of Baker Homes and others, many associations are confident about improving their environmental performance. But what about its overall sustainability?

Not sure how to make the first step to improving the sustainability of your organisation, or department? Confused by all the information, guidance, training, consultants and theories on sustainability? Unsure of how to translate all this into action? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, Routes to Sustainability could provide the solution.

It aims to help everyone working in housing to create their own solutions to sustainable action. It guides and highlights the resources, help and tools that are available to integrate sustainability as easily as possible, whatever your field of expertise. It will identify the tools or projects that can help, whether you work in housing maintenance, management, design & development or policy.

Routes will be published in Autumn with a supporting website, designed to meet the needs of the user, not the theorist. It’s free for all involved in housing association work.

To receive your free copy email your details to nicholasdoyle@practicalenvironment.co.uk or visit www.practicalenvironment.co.uk.

Free low energy lamps
Calling all housing assocations committed to energy efficiency! London Electricity are looking for organisations to join in their commitment to energy efficiency by distributing up to four free low energy lamps to new householders in receipt of benefits or tax credits. The lamps use up to 80% less electricity than standard light bulbs, but give out the same amount of light. They can last up to 10 times longer, and if left on in a room for 50 hours it would cost less than 7p (not that we encourage such action!).

To get involved in free lamps for your residents, contact Christina Pasket at London Electricity plc, Energy & Environment Team, FREEPOST LON20472, London WC1V 6BR.

Action Energy
Action Energy is providing new and improved advice on energy efficiency best practice. The Carbon Trust has had a re-think of the old Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme and Action Energy will now be the leading provider of free, impartial energy saving advice and information to business in the public sector. Information will be more accessible and advice will be tailored to meet company's individual needs. Free helpline website, energy surveys, design advice publications and events will all help associations in their overall quest to affordable warmth and decent homes. To find out more, contact 0800 585794 or visit www.actionenergy.org.uk, or www.housingenergy.org.uk.

Energize your community
Energize your community offers two-day residential courses for people who work in the community wishing to cut energy use, save money on bills and reduce harmful climate change gasses.

The courses are funded under the Community Action for Energy (CAfE) scheme. The Energy Conservation and Solar Centre (essc) are holding the training as part of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, bringing together energy specialists and community organisations.

There are eight free courses on offer across the UK, designed for people working in the community or voluntary sector, and community activists. The only cost is travel to the venues.

Each course covers: basic energy advice; working with the wider community; grants for energy action; using the Community Guide; planning for local energy action; and working with partners.

The residential courses are being held at the following venues:

3/4 September - Trafford Hall, Chester

3/4 September - Oban, Argyll

10/11 September - Loch Ness Lodge Hotel, Drumnadrochit

17/18 September - The Earth Centre, Doncaster

17/18 September - Dungannon, Northern Ireland

24/25 September - Henningford Grey House, Huntingdon

If you, or your tenants, want a piece of the action, contact Brian Whitington on 020 7922 1664 or brian.whitington@ecsc.org.uk

Or visit www.ecsc.org.uk

The wood.forgood campaign, in association with TRADA Technology, is offering one day CPD courses during August-November 2002. The great thing is they are free of charge and are held at your offices (and could be in collaboration with other associations).

The programme offers either all day training 10.00 - 4.00, or condensed training from 9.00 - 1.00. The principles of modern types of timber frame construction, together with a description of the advantages and disadvantages of using them, will be covered during the session. It will also explore methods of design production, construction, and best practice site issues. All wood.forgood ask is that you provide a suitable room and a minimum of 8 delegates.

For more information and to discuss availability of dates and times, contact Kasia White at TRADA Technology on 01494 569629 or e-mail kwhite@trada.co.uk.

For general information on the wood.forgood campaign, visit www.woodforgood.com.

Making Waste Work for You
Waste has high costs for business and society, and an effective waste management strategy can improve efficiency and benefit the environment. As with so many things these days, there is such a wealth of information that, often, it is difficult to know where to begin.

The Environment Council has produced an easy-to-use online series called Making Sense, to help organisations tackle the key waste issues.

A series of information topics cover the themes of producer responsibility; integrated waste management; statutory incentives; markets development; and infrastructure planning. Each topic includes background information, benchmarks for success, future issues, case studies and contact details to take you step by step towards developing an effective strategy.

The series can benefit business, local government, the waste management and recycling industries and the community and voluntary sector.

Making Sense is available free on www.the-environment-council.org.uk/makingsense and aims to take the stress out of waste management.

Sunday 23 June is International SunDay. A host of events are being held up and down the country putting the fun into sun. The events will focus on sustainable energy, with activities and demonstrations to help people learn more about where their energy comes from and where it could come from in the future. If you would like to get involved in an event or encourage your tenants to visit the events, log on to www.brookes.ac.uk/other/uk-ises/sunday.

Recycled Materials Go Online
If you have ever asked yourself how you can use more recycled and reclaimed products in your building but aren't sure where to find them, the solution is now at hand. Last week saw the launch of an easy and effective way to incorporate reclaimed materials and products made from recycled materials into house construction. www.ecoconstruction.org is a comprehensive on-line database to give you all the help you need.

The site contains guidance on issues ranging from planning, choosing and specifying materials and includes case studies. A search engine will show you which products are available, including information on their manufacturing processes along with their composition, for suppliers.

The site has been developed by Faber Maunsell's new Sustainable Development Group and Ecological Development in collaboration with housing associations, the recycling industry, architects and other experts.

To find out what products are available and how you may be able to use them in the future, log on to www.ecoconstruction.org today. If you have comments for improvement or products to add, the website will let you do this.

A new and exciting internet based tool to help associations build sustainable homes is now proving that sustainability works! The interactive package will help you develop organisation wide, and site specific, policies and targets for sustainable construction. It also brings together, for the first time, EcoHomes, HQIs and the Sustainability Toolkit. It can show how well schemes perform against EcoHomes and provide information for HQI returns and compliance with the Sustainability Toolkit.

It contains a comprehensive database of information on sustainable construction, providing help on building sustainable homes for associations with a little, or a lot of, experience.

It is available free of charge to housing associations and any other housing practitioner via this website or directly on www.sustainabilityworks.org.uk

Baker Homes 3
Over the last two years, Baker Homes has spread the word about sustainable development and environmental issues to over 800 housing associations and organisations in the UK.

Over the next three years, with the support of the Housing Corporation, we will be working to ensure even more housing associations embrace a sustainable way forward for their homes, communities and as a business. Focussing on the environmental, social and economic triple bottom line, activities will include:

Sustainable Development - The Government is promoting sustainable development nationally and the Housing Corporation want 70% of associations to adopt a strategy by 2004.

One priority is to help them integrate sustainable development as a core principle.

Green Street - There is a huge potential for environmental improvement of existing homes, especially as they outstrip the number of new homes to be built over the next 15 years.

Another priority is to provide advice and information on environmental refurbishment, complementing our work on new homes.

A web-based tool is being developed to help do this and will be launched early next year.

The newsletter and an expanding website will continue to bring you information on other sustainability projects, good practice and sustainable solutions through EcoDatabase and case studies.

For more detailed information on the programme, contact Jenny Wain on 020 8973 0429 or info@bakerstimber.co.uk.

New Energy House for West Kent

West Kent Housing Association (WKHA) last week unveiled it's prototype 'energy house' signalling a new direction in its development programme. The aim is to tackle the rising energy and water cost for its residents.

The single three bedroom house reflects the needs of todays residents, providing adaptable interiors, energy efficiency and following an innovative construction process. The flexibility to modify the design to answer the needs of residents was seen as vital. This flexibility was tested during construction when a resident with disabilities was allocated for the home, necessitating for the house to be wheelchair accessible. The house was constructed out of a light gauge steel frame system which enabled the design to be changed easily to accommodate a lift, a wheelchair accessible shower room and wheelchair friendly front and rear garden access. Very high levels of insulation are provided and combined with an efficient gas fire condensing boiler and solar thermal panels for hot water, a highly energy efficient house has resulted.

WKHA recognise the need to provide affordable water to its residents as well as affordable warmth. Water efficient fittings have been incorporated into the house through spray taps for wash basins and a thermostatically controlled low flow shower. Not surprisingly, the energy house has achieved an EcoHomes award.

Barbara Thorndick, Chief Executive of WKHA said "Energy efficiency signals affordable bills for tenants. We expect the annual heating and hot water bill for this property to be around £160. The principles behind the energy house will set the standard for our future developments as we endeavour to reduce the daily cost of living for all our residents." For more information contact Barbara Thorndick on 01732 749 400 or barbara.thorndick@wkha.org.uk

If your association is involved in a similar project, why not e-mail Baker Homes with your details and put your scheme in the spotlight.
£500million Energy Give Away
The Energy Efficiency Commitment is the hot new thing for improving energy efficiency and encouraging energy conservation.

An estimated £500million is being made available for energy efficiency and conservation and now is the time for housing associations to get a piece of the action. Energy Companies are obliged to help people use their energy more efficiently in order to help reduce CO2 levels in the UK, to the tune of £500million. The Housing Corporation and the Energy Saving Trust are working together with ESD and Nottingham Energy Partnership to help identify how this money can be unlocked for housing associations to improve the energy efficiency of their stock.

A pilot project, working with housing associations in the Midlands and South West, is exploring the opportunities that may be available. Solutions to unlocking the EEC will be shared at regional workshops being held throughout March to give as many housing associations as possible the opportunity to devise programmes in association with energy companies.

For more information on the project and workshops, visit www.esd.co.uk/eec

Community Energy
The Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, launched a £50 million Community Energy programme to support the refurbishment of existing, and the installation of new, Community Heating schemes last week.

Mr Meacher echoed the Deputy Prime Minister's comments on launching the scheme in April 2001, emphasising that these schemes "will provide carbon savings; help to alleviate fuel poverty among householders, and reduce fuel costs for hospitals, universities and other community buildings."

The Energy Saving Trust has money available to help develop these schemes. Initial bidding dates are close - Development bids 22nd February and Captial bids 8th March - but further bidding rounds will be held later this year.

For more information visit www.est.org.uk/communityenergy.

Training for Energy Savings





If you've been keeping up with the latest news on the website, you'll be aware that the Housing Corporation requires 70% of Housing Associations to have Affordable Warmth Strategies by 2004.

Nottingham Community Housing Association's Energy Services project is offering a unique one day training course looking at Energy Services and how to deliver affordable warmth strategies.

Information and advice will be given on the following issues:

Advice on securing external funding

Hints and Tips on devising your Affordable Warmth Strategy

A comprehensive guide to are Energy Services

Why RSLs need to get involved in Energy Services

The Housing Corporation's requirements

Examples of successful housing association initiatives

Advice on saving money for you and your tenants.

The event will be held at Jury's Hotel, Birmingham, 10-15.30. Cost - £65 Plus Vat, lunch included; plus a free copy of the Directory of Energy Services.

To book a place please email Andrea Griffiths – James on andreag@ncha.org.uk, or send your details and a cheque for £65 +VAT (payable to NCHA LTD) to Andrea Griffiths – James, Energy Services, C/O NCHA, 24/14 Pelham Road, Sherwood Rise, Nottingham, NG5 1AJ.

The Energy Services for RSLs Project is co-funded by the Housing Corporation and the Energy Savings Trust.
Help For Affordable Warmth
One of the barriers to tackling fuel poverty and enabling affordable warmth lies with identifying vulnerable households. London Electricity Group has carried out research to help overcome this barrier.

The research forms part of Ofgem's Social Action Plan. During the next few years, housing associations will need to develop affordable warmth strategies that seek to ensure that residents and tenants have access to affordable warmth. It is encouraging to see that in addition to projects being supported by the Housing Corporation, energy suppliers themselves are carrying out research into means of achieving these goals. London Electricity's project focussed on two areas: a London borough; and a town and the surrounding area in Cornwall.

The findings of the research have just been published in 'Identifying and Helping Vulnerable Customers - A Blueprint for Partnership'. The project forged partnerships to provide efficient and cost effective opportunities for people vulnerable to cold. One of the big problems in tackling fuel poverty is often knowing where those vulnerable households are. By forming partnerships with health authorties, local authorities, energy networks, national charities and meter suppliers this information can be found. These organisations come into contact with a range of households, those returning from hospital and those in need of support. Where households were in identified as in apparent fuel poverty, information on the assistance available was given.

A key conclusion drawn from the research is that partnerships are critical to the success of identifying and providing solutions for vulnerable households. Of all the organisations involved meter operatives are well placed for identifying vulnerable households. A difficult barrier to ensuring affordable warmth is linked to the Data Protection Act; this prevents household information being transferred between organisations that can help alleviate fuel poverty. It is an issue that needs further consideration.

Although housing associations weren't involved in this project, they are very well placed to identify vulnerable households. The research and blueprint for partnership will also be helpful for housing associations developing their own affordable warmth strategy in the future. Copies of the report are available on

www.ofgem.gov.uk, or for more detailed information on the research and findings contact Mark Parnell, Project Manager at London Electricity on 020 7331 3232 or e-mail mark parnell@londonelec.co.uk.

Power to the People
The Energy Savings Trust has set up an Energy Services project, funded by the Government and Transco, to work with private and social housing providers, energy suppliers and others to help cut fuel poverty and tackle climate change.

Energy Services schemes aim to move Energy Suppliers away from selling units of energy (kilowatt hours) towards selling the energy services to provide heat, light and power as a total package to residents. The EST's project aims to increase demand from customers for this service. It should enable customers to benefit from a combination of increased comfort, warmer homes and lower bills.

Nottingham Community Housing Association has developed an Energy Services project to encourage housing associations to become involved. The project is jointly funded by the Housing Corporation and EST. Training courses are being held in the New Year. These provide comprehensive information on Energy Services, demonstrate how you can adopt and affordable warmth strategy and highlights some of the work already achieved by housing associations.

Earlier this year, the Housing Corporation set a corporate target for 70% of housing associations to have an Affordable Warmth Strategy adopted by 2004. NCHA Energy Service project and training courses could help your association work towards this target. For more information on the training programme contact Andrea Griffiths James, tel 0115 910 4236 or email andrea.griffithsjames@ncha.org.uk

Rio or Bust?
Sustainability in housing is fast becoming a big issue to HAs and it is time to look at it in its widest sense: society, economy, environment. By working in a way that nurtures society, bolsters a stable economy and repsects the environment, organisations can support a sustainable future. The Housing Corportion's draft Regulatory Code, due to be published next April, asks for HAs to have a sustainable developoment policy and action plan in place by 2004. Help will be needed to make this a reality.

Baker Homes is working with the National Housing Federation to provide this help and define sustainable development for HAs. In essence it means ensuring that the homes and environments we are working with today are sustained for future generations, but not at the expense of damaging the environment further. It means considering how you sustain yourselves as a business, how you meet the needs of your residents, and how you support the environment an services around them. Environmental protection, use of resources, social progress, economic growth and employment all play a part.

A guide to help develop a sustainable future will be available next Spring. For more information contact Jenny Wain at Baker Homes.

Action for the Environment
Want to improve environmenal performance, but aren't sure where to start? Baker Homes' "Developing an Environmental Policy and Action Plan - a guide for housing associations" could be the answer.

The guide includes a step by step approach to the process, and highlights barriers and solutions to success. It is based on the experience of seminars held by Baker Homes in 2000/2001 in which over 30 housing associations were involved.

For a free copy of the guide contact Baker Homes.

A Strategy for Affordable Warmth
The "Health and Warmth for Housing Associations" project is gathering support from fuel poverty experts. Experts from diverse backgrounds including the Warm Homes Parliamentary Group and Powergen are working together to ensure HA residents in Nottinghamshire have access to truly affordable warmth.

Each winter around 19% more deaths occur in Nottingham than in summer. The excess winter deaths are often linked to cold related illnesses. The poor and elderly are susceptable if they cannot heat their homes to healthy and affordable temperatures. The Health and Warmth project aims to reduce this high winter mortality rate and is developing partnerships between HAs, the health sector and voluntary groups. It will also assist HAs in contributing to local authority obligations under the Home Energy Conservation Act and Local Agenda 21, not to mention meeting aims of Government's draft UK Fuel Poverty Strategy.

Six Nottingham associations are developing affordable warmth strategies and energy advice training through the programme. A good practice guide and directory will be published next year, based on the experience of the project, to assist HAs develop their own affordable warmth strategy.

For more information contact Rob Howard at National Energy Action on 0115 915 0800 or nottingham@nea.org.uk.

Going the Greenfield Way
East Dorset Housing Association have partnered with contractors Greenfield Way and three local authorities to make environment friendly, 100% Egan compliant homes a reality across the county of Dorset. Six low energy homes were completed this summer in Winterborne Kingston. By the end of the year 16 homes will be built across the county.

The houses are constructed from large, sustainably sourced timber panels complete with triple glazed, factory fitted windows.

The specifications exceed Scheme Development Standards and high levels of insulation, airtight construction and a whole house mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system should help to save up to 70% on space heating costs. The homes aren't just energy efficient; water efficiency is built in too. Low flush WCs, two shower rooms, aerated taps and water butts will reduce water consumption. Minimising toxins, the use of natural materials and the ventilation system creates a healthy, dust free living environment. The houses are wheelchair accessible and built to Lifetime Homes standards with a ground floor shower and a first floor home working area.

The factory built panel system is waste free, efficient and fast. Each house takes one week to construct from concrete slab to roof tiles, and can be fitted out ready for occupation in three weeks. For more information on the schemes contact either Paul Read (East Dorset Housing Association) on 02402 864200, or Greenfield Way on 02483 819444.

Generating Solar Homes
Creating networks and supporting renewable energy is the aim of Nottingham Energy Partnership's project - Generating Solar Homes. NEP will be working with housing associations in the UK to help make photovoltaic technology (creating electricity from daylight)a reality for housing associations, bringing resident and environmental benefits.

The launch of the Generating Solar Homes project was held at Solar Century's offices in London on 11 December and was very well attended. Many of the housing associations wanting to join the network are interested in including PVs in new and existing development. Some have already received funding from the Department of Trade and Industry under its Domestic PV Field Trials.

In fact, both rounds of the DTI trials have been dominated by housing associations who will be sharing experiences and solutions to make PV a reality. Over 30 projects, resulting in more than 500 hundred PV roofs, have benefited from the £5.4million allocated to date. Building on the success of the programme the DTI will be running a £20million PV subsidy programme next year.

This is good news for housing associations and PV. Generating Solar Homes will specifically be looking at barriers and solutions to making PV a real choice for housing associations, building on the success and experience brought to light by housing practitioners working with PV. It will also provide the opportunity to lobby policy makers and develop a strategic view.

If you would like to become involved in Generating Solar Homes, the housing association PV network, contact Nicholas Doyle, Nottingham Energy Partnership, 0115 8758828 or email nicholasdoyle@nottenergy.com

1NTEGER Goes Retro
The 1NTEGER group, who is well known for its Intelligent and Green solutions for housing, is to carry out a refurbishment project on a tower block in Westminster, London. The project is set to start early next year and aims to prove that the environmental and technological principles applied to its new housing projects can be equally applied to renovation work.

Features included could reflect those designed in Maidenhead and District Housing Association's scheme, completed in September. 19 apartments and 8 houses have distinctive roofs, due to an alpine turf covering (to absorb CO2 and rainwater) and photovoltaic and solar panels (for generating electricity and hot water). Running costs and environmental savings for residents are available due to passive stack ventilation, grey water recycling, sunpipes (bringing daylight to areas with no windows, and large solar stores.

Lessons learned from the refurbishment project will be valuable to all in the housing sector, and especially housing associations committed to ensuring that the environmental impact of existing homes is as important as that of new homes. To date greater emphasis has been placed on building new homes that are environment friendly and now is time for 'green' refurbishment to be taken seriously. (See also Victorian Yorkshire's Going Green in the archive).

Switch on to Efficient Lighting

£6000 could be available to your business for installing energy efficient lighting. The Energy Saving Trust's Lightswitch Programme offers rebates of up to £6000 for small to medium sized enterprises (SME)for the following:

1 Replacing old inefficient lighting with efficient light fittings, on a like for like basis - up to £3000.

2 Installing energy efficient lighting recommended following a survey - up to £3000.

3 Installing lighting controls such as occupancy or daylight sensors - up to £3000.

Rebates can be applied for 1 and 2, or 2 and 3 and will cover up to half of the lighting equipment costs. Funds are available now!

For further information and an application for visit www.lightswitch.co.uk or phone the Energy Saving Trust helpline 08705 133 538.
Affordable Water

If you are thinking of how your association can help residents conserve water and save costs, the Affordable Water Good Practice Guides could help. A Briefing Guide provides advice to policy makers, and an Action Guide provides practical advice to front line staff.

These guides are now available free of charge, from Baker Homes. To find out more about the guides click on the Affordable Water button on the website's left hand toolbar, or to order a copy email info@bakerstimber.co.uk.
Greenpeace Go for Offshore Wind
More news on Renewable energy...

In a bid to avoid catastrophic climate change Greenpeace has entered into partnership with npower to offer cleaner, greener electricity in the UK. The project, known as JUICE, seeks to ensure that a new way of generating truly climate friendly electricity really does happen, through offshore windpower. JUICE provides the opportunity for electricity users to support the development of an offshore windfarm and buy wind generated electricity. Offshore wind farms could produce enough energy to supply the UK's electricity needs 3 times over, whilst supporting the economy through new job creation. What could be unique about JUICE is that signing up for greener electricity won’t cost anymore than npower’s existing tariffs!

To find out more visit www.greenpeace.org.uk

Cornwall Leads in Sustainable Energy
Five housing associations in Cornwall are involved in a groundbreaking sub-regional partnership to tackle climate change and actively integrate sustainable energy into all sectors.

Towards Well Being in a Sustainable and Energy Future is the initial document of a new partnership of over 40 organisations in Cornwall that will help achieve the local Government target of reducing carbon emissions by 20% on 1990 levels by 2025.

Cornwall Rural HA, Devon & Cornwall HA, Penwith HA, Restormel Housing Trust and Kerrier Homes Trust have all signed up to the partnership along with Cornwall County Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and all six district councils, health organisaions, private companies and community organisations. The partnership includes the three biggest employers in Cornwall.

The partnership will integrate two major elements of sustainable energy: renewable energy and energy efficiency, across public, private, health and community sectors. It will help create the foundation for sustainable prosperity and well being by tackling fuel poverty, improving business competitiveness, creating jobs and training opportunities and expanding the market for environmentally friendly goods.

Sir Crispin Tickell, Chairman of the Government Panel on Sustainable Development said "This Action Plan takes the lead in setting up a forum that combines the resources, skills and talents of people and organistations in a unique way. It is vital to preserving the region's natural environment and distinctive heritage whilst contributing to the future health, well-being and prosperity of all who live here"

The initiative is supported by the Energy Saving Trust, Cornwall Local Authority Support Programme and the Cornwall Energy Efficiency Advice Centre in Falmouth.

Raising Energy Standards
York Housing Association is developing 18 timber-framed houses to be built at St. Nicholas Court, York. The scheme forms part of a trial of energy performance standards for 2005. The St. Nicholas Court Field Trial was set up in 1999, with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Housing Corporation and from the DETR under the Partners in Innovation Programme, and aims to comprehensively evaluate the impact of an enhanced energy performance standard. The energy performance standard developed is similar to the 1995 Swedish regulations. It could reduce space heating and associated CO2 emissions in new UK dwellings by 80% compared with those built to current standards. The enhanced energy standards could also guarantee affordable warmth and effectively eliminate fuel poverty in new housing.

Such a standard could in principle form the basis for a revision to the UK Building Regulations in or after 2005, but it is recognised that its implementation would face a number of barriers. The construction industry would need to be convinced that the standard was workable, that costs were proportionate to the objectives and that the risk of building failures and defects was acceptable. Equally, Government would need to be satisfied that health, safety and comfort would not be compromised. The trial sets out to address these issues.

For more information and technical details, log onto www.lmu.ac.uk/hen/benv/cebe/st_nicks.htm

Or find out more about the development at St. Nicholas Court on the EcoDatabase

Wind Power!

The world's largest offshore wind farm began producing electricity in May. Middelgrunden wind farm,Copenhagen Harbour, consists of 20 70m high machines with rotor dimensions of 83m. The 40Mw output will supply 3% of Copenhagen's electricity.In contrast to this the UK is only just beginning to develop its offshore wind farms.

Last December the UK's first offshore wind farm was completed. The Blyth Offshore Wind Farm, may not be as large as Middelgrunden, but consists of high power wind turbines - 2Mw. Together they can power 3,000 average households. The farm is located 1km off the coast of Blyth, Northumberland, close to the existing Blyth Harbour wind farm.

In addition to this, National Wind Power is proposing to develop a wind farm off the North Wales coast. The proposed project, North Hoyle Offshore Wind Farm, aims to install 30 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of between 60-90MW, some 6km off the coast between Prestatyn and Rhyl. Consents are being sought to construct and operate the offshore wind farm by 2003.
EcoDatabase goes Online

EcoDatabase is now live on this website. Search the database to see over 160 examples of environment friendly homes from across the UK and Europe.

Compiled in conjunction with ECD Energy and Environment Ltd.

This provides a comprehensive database of experience involving houses, flats and bungalows designed and developed since the mid 1990's to have a reduced environmental impact.

To search EcoDatabase now, click on the EcoDatabase button on the tool bar
Changes Online
Spot the changes on the Baker Homes website!

Search the EcoDatabase to find out about over 160 environmentally friendly housing schemes.

Share the experience of 37 RSLs and local authorities with the new Good Practice. page.

Watch this space for the latest news on sustainability.

Victorian Yorkshire's Going Green
Sustainable development doesn't just mean new build, and it shouldn't if significant reductions in household related CO2 emissions are to be made. Two South Yorkshire housing associations are tackling this issue now, through a programme of more sustainable refurbishment. Going beyond the more usual insulation and double glazing programmes, they have considered environmental and health issues when selecting materials and agreeing specifications.

For more information see Newsletter 9 on the website.

Housing Corporation Sets Ambitious Targets
The Housing Corporation recently published targets for the next 3 years in its Corporate Strategy. The aim is for RSLs to provide more sustainable communities through a variety of ways.

Several targets directly reflect its committment to providing more sustainable homes and require positive action from the RSL sector. How will you match up to the targets set?

Brownfield land - 60% of schemes to be built on previously used land.

Sustainable Development Strategy and Action Plan - 70% of RSLs to adopt by 2004.

Affordable Warmth Strategy - 70% of RSLs to adopt by 2004

Egan - all RSLs to be compliant by 2003/4

The Housing Corporation will also be doing its bit by setting up and environmental management system by 2003 (ISO 14001).

Forest Campaign Success
The recent issue of Greenpeace Business News confirmed that the government of British Columbia had agreed to preserve one of the last areas of virgin forest on the west coast of North America. 600,000 hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest are scheduled for permanent protection. Logging has been suspended in a further 536,000 hectares until environmental forestry standards can be agreed. The decision is the result of an 8 year campaign and follows on from the decision to create an International Biosphere Reserve at Clayoquot Sound.

Merseyside Green Report Launched
At the Housing Conference in Harrogate the Merseyside Green Housing Alliance launched their report: Green housing for the future. The report draws on the development experience of recent housing projects undertaken by alliance members; CDS Housing Association, Liverpool Housing Action Trust and Riverside Housing Association. The Alliance brings together the housing organisations with partner contractors and consultants, local authorities and universities in Merseyside. All have a common agenda promoting sustainable development in the area.

Further information is available from their web site www.mgha.co.uk

UK in Recycling Relegation Zone
A recent report from the European Commission puts the UK at the bottom of recycling league tables. Whilst Switzerland can recycle 95% of glass containers the UK can only achieve 25%. The story is similar for steel cans - Germany recycles 80% compared with 30% in the UK. Overall Austria, Germany and Switzerland recycle over 50% of their municipal waste compared with just 11% in the UK (a modest increase on 9% in 1999).