- Association for Environment Conscious Building
The Association for Environment Conscious Building (AECB) is the leading network for
sustainable buildingprofessionals in the United Kingdom. Membership of the AECB includes local authorities, housing associations, builders, architects, designers, consultants and manufacturers. Members share a 'broad green vision', reflected in their approaches to the design of buildings and their environment.
The Association was Founded in
1989" to increase awareness within the construction industry of the need to respect, protect, preserve and enhance the environment".
While the AECB recognises that all aspects of
sustainabilityare important, it believes that climate changethreatens to overwhelm its members' achievements in other areas. It is therefore currently focusing on trying to help reduce carbon emissionsrelated to domestic and non-domestic buildings in the UK (around 50% of UK COssub|2 emissions - excluding flying - relate to buildings). The Association believes that the Government's target of a 60% reduction in COssub|2 emissions by 2050is too little, too late, and that a reduction of at least 85% is required to meet the challenges of climate change.
To promote low-carbon building, the Association has developed two advanced energy standards and adopted a third, in order to provide three steps to low energy and low carbon buildings achievable by the UK over the next 40 years.These standards are largely based on the methodology and principles underlying the German Passivhaus movement, developed by the Passivhaus Institut, and are also informed by American, Canadian, Scandinavian and European energy standards and various successful energy efficient building programmes. The standards themselves lie at the centre of a developing education and training programme which the AECB has called the 'Carbon Literate Design and Construction Programme' (CLP).
The 'Step One' standard (Silver) is close to the Canadian
R-2000, the German Low Energy House (" Niedrigenergiehaus"), and the Swiss MINERGIEStandard. The AECB has aimed this Standard at those wishing to create high-performance buildings using widely available technology at little or no extra cost. It estimates that, what is states is a low-risk option, will reduce overall CO₂ emissions by 70% compared to the UK average for buildings of each type - a result it feels is highly significant given the relative ease and low cost with which this standard could be met.
Step Two, the Passivhaus Standard takes full advantage of existing energy-efficient technology without entailing the perceived risk associated with radical innovation. A considerable improvement on normal UK building practices, the AECB estimates that the Passivhaus standard would reduce overall CO₂ emissions by approximately 80% compared to the UK average for buildings of each type.
The AECB estimates that Step Three, the Gold Standard, would reduce overall CO₂ emissions by 95% compared to the UK average for buildings of each type, since this standard is almost identical to the Passivhaus Standard in terms of thermal efficiency but sets even lower limits on CO₂ emissions and overall primary energy use. As well as a requirement for energy-efficient electrical appliances, this standard demands a greater emphasis on electricity-producing renewables to offset power used for lighting, appliances and ventilation.
The AECB, believing that rigorous alternative approaches based on successful overseas' experience for sustainable design and construction have a complementary place alongside UK government initiatives, has been lobbying for the Government's
Code for Sustainable Homesto be aligned with its CLP, or at least for the CLP (despite its methodological and base-line measuring differences) to be treated as an alternative official route for effectively designing and delivering low energy and low carbon buildings. The AECB has taken the stance of inviting the design and construction industry to judge for itself, based on actual real world performance of the resulting buildings, which low carbon design codes and programmes best deliver genuinely low energy and low carbon performance cost effectively.
Energy efficiency in British housing
Good Homes Alliance
Code for Sustainable Homes
National House Building Council
* [http://www.aecb.net/ AECB website]
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