EcoHomes


EcoHomes

EcoHomes is an environmental rating scheme for homes in the United Kingdom. It is the domestic version of the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method BREEAM, which can also be applied to a variety of non-residential buildings. It was replaced by the Code for Sustainable Homes in April 2007.

EcoHomes can be applied to new private and social housing schemes, as well as in the case of major refurbishment. Special assessments can be made of communal housing such as student halls of residence and care homes.EcoHomes was first developed and used commercially in 2000, EcoHomes Assessments fall under one of four versions, Pre-2002, 2003, 2005 or the current version 2006.

The rating system has gone through four major revisions, the latest being "EcoHomes 2006". As a consequence, it is not possible to compare homes built under one revision of the standard with homes built under another.

EcoHomes 2006

In particular, the 2006 version of EcoHomes increases the standards for energy efficiency, following the 2006 revisions energy efficiency requirements of the Building Regulations. It also incorporates a number of other changes.

Under the scheme, credits are first given for standards reached in the following areas:

*Energy
**Ene 1 - Dwelling Emission Rate
**Ene 2 - Building fabric
**Ene 3 - Drying space
**Ene 4 - Ecolabelled goods
**Ene 5 - Internal lighting
**Ene 6 - External lighting

*Transport
**Tra 1 - Public transport
**Tra 2 - Cycle storage
**Tra 3 - Local amenities
**Tra 4 - Home office

*Pollution
**Pol 1 - Insulant GWP
**Pol 2 - NOx emissions
**Pol 3 - Reduction of surface runoff
**Pol 4 - Renewable and low emission energy source
**Pol 5 - Flood risk

*Materials
**Mat 1 - Environmental impact of materials
**Mat 2 - Responsible sourcing of materials: basic building elements
**Mat 3 - Responsible sourcing of materials: finishing elements
**Mat 4 - Recycling facilities

*Water
**Wat 1 - Internal potable water use
**Wat 2 - External potable water use

*Land Use and Ecology
**Eco 1 - Ecological value of site
**Eco 2 - Ecological enhancement
**Eco 3 - Protection of ecological features
**Eco 4 - Change of ecological value of site
**Eco 5 - Building Footprint

*Health and Wellbeing
**Hea 1 - Daylighting
**Hea 2 - Sound insulation
**Hea 3 - Private space

*Management
**Man 1 - Home user guide
**Man 2 - Considerate constructors
**Man 3 - Construction site impacts
**Man 4 - Security

A weighting system is then used to designate the home as "Pass, Good, Very Good, or Excellent".

All homes funded by the Housing Corporation or by English Partnerships are required to meet the 2006 "Very Good" standard. Previously a "Good" designation sufficed. It is expected that this requirement will be replaced by compliance with the Government's proposed Code for Sustainable Homes, currently being finalised, which is expected to be 'closely aligned' to EcoHomes [http://www.rmd.odpm.gov.uk/project.asp?intProjectID=12232] .

Criticisms

EcoHomes has been criticised by some for getting the balance wrong between the various elements, and for valuing low embodied energy over the whole life performance of the building.

Previous versions were criticised for allowing illogical trading-off between areas of the standards, so that, for example, homes with poor energy efficiency standards could still receive a high designation.

ee also

* Energy efficiency in British housing
* Association for Environment Conscious Building
* Good Homes Alliance
* Sustainable development
* Sustainable design
* Green building
* Environmental design

Compare to

*LEED in the United States and Canada

External links

* [http://www.breeam.org/ecohomes.html EcoHomes]
* [http://www.rockenergy.co.uk/sites/construction/adCON_aa-low_carbon.php] Highlands
* [http://www.gcmonitoring.com/GCSolar.html Solar and Wind Energy Resources]

In the media

*Spring 2006, "Green Building Press", [http://www.buildingforafuture.co.uk/spring06/CSB.pdf Discontent over the Code for Sustainable Development - pdf] Recent changes to BREEAM 2008 (video), [http://www.gleeds.tv/index.cfm?video=174 A technical presentation on implications for the built environment]


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