Go to Forum Home Building Design Definition of an Eco-House?

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    • #30451
      Nick Grant
      Participant

      What does 'eco-house' mean??

      The AECB Energy Standards are a great move towards putting some numbers on real performance yet the media and many professionals continue to define 'eco' in terms of materials and technologies.

      Anyone got any ideas for eco-house benchmarks in terms of say C02 per bed space year? kW.h/m2 is useful but many so-called eco-houses are huge so the resource use (ie fuel) is almost certainly higher than a more modest non-ecohouse.

      If I purchased an 'eco-car' with hemp fibre upholsery and recycled body panels but it only did 20 mpg I think I'd have some case with Trading Standards.

      My suggestion is there are eco-houses out there with the fuel efficiency of an SUV however we are dazzled by the eco-gizmos and funky materials which scream 'eco'.

      Angry reactions and level headed suggestions welcome.

    • #32722
      Anonymous

      Very good question, what I would say is that just because a house is big doesn't mean it should be looked down upon, a well designed big house is much better than a poorly designed big house, and if the well designed big house gets plenty of media exposure then it can help change peoples perceptions.

    • #32723

      I think perhaps the AECB Board or equiv. should suggest to Grand Designs that they focus on house sizes that 95% of the population live in or reasonably aspire to!

      I think only 20% of the UK popn. live in a detached house & the average of those is about 100 m2, so a detached with a floor area of 120 m2 would be generous. The last three houses on GD must have exceeded 350 m2.

      A case I know well is a 290 m2 house that is extremely energy-efficient by UK standards but still uses 14,000 kWh/yr of gas & 2,900 kWh of elec. This is probably only 25% less CO2 than an average UK house emits. I would agree that eco houses which aren't highly energy-efficient will be using more energy than a normal UK house (a 80 m2 semi.).

    • #32724
      Anonymous

      I think perhaps the AECB Board or equiv. should suggest to Grand Designs that they focus on house sizes that 95% of the population live in or reasonably aspire to!

      There's definitely a case for that, but people watching programmes like that are doing it for inspiration and Channel 4 are more than likely taking that on board. One of the early series had an excellent programme on a community self build programme in the midlands somewhere, but unfortunately nothing since.

      I might start a thread at Downsizer about this to see what Joe punter thinks.

    • #32725
      Anonymous

      This is the thread if anyone wants to see what people think:

      http://forum.downsizer.net/viewtopic.php?p=114408#114408

    • #32726
      Anonymous

      And another thing, has anybody seen any small houses/fousing schemes that would inspire potential self builders? If there are any that C4 have missed maybe we should let them know so they know where to look in future?

    • #32727

      I'm a little pessimistic re the possibility of making more eco-products in the UK in the short term. See my posting re. imported stone. The transport energy of say timber windows from Germany or Scandinavia is less than the energy they save in use vs an average UK window (the timber is Scandinavian anyway).

      If companies abroad are mass-producing eco- building products, experience in other fields suggests that a late entrant to the market such as the UK, will find it hard to compete or to catch up. I can't see that we can give preference to UK-made products – & tell people that they should use these in preference to imports – until we have caught up.

    • #32728
      Nick Grant
      Participant

      Glad this got a reaction. I didn't mention Grand Designs but was posted day after!

      Tahir – perhaps, given the seriousness of climate change, Gov' should set occupancy levels – we would need to take in a lodger or two! However I'm not even letting myself think that, just flagging up that ultimately it is resource use per person that matters rather than resource use per M2 of house.

      This wasnt intended as a rant against people who can afford bigger houses than me, only that surface area to useful space needs to be given more consideration. At present you can improve on-paper efficiency (kW.h/m2/year) by making a house big and putting 1 or 2 people in it!

      Our own house feels big for its size but we missed the trick of optimising useful space to external heat-losing/gaining surface area.

      The local vs imported discussion is worthy of its own thread and ties in with on-site vs off-site construction etc. I like the idea of local skills and materials but as David has clearly demonstrated it's not a big deal in terms of energy.

    • #32729
      Anonymous

      it is resource use per person that matters rather than resource use per M2 of house.

      Agree, has anyone seen this?

      http://tinyurl.com/bqg88

    • #32730
      Nick Grant
      Participant
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