Building sustainable housing

Buildings last a long time. Many of us live in houses built well over 100 years ago. Many public buildings – eg schools, libraries, railway stations – have also existed for many decades.

When we build today we are building for the future; so we need to think about the future we are building for.

The future is always uncertain but one of the least uncertain things is this: Our climate, nationally and globally, will be warmer. Climate change is already causing floods, droughts and heatwaves. To avoid catastrophic change we must stop using fossil fuels and to make this tolerable we must use energy much more efficiently.

In the case of buildings that means adopting much higher standards for energy efficiency and insisting that new buildings comply with them. The second point is critical. Many studies have shown that most buildings – even those claiming ‘green’ credentials – perform less well in comfort and energy efficiency than expected. This is due both poor design and poor workmanship.

The solution is to build according to Passivhaus principles since, uniquely, passivhaus defines a design process, standards and an inspection regime. The key principles of Passivhaus are:

The results are impressive:

Enfield Green Party policy, adopted in 2012, is to

In addition

Energy is not the only resource that is likely to become scarce. New housing should also conserve water by capturing rainwater and reusing grey water.