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An environmental, economical and social review of the Code for Sustainable Homes

Part 2 Dissertation 2008
Alexandra Briars
De Montfort University, UK
This piece of research investigates the ability to provide a sustainable housing development by appraisals of varying levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

The Code for Sustainable Homes was introduced by the Government in 2006, and is intended as a guide to be used by industry to produce improved energy efficient and environmental aware homes. Although the environmental benefits of attainment of the Code and reaching higher levels are fairly apparent, the wider picture, including social and economical implications requires further thought. To aspire towards sustainable development a balance between economic progress and conservation of assets (both the environment and social and cultural systems) and development that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations (as stated in the Bruntland report of 1987) needs to be sought. Although it is a goal which requires a degree of compromise, all three impacts (environmental, economical and social) need to be considered, and not just neglected due to the sight of short term benefits.

In order to predict the success and feasibility of different Code levels, the environmental, social and economic benefits and shortfalls were examined. The analysis expanded upon a method of achieving the Code levels specified in the Cyril Sweett report (a report produced to assess the capital costs of different level compliance) and applied it to a specific house design and site, investigating the consequences of a real life situation. By the use of computer simulation software programmes and other analytical techniques, including research of related literature, the different Code levels were evaluated against each other and a separate baseline model (Building Regulations compliant) in terms of their sustainability, examining the varying influences to the occupant, house builder and community over the lifetime of the dwellings.

Alexandra Briars

The dissertation is very well argued and structured. The high standard of theoretical, computer simulation and analytical skills that are required to achieve the proposed aim makes the work of high quality. It is very welcome and timely as it helps without doubt to promote energy savings and contribute to quality of life through the investigation of social, economical and environmental sustainability as applied to a real site and house design. The dissertation involves a significant work load and diverse techniques defending the robustness and rigour of the proposed research methodology; the work plan is well thought out. The outcomes of the work would contribute to knowledge in the area of sustainable homes. I would rate the research quality very high

Dr Ahmad Taki
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