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sponsored by the Carbon Trust in Wales

Sustainable Wales Buildings with vision – Our low carbon future

Foreword The move to a low carbon, truly sustainable Wales will require action in almost all areas of our lives. Every part of Welsh society will have to play its part. It will mean reducing waste, whether from energy or what we put in our bins. It could very well mean replacing the school run with organised school transport or group walking. All these measures will reduce our carbon footprint. As a government we are determined to use all the powers available to us to achieve our target of reducing greenhouse gasses by 3% per year from 2011 in areas we control. This will enable Wales to achieve an 80% reduction before 2050. A crucial factor in achieving this will be reducing emissions from the built environment. Direct and indirect consumption of energy from buildings generate approximately 40% of all carbon emissions in the UK. Our energy aspiration is for all new buildings to be zero carbon ahead of the UK Government’s target for England. The transfer of Building Regulations to the Assembly Government (shortly to be considered by Parliament) will help turn that aspiration into a reality. To achieve this vision we have created the first green building charter of its kind in the UK. Those who sign up are committing themselves to support progress towards a built environment that contributes low or zero net carbon emissions as quickly as practicably

possible. So far over 50 organisations and companies have signed up to this ‘coalition of the willing’. Their combined influence on building and developments in Wales is hugely significant. The charter demonstrates how diverse groups from all over Wales are ready to use their voice and powers to help reduce our carbon footprint. We have also established the Zero Carbon Hub for Wales to act as a focus for the engagement and dissemination activity needed to support the vision. Micro-generation will also have a role to play and that is why we have introduced new planning rules that will give households the opportunity to minimise their carbon footprint and to reduce fuel bills. The aim of the changes is to remove certain types of microgeneration equipment from requiring planning permission, making it easier for individuals and

local communities install equipment that will contribute to tackling climate change and lower energy bills. There will be no requirement to pay planning fees, also reducing the financial burden. The economy and environment of Wales will suffer if we do not act immediately and collectively on this agenda. The action we are taking and the support shown by parts of both the private and public sector illustrates that there is a shared vision for an energy and resource efficient Wales. The Carbon Trust has a major role to play in supporting this vision. I look forward to our continued work together. Jane Davidson AM Minister for Environment, Sustainability & Housing

The Business Benefits of Low Carbon Buildings

Carbon emissions from energy use in nondomestic buildings account for around 18% of total UK emissions (Source: BRE 2006). Much of this building stock is old and energy inefficient and is being replaced at a very slow rate. With the increasing regulatory pressures to deliver low carbon buildings, including the 2006 introduction of Energy Performance Certificates for larger non-domestic buildings, organisations need to act now to help the Welsh Assembly Government realise its zero carbon economy aspirations for Wales.

Mike Batt, manager at Carbon Trust Wales says: “Although there has been much recent focus on measures to reduce the emissions from new buildings, the existing building stock in Wales, as across the rest of the UK, remains largely untouched. Most buildings naturally need to be refurbished every 20-30 years and this presents the perfect opportunity to futureproof existing building design and equipment to cut carbon emissions and operating cost. This can be done whilst improving occupant comfort and satisfaction levels and enhancing corporate eco credentials. “Carbon Trust experience suggests that low carbon refurbishment is not normally constrained by the availability of appropriate technologies. The key issue is more likely to be the translation of corporate level commitment into a clear project vision.

And ensuring that this vision is effectively translated into measurable and deliverable targets. To remove this issue, we have developed a bespoke management tool – The Carbon Trust Low Carbon Refurbishment of Buildings Guide. Downloadable free of charge from our website, this guide offers a series of interventions and recommendations. That will assist our clients and project managers in specification and delivery of low carbon refurbishments.”

For more information or to download a free copy of The Carbon Trust Low Carbon Refurbishment of Buildings Guide, visit or call 0800 085 2005

Mike Batt, manager at Carbon Trust Wales says: “Until comparatively recently, it was fairly rare to find a new building that was constructed to low carbon or sustainability principles. But over the past few years, sustainability has moved up the business agenda and is fast becoming a key driver in the client brief. Legislation, increased energy costs and greater public awareness of the need to combat climate change are all playing their part. And the BREEAM standard of building excellence is now being widely adopted as the best practice target to guide the client and design teams.” “The Carbon Trust is an independent, government-funded company dedicated to combating climate change. We work with businesses and public sector to reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency and help the move towards the low carbon economy. As part of this remit, we have been working

closely with a leading team of consultants to develop a range of low carbon building design advice services. Available free, or on a subsidised basis to anyone involved in a

significant non-domestic renovation or new build. These include a detailed printed guide and three different levels of face-to-face consultancy.”

Available as a free download At design, The Low Carbon Building Design Guide contains a detailed overview of what organisations need to know about procuring good, energy efficient buildings. Divided into four easy-to-use sections, it covers everything from deciding which technologies are right for the building, through to commissioning and maintenance. Although it’s especially developed for those procuring smaller builds of up to 2,500m2, the Guide has something to offer anyone involved in creating or adapting more environmentally-friendly non-domestic buildings. For larger builds and major renovations of 2,500 to 10,000m2, the Carbon Trust is also able to offer free or subsidised consultancy advice to help in the project’s planning and design stage. The number of days’ advice provided depends on the size of the project and the potential carbon savings. Although these consultancy services are often free, the Carbon Trust does expect a level of commitment in return. This is in the form of monitoring and assessing both the value of the advice received and the actual measures selected for implementation.

Torfaen County Borough Council leads the way in Eco-building design Natural lighting is enhanced by roof lights and the council’s first wind turbine supports the solar energy that helps to power the building. The building has also been internally fitted out with as many environmentally-friendly materials as possible. Wood has been sourced from FSC approved forests, carpets are made from recycled fibres and eco-friendly paint has been used. All light bulbs and kitchen appliances are energy efficient. Decorative tiles are made from recycled glass and splash backs from recycled plastic bottles. Desks and some of the sinks and taps were also salvaged for reuse in the Eco-building.

One exemplar of sustainable building best practice in action in Wales is Torfaen County Borough Council’s Eco-building in Cwmbran. Opened in April 2006, this educational centre provides an inspirational and environmentally-friendly venue at which local organisations can hold workshops and seminars on how to combat climate change. Through its Design Advice Programme, The Carbon Trust was instrumental in providing bespoke expertise and advice for the building’s low carbon design and development for action by the appointed architect. The Carbon Trust also supported the building’s design with the funding for the build coming from the European Interreg programme. The resulting building has been designed around a timberframed modular panel system, which can be moved to a new location, should the need arise.

Key sustainable features include straw bales and recycled denim and newspapers used to insulate the building’s walls. Rainwater is collected from the rubber-covered rooftop in a storage tank for use in toilet cisterns. There is passive ventilation to naturally cool the building in summer and as well as an excellent insulation system to reduce heating costs in winter. Windows are fitted with Low Emissivity glass to regulate the building’s internal temperature as energy efficiently as possible.

Rachael O’Shaughnessy, Environmental and Sustainability Manager at Torfaen County Borough Council said: “We wanted a building which was sustainable to the core. Working with the Carbon Trust in Wales enabled us to achieve this. Our Ecobuilding brings sustainability and energy efficiency to life. This is playing an important part in helping to change attitudes and working practices among other local private and public sector organisations wishing to tackle their impact on climate change.”

To see how your project can benefit from working with the Carbon Trust call 0800 085 2005 click

Sustainable Wales, sponsored by the Carbon Trust in Wales  

Sustainable Wales, Buildings with vision - Our low carbon future

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