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Buildings  2014 

Future-Proofed Energy Design Approaches for Achieving Low-Energy Homes: Enhancing the Code for Sustainable Homes

DOI: 10.3390/buildings4030488, PP. 488-519

Keywords: code for sustainable homes, energy design, future-proofing, policy and practice, zero-carbon

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Abstract:

Under the label “future-proofing”, this paper examines the temporal component of sustainable construction as an unexplored, yet fundamental ingredient in the delivery of low-energy domestic buildings. The overarching aim is to explore the integration of future-proofed design approaches into current mainstream construction practice in the UK, focusing on the example of the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) tool. Regulation has been the most significant driver for achieving the 2016 zero-carbon target; however, there is a gap between the appeal for future-proofing and the lack of effective implementation by building professionals. Even though the CSH was introduced as the leading tool to drive the “step-change” required for achieving zero-carbon new homes by 2016 and the single national standard to encourage energy performance beyond current statutory minima, it lacks assessment criteria that explicitly promote a futures perspective. Based on an established conceptual model of future-proofing, 14 interviews with building practitioners in the UK were conducted to identify the “feasible” and “reasonably feasible” future-proofed design approaches with the potential to enhance the “Energy and CO 2 Emissions” category of the CSH. The findings are categorised under three key aspects; namely: coverage of sustainability issues; adopting lifecycle thinking; and accommodating risks and uncertainties and seek to inform industry practice and policy-making in relation to building energy performance.

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