Like Hillocks, Lush Green Roofs Arch Over UK Housing Development
The Birchway Eco-Community, London’s new infill development by Paradigm Housing, comprising five green buildings containing a total of 24 small affordable apartments (or flats as they call them over there), was built to meet the Code of Sustainable Homes.
This rating system, in place since 2007, is the British equivalent of the EnergyStar ratings that the Obama administration is now trying to put in place nationwide in the USA. However that is easier done there than here, as our rogue states such as fossil-fueled Wyoming scorn building codes that require energy efficiency.
The kitchens and the bathrooms were entirely completed and finished off-site. Most of the building was prefabbed and delivered for final finishing on-site. Both on and off-site, the buildings were built with a recycled steel base so there was minimal construction waste.
On-site, the roof was covered with green roof sedum to start the mossy cover that helps insulation, and the solar panels were added to provide the electricity, and the solar hot water panels for heating the water. Run-off from the green roof will be harvested for “grey water” use (for toilets).
Heat is provided with a biomass boiler, and a heat recovery system captures waste heat and uses it to warm incoming fresh air.
And of course, this being the chilly British Isles, the entire building envelop must be super-well protected from harsh British winters with very high R-value insulation to win this infill development 5 out of 6 possible sustainability points for energy efficiency.
We could have a nice warm national energy efficiency code here in the US too, and then industries would develop here to keep every home toasty, and not just for the rich. But we love our freedoms too much for that sissy stuff, don’t we.