The Green Register Blog

For and by sustainable construction professionals

Huffing and puffing

Posted on February 1st, 2013

Lucy Pedler | Director of the Green Register | The Green Register

Last month one of our dear, long time Green Register and Steering Group members, Jim Allen, kindly wrote us a blog about the breathing wall concept and expressed his concerns about this method of construction, some of which I will try and address here.

The first point to make is that the term ‘breathing’ wall (or roof, floor or ceiling for that matter) is a pretty inadequate name for a very useful way of building that attempts to deal with a number of problems, namely: avoiding interstitial condensation, improving standards of work on site and...



Posted on December 1st, 2012

Jim Allen

… every move you make,” is an unforgettable lyric from a Police classic; these days it makes me uneasy whenever I hear it given its darker overtones. I feel the same way whenever people talk about breathing walls. If there is one subject gives rise to confusion and mixed messages its moisture and vapour movement through walls. I’ve been fortunate to attend several CPD sessions touching on the subject, including one excellent day presented by Green Register.

I feel I have a tenuous hold on the concepts, and that some of my long-held beliefs, some may say prejudices, have been confirmed, others blown away, and questions remain. This is my take,...


Green deal - or no deal?

Posted on November 1st, 2012

Steven Harris | Steven Harris Ltd.

Trumpets! Fanfares! Fireworks? Well, maybe not, but as the Green Deal is softly-softly launched, most of us will probably not notice it starting, despite the energy companies’ best efforts to blame their price rises on it. And maybe it’s right only to whisper the launch since I read recently that when asked, the British public distrust both the words ‘Green’ (sandals) and ‘Deal’ (double glazing salesmen). So is this just an unfortunate choice of words? Well before Green Deal and the current Government there was of course ‘pay as you save’; less untrustworthy words even if...


The risks and rewards of eco-refurbishment.

Posted on September 1st, 2012

Lucy Pedler | Director of The Green Register | The Green Register

Since June 2010 we’ve been running our ‘Eco-refurbishment and The Green Deal’ seminar where ‘warts and all’ presentations of residential case studies give delegates in-depth information on how to retrofit their buildings in a sustainable, low carbon way. But one of the frequently asked questions raised in these seminars is ‘what are the risks of interstitial condensation when applying insulation to an existing building?’

As the economy plummets but fuel prices sore, construction professionals are increasingly working on...


Hydro International

Posted on September 1st, 2012

Alex Stephenson | ech2o

With one voice, a cry for ‘clarity, clarity, clarity’ has gone out to Government in response to the National SuDS Standards consultation. There are strong indications that both local government and industry believe the standards, as they currently stand, are not yet fit for purpose. The devil is definitely in the detail as far as the new standards are concerned: The problem is – no-one is quite sure what the detail is. Many are worried that a dilution of the...


Can the planning system reduce the environmental burden of nappies?

Posted on August 1st, 2012

Rob Burosso

Having recently wrecked my environmental credentials by having a second child my world is again one of nappies and sleepless nights. Of course we're told the most sustainable nappy is a reusable one so they're hanging up everywhere at home, which got me thinking…

Now, I'm not going to use this blog to do a life cycle analysis of nappies but rather to show just how difficult they can be and include things you'd never think of. The case against the disposable nappy revolves around two points; the resources consumed to make them and the space they take up in landfill. The former I'm not going to question but the latter..... I've got some issues....


What’s in a teapot?

Posted on July 1st, 2012

Jim Allen

You see before you a photograph of a piece of domestic crockery, with a difference. It has been the subject of DESIGN. Its basic function is obvious but for the uninitiated in the art of tea making it is to contain high temperature liquid (water) allowing the diffusion and dissolution of various chemicals from a herbal product (tea). It is dependent on the skill of its operator if the perfect cup of tea is to result, but we will not dwell on the number of tea spoons or bags, pre-heat, the precise water temperature or brew times here. It is the impact of the pot itself that interests me, and the steps taken by its designers to improve...


The wettest drought on record or why we need to be smarter about water……

Posted on June 1st, 2012

Cath Hassell |ech2o


There was never really any doubt about the subject of this blog for me. It always had to be about “the wettest drought on record”. It is usually easier to get people to sign up to sustainable water during a drought, (although, conversely, it makes it harder as soon as the drought is over.) But this “drought” has proved far harder because of the amount of rainfall. Plus the fact that the south west of England and the Midlands were classified as being in drought even as the unprecedented April rains were falling made it even more of a PR disaster.



Why PV’s will hinder rather than help any further “Kyoto” agreements

Posted on May 1st, 2012

Rob Burroso

While the renewables industry, and in particular the PV crowd, are still smarting over the governments’ decision to halve their subsides overnight, back in December, the wider global issues of what to do when Kyoto expires at the end of the year have hardly been talked about. But what that fiasco (1) did, to my mind, was to illustrate just how difficult any further agreement will be.

First, let’s look at what paying 130 (2) times more for something than it is actually worth has achieved. For a start a massive growth in the rate of PV installations; anyone with a roof and/or a good credit record could look forward to a 6-8% return on investment...


The next step to ‘Zero Carbon’ buildings?

Posted on April 1st, 2012


Proposed changes to the building regulations, supporting guidance and tools are out for consultation.(1) Included in this review are parts A, B, C, K, L, M, N, Access Statements, Security, Changing Places Toilets, Regulation 7 and the building control structure and process. Not too much for us to read, think about and respond to in addition to our normal workload there then!

Part L changes are proposed to reduce predicted emissions through higher performance targets and by closing the “performance gap” (2) for new buildings by stimulating improvements to existing buildings through “...



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