The Green Register Blog

For and by sustainable construction professionals

Understanding the numbers

Posted on September 1st, 2013

Jillian Mitchell |Managing Director | Project Logistics Architecture Limited

I am rarely commissioned by clients who genuinely wish to save the planet or reduce their carbon footprint; I am, conversely, most often commissioned by clients who wish to reduce the amount of money they spend on their energy bills. To me, the two can be one-and-the-same, which I reflect in my design approach, and which is TGR’s mantra: improve insulation and air-tightness, and control ventilation. It can be difficult, however, to find a way of helping clients understand a direct relationship between insulation thickness and a reduction...


We need a smarter way to use rainwater

Posted on August 1st, 2013

Cath Hassell | ech2o consultants

As rumours swirl around about the demise of the Code for Sustainable Homes, surely now is the time for the Government to take a step back from its ill-advised insistence on forcing rainwater harvesting systems into new dwellings and instead start to incentivise the decoupling of rainwater downpipes from existing buildings.

At its core rainwater harvesting is beautifully simple. You collect rainwater from a clean surface (i.e. a hard roof), filter, store and reuse. Practiced for centuries, rainwater is still used by millions of people around the world who don’t have access to a mains water supply...


Notes from a surprisingly large country

Posted on July 1st, 2013

Tom Dollard | Head of Sustainable Design | PTEa

Take 14 architects and planners of different abilities, age, personalities and throw them together on a cycling adventure across 4,400 miles of the USA, Ireland and the UK. This was the challenge of the Portland to Portland cycle ride. If things went wrong, “I’m an architect get me out of here!” could be an appropriate name for the TV programme. However, after 42 days on the road, fortunately this was not the case. I left the team at Minneapolis as I had to get back to my work at PTEa, but was satisfied with having made it more than half way across the States. My...


Sustainability tools - time to look at value

Posted on June 1st, 2013

Chris Hocknell| eight associates

Our current approach to ‘green’ buildings has left me feeling as though we’ve lost sight of our real aim. We need to reiterate what we are trying to achieve and review our methods for achieving it.

The Scene Today

Building on Steve Maslin’s April blog (GR) I believe we have a lot more ground to cover before we achieve ‘sustainability’ within the built environment. Currently, a building’s sustainability tends to be defined by the rating achieved under an environmental assessment method (EAM) such as BREEAM, LEED and CfSH. These EAMs have now been...


Part L updates – bringing more CO2 emissions to a building near you?

Posted on May 1st, 2013

Rob Burroso

As the next set of “improvements” to Part L of the Building Regulations gets nearer, some of the counter-productivities that the current rules throw up will, to my mind, move from being ‘just a little strange’ to cynics like me, to become serious problems.

To begin with, what level of CO2 emissions reduction from buildings will these new rules actually deliver? Well with 99% of buildings being immune from these revisions (because they're already built) the best we're looking at is a 1% improvement in the short term. The new rules will only be raising an already high bar - “making the best better”. As it is average emissions we're interested in...


Sustaining Sustainability - Social sustainability’s significance to sustain economic and environmental sustainability

Posted on April 1st, 2013

Steve Maslin | Director of bud | Building User Design Solutions

I believe that social and economic sustainability are critical to achieving environmental sustainability. As with wildlife conservation, if we ignore the people within that environment, then we will fail to achieve our environmental /ecological objectives. As an architect, access consultant and someone who worked within social provision environments I am what might be best described as a social sustainability practitioner, providing advice in order to achieve positive and sustainable user experiences of built environments.

The User...


Natural swimming pools - environmental nirvana?

Posted on March 1st, 2013

Cath Hassell | ech2o

We all know the high environmental load of traditional swimming pools; the energy required to heat them; the chlorine required to keep them clean; the large amount of water that is required to fill them in the first place and refill them after they have been drained down for the winter. It’s also common knowledge that a designer can ensure a pool is more sustainable by specifying a pool cover, installing solar thermal panels to heat the pool and considering ozone instead of chlorine as the disinfection method. But all of that does not need to concern us in the environmental building sector because if a...


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...



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