To many people's surprise, Part L of the Building Regulations gives no credit for housing designs with lower heat loss areas and more efficient shapes. The energy and carbon sections of the Regs do not, therefore, provide any incentive for industry to exploit shape and form in designing and building better homes.
The NHBC Foundation has published a new industry guide, "The Challenge of Shape and Form - understanding the benefits of efficient design", researched and written by Cutland Consulting Ltd with input from Eco Design Consultants Ltd. The guide explains the reasons behind this surprising Part L effect, and discusses ways that designs can be improved. Through a better understanding of the issues, designers and developers can significantly reduce the energy consumption of new homes, sometimes at little or no extra cost.
The pursuit of lower energy consumption through shape and form does not have to lead to bland or monotonous housing designs either. The guide describes how the worst design features can often be avoided or replaced by alternatives which are still architecturally interesting. Many of the designs can provide better comfort conditions too.
Speaking of the guide's publication, Cutland Consulting's director Neil Cutland said, "It's always a pleasure to work with the NHBC Foundation to strengthen their portfolio of industry research and guidance. This new report has some important messages for designers that can make a real difference to the environment as well as the occupants of today's new homes. We hope that policy makers in Government will also be interested in the implications for future Building Regulations."
The guide (ref. NF72) is a free download from www.nhbcfoundation.org, and hardcopies are available upon request from the Foundation.