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Sustainability Now online conference tomorrow & final sustainability feedback

Most topically from our recent discussion is a section on "Green Bling - exploring which technologies and renewables are fit for purpose". 

It seems I have struck a chord with colleagues and wish to share their responses with permission as a final part (for the time being) of the coal face discussion: 

" unlike other products where supply is not a problem and the consumer can chose, the house buyer is just grateful to get a house in the location they want at a price they can afford. Thus if we had something approaching an oversupply of housing inferior houses would not sell and developers would have to try harder. Better thermal insulation etc may not be the main criteria but all things being equal, it may be the clincher.
QED - We need to build many many more houses."
 

"In response to your points it is more often my experience that with the best will in the world the first budget cuts for any building project are the perceived expensive 'green appendages'. Clients often comment that they feel they are helping tick boxes for their local authority or paying over the odds for green marketing strategies, vested interests or ill conceived regulations. My opinion is that social evolution will do more for ecological building than the social design of local authority development plans. This could be achieved by giving more weight to individual applications that exceed ecological planning requirements as priority over the financial noose that is speculative 'building plots'." 

There is no doubt that planning treatment can be particularly sharp for the smaller schemes and smaller clients. Councils undervalue them and they rarely receive the gold starred service of larger schemes. Any additional shoe-in for a scheme can only benefit and help it waltz its way through the planning maze. 

One of these shoe-ins may be in capitalising on a Council's wider aims. If a Council runs its own design awards, or is part of a county award scheme, seek to achieve a win in a particular category. Tell the Council your aim and clearly mark off how your scheme meets and exceeds these requirements. This may begin, amongst the rest of your strategy, to focus the Council and a possibility of encouraging a warmer view. 


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