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LOW ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE HOUSING IN THE UK AND GERMANY

Abstract
By : Christoph Morbitzer

 
This article reviews the development of low energy and sustainable housing in the UK and Germany. It illustrates that despite their close geographical proximity substantially different approaches have been applied in the two countries in the pursuit of an energy efficient, domestic built environment. The article describes and compares the German Passivhaus and the UK Code for Sustainable Homes, both important drivers for low energy housing. It also relates them to two project examples, the 'Energieautarkes Haus' (energy independent house) in Freiburg and the BeDZED project near London. A main conclusion from the article is that Germany has developed with the Passivhaus a design concept that holds a considerable potential to reduce the energy consumption of the UK housing sector, and points out the surprisingly limited uptake so far. It however also emphasises the ability of the UK to apply a holistic building design approach, and points out that the UK has developed with BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes a framework that directs the flow of activity in the pursue of buildings with a low environmental impact. Finally, the article emphasises the need for better collaboration between different countries.
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