Green Guide to Specification
The Green Guide is a tool for assessing some of the embodied
of construction elements as part of an overall environmental
sustainability assessment for a project or development. For
projects, use of the Green Guide is effectively mandatory due to
requirements or as a component part of a Code
for Sustainable Homes
or BREEAM assessment.
The interdependence between
operational and embodied impacts of construction materials will
remain essential to sustainable design, and this requires them
to be considered together. Good design will consider the A+ to E
scores in conjunction with other information about the construction
element and the overall design, such as air
tightness, thermal bridging, thermal
mass, overheating requirements, acoustics, and moisture control.
Part L of the Building Regulations is
changing to accommodate new factors, including the thermal mass of
a structure and its relationship to overheating and passive solar gains. Thermal mass is an important
factor in the design of energy efficient low-carbon dwellings – the
recognised benefits of thermal mass are currently not accounted for
in the guide.
The concrete industry is well placed
to demonstrate the highest level of responsible sourcing
performance based on effective management systems, local
availability of materials and well managed supply chains. Within
the Code for Sustainable Homes, responsibly
sourced materials are encouraged and credited, for both basic
building elements and finishing elements.
Developing a sustainable design
involves maximising the points scored in all the other parts of the
sustainability assessment whilst optimising the score in the
Materials section. Where a designer or client has chosen to use
concrete products as part of their design solution they will find
that there are many concrete construction elements in the Green
Guide, many of which score well against the rating system of A+ to
E. There are also sections of the guide where concrete scores
extremely highly. For instance, in cavity walls for all building
types it is quite easy to score an A or A+ rating. There are a
number of design strategies that can be considered when selecting
concrete elements, each of which can influence the overall rating
positively. Examples of these strategies are:
• Optimising cementitious
• Use of recycled or secondary
• Optimising mass.
• Use of admixtures.
• Contacting suppliers for product specific information.
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Concrete and the Green Guide