An interesting meeting this morning with planners. They have the age old problem with implementing their new renewables policies because of the detachment between the development teams and the ultimate building user.
The problem goes something like this; A developer and his architect come up with a great idea to build something that will make some money. As most developers (not this one mind) are closet or actual accountants at heart and their consultants (not this one mind) generally fall in to line for the sake of an easy life the mindset is about money before doing the right thing. Planners don’t have the same commercial pressures but ultimately they can only push so far unless a policy is sufficiently robust enough to resist pressure to make it cheap.
But now we about to be on the horns of a dilemma. Green policy is becoming robust, and in the authority in question they now require all schemes with more than five dwellings to be built to Code 3* and all types of schemes to generate 10% of energy on or near site. This is designed prevent casual offsetting and buying a green solution off the shelf from a fly-by-night carbon trader. So an impasse is forming and it will need some refusals or a viable solution to break it down.
The obvious way to break this down is through the needs of the end user of the building. If we consider what drives most occupiers, whether they are commercial, public or domestic, we come to the inevitable conclusion that money makes the world go around**. Most people want to be green too, but it isn’t what they do for a living and we need to have a way that they can be environmentally credible with the least amount of effort.
Business models should cater for that and provide solutions that work for the end user because if it is attractive to them financially and environmentally then developers and architects will simply have to go with it to remain competitive. It will become as second nature as putting doors in walls.
* Housing Associations / RSL’s are already heading towards Code 4 standards. Private residential schemes aren’t obliged to build to anything much at the moment, so it usually doesn’t.
** I know, I know, we aren’t all money orientated but we can’t deny the bare facts of human nature the world over. We don’t have to change human nature, we just have to find a way of dealing with it.