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EcoHomes is an environmental rating scheme for homes in the United Kingdom. It is the domestic version of the Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method BREEAM, which can also be applied to a variety of non-residential buildings. It was replaced by the Code for Sustainable Homes in April 2008.
EcoHomes can be applied to new private and social housing schemes, as well as in the case of major refurbishment. Special assessments can be made of communal housing such as student halls of residence and care homes. EcoHomes was first developed and used commercially in 2000, EcoHomes Assessments fall under one of four versions, Pre-2002, 2003, 2005 or the current version 2006.
The rating system has gone through four major revisions, the latest being EcoHomes 2006. As a consequence, it is not possible to compare homes built under one revision of the standard with homes built under another.
In particular, the 2006 version of EcoHomes increases the standards for energy efficiency, following the 2006 revisions energy efficiency requirements of the Building Regulations. It also incorporates a number of other changes.
Under the scheme, credits are first given for standards reached in the following areas:
- Wat 1 - Internal potable water use
- Wat 2 - External potable water use
- Land Use and Ecology
- Eco 1 - Ecological value of site
- Eco 2 - Ecological enhancement
- Eco 3 - Protection of ecological features
- Eco 4 - Change of ecological value of site
- Eco 5 - Building Footprint
- Man 1 - Home user guide
- Man 2 - Considerate constructors
- Man 3 - Construction site impacts
- Man 4 - Security
A weighting system is then used to designate the home as Pass, Good, Very Good, or Excellent.
All homes funded by the Housing Corporation or by English Partnerships are required to meet the 2006 Very Good standard. Previously a Good designation sufficed. It is expected that this requirement will be replaced by compliance with the Government's proposed Code for Sustainable Homes, currently being finalised, which is expected to be 'closely aligned' to EcoHomes .
EcoHomes has been criticised by some for getting the balance wrong between the various elements, and for valuing low embodied energy over the whole life performance of the building.
Previous versions were criticised for allowing illogical trading-off between areas of the standards, so that, for example, homes with poor energy efficiency standards could still receive a high designation.
CAVEAT - Please also note that this name is currently (May 2013) being used in the Nottingham area by a high-pressure and somewhat intimidating group of young marekting people (ringing from a mobile phone) in breach of TPS regulations banning unsolicited calls from organisations.
EcoHomes for refurbishment
EcoHomes can also be used for major refurbishments such as conversion projects and change of use and was specified for these types of projects, in the interim, whilst the BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment scheme was being developed. Since the start of the new Domestic Refurbishment scheme which includes criteria that replace to EcoHomes, EcoHomes for Refurbishment registrations will be ended on 1 July 2012 and for transitional purposes, officially expires on 1 July 2014. This will apply to the whole of the UK, including Scotland.
- Association for Environment Conscious Building
- Earthship Biotecture
- Energy efficiency in British housing
- Environmental design
- Good Homes Alliance
- Green building
- Sustainable development
- Sustainable design
- Compare to-
- Low carbon in Highlands
- Solar and Wind Energy Resources
- Earthship Biotecture: Super EcoHomes, Completely Sustainable and Independent
- The Home User Guide
- Green Homes using Carbon Offsets
- Carbon Reductive Eco Homes
- Recent changes to BREEAM 2008 (video), A technical presentation on implications for the built environment
- Spring 2006, Green Building Press, Discontent over the Code for Sustainable Development