The Dudley MBC Sustainability Appraisal 2017 states that applications should be assessed against the following sustainability criteria...
To improve access to a range of good quality, affordable and resource efficient housing.
HOUSING (Material Assets and Population).
To promote sustainable energy use through improved efficiency reduced energy use and increased use of renewable energy. USE OF RESOURCES (Material assets, soil and water).
It is these principles that have led us to propose the current construction method.
The construction method selected by Stourbridge Community Development Trust seeks to take a holistic approach to the issue of carbon. It uses the principles established in the Kyoto Protocol as illustrated in this diagram. Using these principles it becomes clear why the traditional use of brick as the ‘go-to’ construction material needs to change.
By building with timber frame we have grown trees that have sucked carbon out of the atmosphere and trapped it inside the timber frame. The closed panel timber frame wall and flooring system can actually be considered carbon negative (including carbon storage). A carbon dioxide equivalent of 1kgCO2e per kg of closed panel timber frame system as in the Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE database v3.0). The alternative to using timber is to burn carbon to fire clay to create the bricks as the raw product in the construction process. The embodied carbon is therefore much lower in closed panel timber frame homes than traditionally built housing.
In fact the embodied carbon dioxide (CO2e) in building with bricks is four times that of using a timber frame method. By not using bricks as a construction method we will be saving approximately 175 tonnes of carbon dioxide just in construction materials on the Development site. The closed panel timber frame system is also significantly lighter than a brick wall and so embodies less energy and carbon in its structure and its foundations. NPPF 14 states that there should be a presumption to support low carbon building methods and that a hypercritical approach should not be taken.