Comely Green

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Background
Materials Spec
Design Spec
Waste Minimisation
Final Report

Introduction

This project has been known at various stages as "Lower London Road", "Comely Green Place" and now just "Comely Green".   This reflects the number of different parties that have contributed to the project and all these names are used in the following pages, which have been written as the project develops.  Various reports have been published as the project has been carried out.  Please feel free to download any of them and if you have any comments please pass them back to us.

For more detail on the Lower London Road
The design specifications of the project Download pdf report (107kb)
The material specifications of the project Download pdf report (113kb)
Waste minimisation in the construction section Download pdf report (202kb)
The first Follow-up audit of the project Download pdf report (521kb)
A guide to sustainable construction Download pdf report (194kb)
The conclusions of the project Download pdf report (127kb)

Comely Green (100kb)   Pend (114kb)

Sustainability has recently become a political catch phrase and is in some danger of growing into a meaningless cliché. However, it is self-evident that practices which are not sustainable cannot be sustained, and must therefore change or cease. This is equally true for any kind of sustainability, whether economic, environmental or something quite different. Some practices of the construction industry fall into the category of unsustainable in economic terms: flats are no longer built out of solid stone because no-one would pay the price on completion. Other practices are similarly unsustainable from an environmental point of view: the use of tropical hardwoods is now plainly unacceptable.

Some construction practices may not be so clear cut. People are prepared to pay for a certain additional level of build quality and similarly, the environment can cope with a certain amount of pollution. In these areas, a certain amount of subjective judgement is required. In economic terms, accountancy has been developed to assist with this judgement and this technique has been common now for several centuries. In environmental terms, the equivalent life cycle analysis (LCA) has become a useable tool only in the last few years. Part of the reason that environmental issues have not been treated as seriously as economic issues in the past is simply because it was not possible to account for them. It is now possible to get a clearer idea of the relative environmental costs of various activities and to make an informed decision on that basis.

The Lower London Road Sustainable Housing Project is the first major sustainable housing project in Scotland to use these techniques to find a better way of building the kind of houses that people want to live in.

Too often, shiny new projects are launched which proclaim their adoption of sustainable principles, then wind up with a cosmetic "green" finish in an attempt to cover a lack of any real substance. This may be a result of the way in which environmental projects are usually financed; in effect, whoever can provide the greenest project for the least money wins the prize. This approach inevitably leads to the promotion of trivial issues at the expense of those which may be more prosaic but which are also more effective.

This programme is a collaborative effort undertaken by Link Homes, Hart Builders, Norman Gray & Partners Architects and Wren & Bell Civil, Structural and Environmental Consultants. The aim of the programme is to build a block of traditional timber-frame tenement flats, much the same as those being built all over the country on a daily basis. The difference is that Lower London Road will be built to have the lowest practicable environmental impact throughout the lifetime of the development. This will require the life cycle environmental aspects of every major component and activity to be considered during design, construction and use.

The lessons learned from this programme will be of enormous value to future developments, since Lower London Road is not a high-flying architectural extravaganza but a normal housing development being built in a better way.