Sustainable Community Infrastructure
Sustainable Community Infrastructure (SCI) refers to the deployment of integrated, cost effective, sustainable infrastructure such as community-scale power, cooling and heating, water harvesting, waste disposal and telecommunications.
The role of Sustainable Community Infrastructure (SCI)
SCI is increasingly recognised as playing an important role in meeting the challenges of delivering a sustainable built environment. These include contributing to national policy drivers, such as Allowable Solutions (part of the zero carbon homes definition) and, due to an increasingly good understanding among local authorities, utilities and the construction and property sector, of the carbon and cost benefits of integrating community based solutions into developments.
However, there still remain significant barriers to the deployment of SCI. The wide-ranging UK-GBC and Zero Carbon Hub Task Group report, published in February 2010, on Sustainable Community Infrastructure (SCI), noted that, among other solutions, there is a place for standardisation of the legal and commercial issues. This was borne out of the fact that:
- An SCI scheme requires a very large number of potential agreements between the participants.
- Generally speaking the legal landscape of these agreements, and the regulations affecting SCI, has never been “mapped”, thereby resulting in a large amount of uncertainty over the extent of the law.
- Where there is uncertainty, and a daunting plethora of possible contractual arrangements, potential schemes can be lost through sheer inertia or fear of costs.
To find out more about the task group see here.
UK-GBC has been working to help resolve some of the complexities in the legal arrangements that have proved a barrier to people implementing such schemes. The UK-GBC Legal Frameworks for Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Task Group launched a report in July 2012 which aimed to introduce more knowledge and certainty so that legal barriers should not overwhelm a scheme. Find out more about the work of our Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Task Group.
Creating Sustainable Community Infrastructure
The scope of UK-GBC’s work goes beyond the individual buildings where we all live and work. We are also concerned with how we make the infrastructure which enables our buildings to operate, and our lives to function, greener and more sustainable. This means, for instance, considering where we get our heat and power from, how we install and manage Information and Communication Technology (ICT), how we ensure our water infrastructure is efficient and what we do with waste.
Following the Legal Frameworks for Sustainable Energy Infrastructure Task Group, we produced simple guidance in 2012. The guidance clarifies the legal issues associated with setting up decentralised heat and energy networks. Find out more about our work in this area.