Public opinions on alternative lower carbon wall construction techniques for UK housing

There is a widespread interest in reducing environmental impacts of all industries and processes to help achieve the targets set in the Climate Change Act of 2008. The use of alternative construction techniques to build the walls of UK housing has the potential to reduce their environmental impact in a range of ways. This includes the reduction of embodied energy as well as operational energy use, the latter through improved thermal performance. A major challenge to be overcome if alternative techniques are to be used is the acceptability to purchasers. The current acceptability of a range of construction techniques and issues that are important to purchasers were examined using a questionnaire. Although the acceptability of lower carbon alternatives is less than that of the conventional technique, findings in this research suggest that there is potential for their use in UK housing. The acceptability of alternative construction techniques varies greatly with type. Concerns expressed about the construction techniques could often be dispelled by existing research, indicating that education is key to improving acceptability of alternative construction techniques and hence opening the way to accessing their environmental benefits. The respondents identified environmental issues, finance, operating costs and risk as key areas of concern, which need to be considered during decision-making.