Building low-energy, low-carbon homes is not difficult if you put your mind to it – doing it cost effectively is.
C-Zero focuses on getting it right at every stage – from initial design, to design optimisation to reach the target level of performance, and then managing the delivery of the building – we handle the whole process.
First thing’s first – the shell of the building. Getting the external envelope airtight and efficient reduces the energy and carbon consumption of the building without the need to resort to technology – less is more! This is commonly known as a “fabric first” approach – only when we have exhausted all possibilities of energy saving within the fabric do we resort to technology or renewables.
C-Zero built Long Meadow Diss to Level 4 of the Code, which we saw at the time as being the optimum balance between sustainability and commercial reality. Harvest House Wistanswick is essentially Code Level 5, however in our opinion the Code is not the best way of delivering the type of sustainability our customers want. Focus with that project is on the Energy Performance Certificate instead.
With the demise of the Code, and the Government’s abandonment of the zero carbon homes target, our policy is to deliver a higher level of performance than regulation demands, for the benefit of the home occupier.
Why Sustainability Matters
We don’t hug trees in our office, but we care about the environment more than most. We promote sustainability in housebuilding for a number of reasons:
- Building is a resource intensive activity, and the housing sector must show leadership in reducing its environmental impact
- Customers want more ‘green’ homes and this trend will continue
- Sustainability and energy efficiency go hand-in-hand, and energy efficiency means cost saving.
So an energy efficient house is not only better for the environment, it is better for its owner.
We are also finding that in consultations with landowners and local communities, a developer with strong eco credentials is more respected and more likely to garner support. If we care enough to go beyond the call of duty in terms of sustainability, we will probably go the extra mile in terms of all aspects of delivery of a development.
The National Planning Policy Framework has a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”. Although the definition of “sustainable” is at best vague, being a sustainable developer in the first place can only help!