With the climate crisis high on the agenda as we head into 2020, the housing sector needs to consider how to play its part in reducing carbon emissions. While individuals can make efforts in their day-to-day activities, the spaces that we live, work and socialise in can play a highly significant role. In this blog we take a look at some of the factors that need to be considered when building new housing developments to make them more sustainable.
Eco-friendly materials and methods
There are considered to be three strands to sustainable building: the materials used; the construction techniques; and whether the finished product is energy efficient. The government has already gone some way to encourage this, through building regulations specifying the use of sustainably-sourced timber in new houses and developments. In 2019 it also announced a new Future Homes Standard, which sets out a planning guide for local authorities to help cut housing carbon emissions by 2025.
When it comes to surveying the land for a new development, it’s important for developers to take stock of the existing biodiversity and aim to preserve or, if possible, increase it. Aspects of the external environment contributing to the biodiversity could include the number of trees and green spaces in an area, which are important in helping combat climate change and improving the quality of the air that people breathe. This has both environmental benefits and improves the quality of life for residents.
The design of external spaces in a new development can be as impactful at reducing a community’s carbon footprint, as adaptations in the interior spaces. Not only are large public spaces, such as gardens and playgrounds, highly valued by residents but they can also help them live more sustainably by reducing the amount of time spent indoors consuming electricity. The inclusion of community gardens encourages residents to grow their own food, while good public transport links and close proximity to local independent shops also reduces the need for cars.
Integrating new technology
One of the simplest ways to increase the sustainability of developments is by taking advantage of new technology that can be integrated into the buildings to ensure they run in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. This can include features such as built-in solar panels, effective insulation and highly efficient waste and water management systems, all of which reduce the need for additional processes and electricity consumption.
Making new build housing more sustainable has become a more prominent issue over the last decade as we have started to see the effects of climate change having an impact on our weather. Extreme weather events, such as flooding and prolonged spells of hot and cold temperatures, are now more regular and new homes need to be built to withstand them.
Regent Land & Developments is a specialist developer of brownfield sites for residential and mixed-use land-led schemes across London and the South East. Find out more about what we do.