Homes and housing are never far from the headlines, whether that’s rocketing prices, lack of affordable homes or, more recently, sustainability.
With green issues and fuel costs at the forefront of everyone’s minds, as well as high on the political agenda in the pathway to net zero, it’s never been more important to consider the environmental impact and energy efficiency of any building project.
New homes are no exception; with the increasing pressure of a growing population, national housing shortage and government building targets to meet, alongside the demand on natural resources, it’s vital that they are built sustainably.
Sustainable properties provide a variety of benefits for those that live in them, not to mention the wider planet. Currently, homes are responsible for 16 per cent of total UK carbon emissions, so with the Government committing to achieving Net Zero by 2050, it is vital that the housing market plays its part in reducing its carbon footprint.
As we celebrate New Homes Week, which runs from February 27th to March 3rd, we take a look at why it’s important that the new homes being built now are done so with sustainability as a priority. Modern schemes may include a variety green components such as thermal insulation, eco-friendly heating, water recycling systems, reclaimed or particularly durable materials, or charging points for electric vehicles.
The Uk is currently experiencing a cost-of-living crisis, with sky-high utility bills, fuel and food costs, all rocketing due to factors such as the war in Ukraine and record inflation levels.
Sustainable homes, as well as providing benefits for the planet, deliver saving advantages for householders’ wallets too – a win-win situation.
By using naturally available resources for energy, homeowners can save over £2,000 on household bills each year: a significant reduction with other day-to-day costs spiralling.
When building homes, simple switches such as fitting low-energy light fittings can make a significant difference throughout a major project, while bigger alternatives like heating and ventilation systems can be considered when designing a project from scratch.
Examples of these could include geothermal heating, ventilation, and cooling systems, which use the temperature of the soil to heat and cool homes.
On its recent development in Pudsey, Mandale Homes used air source heat pumps, which instead of generating heat, transfer existing heat energy from outside to heat inside – far more energy efficient than the typical fossil fuel or electric-based systems.
Solar panels are another popular choice, offering a significant saving on bills, as well as the potential to actually sell power back to the National Grid.
Sustainable homes also benefit the wider community, through saving resources, energy and contributing towards cleaner air.
Building homes using reclaimed or circular materials is possible; long-lasting substances such as steel can be reused multiple times. Reclaimed wood, meanwhile, can also clean up nicely and has a distinctive look and feel which lends a building an eco-friendly character.
However, if reuse isn’t an option, fresh wood is also considered a sustainable choice. Properly managed forests, where trees are regularly replanted, don’t just provide a ready supply of building material – they also create a habitat for wildlife.
And while plastic has been previously painted very much as the enemy of the environment, in building terms though, the opposite is becoming true. That’s because the very fact that it doesn’t degrade, makes it a great choice for building long-lasting structures and components which need less maintenance and upkeep.
How are we doing
At Mandale, we pride ourselves on our commitment to the environment. The majority of our developments are built on brownfield sites and we are experts at large regeneration projects.
The most recent was Ochre Yard in Gateshead, which was named best residential renovation/redevelopment in the UK at the UK Property Awards in October 2022.
The development was given the highest 5* rating for Best in the Region for Renovation/Redevelopment and went on to compete against other regional finalists in the category to win Best in the UK. Ochre Yards was also an award winner in the Residential Development of 20+ units category.
Richard Harriman, Director Mandale Homes commented: “We are incredibly proud of the Ochre Yards development in Gateshead. To be named best in the UK is true testament to the team’s professionalism, passion and the care and attention that goes into building perfect homes for our customers.”
“Mandale Homes is one of the North East’s largest, privately owned property developers with over 40 years experience of building luxury homes and boasts a growing portfolio of stylish residential developments across the North East, Yorkshire, North West and Scotland.”