Posts tagged ‘Environment’
An eco-friendly property has many benefits, writes Morris Homes’ managing director Chris Lilley.
As energy prices continue to rise, finding a property that is energy efficient is moving higher up the list of priorities for buyers who want to minimise their monthly payments, writes Chris Lilley, managing director of Morris Homes.
In addition to wanting to reduce living costs, buyers are also becoming more socially aware of the impact that their choices are having on the environment. From choosing more eco-friendly cars to diligently recycling household waste, we’re all aware of the need to reduce our energy consumption.
The UK’s largest carbon village in Peterborough – Vista – was launched to help identify new solutions for building homes that are not only environmentally friendly, but are stylish and affordable for buyers. The development was recently named as the Best Low or Zero Carbon Initiative at the Housebuilder awards.
Inside, the properties at Vista look no different to any new home. They’re spacious, light, warm, comfortable, and designed around modern lifestyles.
However, under the skin of the properties is a range of energy-saving technology designed to reduce carbon emissions by 74 per cent compared to a similar sized property and help buyers save up to £310 per year on their energy bills (based on final As-Designed SAP calculations and British Gas energy prices in January 2013).
For example, every home has solar panels to generate electricity, a rainwater harvesting system to provide water for flushing toilets, and an advanced boiler that recovers and recycles waste heat.
The commitment to the environment continues outside of the properties, with a dedicated composting area, bicycle storage and recycling facilities installed at every property to encourage residents to live a more sustainable lifestyle. There are also 2.7 acres of public gardens and wetlands around the development to reduce the impact on the biodiversity of the site.
To help residents further reduce their carbon footprint every buyer also receives a £250 voucher to buy a bicycle, or a six-month bus pass.
All of these measures will also help towards the Government’s target of reducing carbon emissions from UK homes by 29 per cent by 2020.
Vista was launched last year, and the first buyers have now moved into their properties. Buyers have already told us that their energy bills to date have been dramatically reduced compared to their previous homes.
We’ve now moved on to the next phase of the site and have recently launched a selection of four-bedroom homes to encourage families to move to Vista for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Here’s a great way to get yourself a free house. Pose as an artist, say you want to create a gallery/meeting space that’s environmentally sound and get your local community to donate all their scrap wood and raw materials that would otherwise end up lying in a skip somewhere.
Now that’s not entirely what German designers Folke Koebberling and Martin Kaltwasser did – their intentions were indeed honest and honourable – but the end result is pretty much the same.
After six weeks of toiling in the Cambridgeshire countryside with a team of volunteers, the intrepid twosome have successfully created a two-storey building from bits and pieces donated by the locals that has cost them next to nothing.
The structure, which lies in the grounds of the Wysing Art Centre in Bourn, might have a bit of a patchwork aesthetic going on, but that’s all part of the appeal apparently.
And while Folke and Martin intend for their creation – christened Amphis – to be used as a gallery for local artists, a case of art imitating life has meant the exhibitor has now become the exhibited.
The whole project build has been captured on film to be displayed in the Wysing gallery.
Because who nowadays does anything if it can’t be accompanied by a Making Of… documentary?
Someone tell the three little piggies to forget their straw, wood and brick houses because I’ve seen the future – and it’s all made of foam.
Already mushrooming up in Japan (where else?) these styrofoam houses are being touted as the solution to the world’s housing crisis. You know those polystyrene cups of tea you get from burger vans? These are made of the same stuff.
Developed by International Dome House Co, they’re quickly-assembled, customisable and cheap (around $30000), so they’re certainly ticking a lot of the sustainable housing boxes (and for those of you living on a faultline they’re earthquake-proof too), but I’m not entirely convinced about their environmental credentials.
Yes, they’re ridiculously well insulated, being made from, duh, foam insulation, but when everyone else seems to be moving away from petrochemical related products these foamy smurf homes would seem to be flying in the face of future sustainability.
Of course I could be wrong … and they are damn cute.
(More information over at Pink Tentacle)
Depending on how eco-friendly you really are, the following information could have you nodding your head in resigned agreement or furiously head-butting your swanky new flat screen.
It appears that the self-proclaimed Protectors of the Great British Bin Collection (The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail) have caught a glimpse of a top-secret report by DEFRA that threatens to charge us more (!) for collecting less rubbish, less often, and if we live in a new home – possibly not at all.
Naturally, The Mail and The Telegraph see this as an outrage, unthinkable, and surely political suicide for any party wishing to avoid being consigned to the dustbin of history themselves etc etc. And yet, unnaturally, I find myself in surprised agreement with my right-honourable newspaper pals.
So let’s look at the nitty-gritty of this, shall we?
While the enticingly titled report “Household Waste Prevention Policy” may be a hefty tome, weighing in at 412 pages, details are rather sketchy, and certainly nothing is set in stone – or some other biodegradable composite – at this stage.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to look forward to the prospect of less frequent bin collections, even if this is “the most direct way to compel householders to reduce their waste”.
Having lived in the seagull infested city that is Brighton for many waste-filled years, I can tell you how much we all look forward to the one day of the week when we can free our streets of bird-scavenged bins and generally enjoy a clear pavement for a couple hours.
Would less frequent collections really translate to less rubbish? I slyly suspect, and this is harking back to hazy memories of my student days, that rather than throwing out less rubbish we would just end up becoming engulfed by it (or is that just me?).
More alarming than fewer collections is the grim possibility of a £466 annual bin charge – apparently council tax doesn’t necessarily cover the regular emptying of your household rubbish.
But of all recommendations, it’s new home buyers that might be left with the biggest bin gag, by having a capped amount that would limit how much they can throw away.
It just all sounds too mad to be true. Which sadly means that it probably is.