Building A-rated homes is just the first step towards an ambitious Green Agenda, independent developer Archway Homes has pledged.
The Cheshire-based family-run business believes the new homes industry can lead by example in helping cut carbon emissions.
Rachael Whelan, Land and Sustainability Director at Archway Homes, said: “The housing industry has the ability to lead the sustainable agenda, and to clearly demonstrate how practical solutions can be delivered. It is hoped that the government will recognise the commitment of our industry and will work with us in delivering a sustainable future.
“Our short term objective is to launch our new specification which will ensure all our houses are A-rated (EPC).
Archway will introduce the new A-rated specification at Lime Tree Grange, Cheshire Oaks.
The company already carries out planting to promote biodiversity and will be introducing hedgehog holes in fences; presenting customers with bird and bug boxes for their gardens and offering guidance on how to encourage wildlife to their gardens.
“We have always endeavoured to build houses which exceed minimum standards. As such our houses were already energy efficient but this is about doing more. Making the houses A-rated and enabling our customers to live more efficiently, and save them running costs in the process,” Rachael added.
“But improving the energy efficiency of our houses to A-rated is only the first step. Part of our plan for the future is to assess the materials we use in our houses and identify where we could use more sustainable alternatives. This is a process that will require a significant amount of work by the team.”
It is a reflection of Archway’s commitment to a sustainable future that the company is funding the changes to the specification at no additional cost to the consumer.
At present the design of Archway’s homes can readily accommodate the changes proposed, however the homebuilder recognises there will be step changes. For example, if air source heat pumps become the norm, house types may need to be redesigned to accommodate the technology
Going forward, Archway believes a number of the changes within the supply chain will need to be driven by the government, for example, the removal of gas boilers. The company is looking to work with other businesses committed to the green agenda.
“The main challenge for the industry is in the final adoption of a zero carbon agenda, exactly as it was in the noughties,” Rachael added.
“This requires a totally holistic approach, as not only will developers have to adopt the appropriate specifications but our infrastructure will need to be upgraded accordingly and our manufacturing base developed to deliver the technology that will be necessary, in a cost effective manner.
“The key challenge to adopting more sustainable building practices, is the recognition that we have to address the issues of today. This is largely a state of mind and a determination to find sustainable ways of housing our future population.”