Building a new housing development can come with a lot of challenges. Increasingly the need to mitigate the impact a development has on the environment and the local wildlife is becoming more important. If you’re planning to build a housing development, it is crucial, therefore, that you make the best choices for sustainability in your properties. This can improve your reputation as a housing developer, increase demand for your properties and, overall, boost profits.
It can help to consult with professionals when considering the ways to improve the environmental impact of your housing development. This article will explore some of the key ways to improve your properties and reduce the potential environmental and ecological implications.
Install Solar Panels As Standard
Solar panels can be a great way to reduce the amount of non-renewable energy a home uses. Installing them as standard on all of your properties can improve energy efficiency, save your future homeowners money and show that you’re committed to protecting the planet.
Consider Water Conservation
Reducing the amount of water wastage during construction and in the finished properties can have a positive impact on the environment. Consider finding ways to recycle water around the construction site and install rainwater harvesting systems in the finished properties. This can help reduce water wastage in the long term.
Use High-Quality Insulation
Using insulation that will last will save homeowners money over time by increasing energy efficiency, making it a major selling point for a new property. Ensure that you install it in all gaps that could let in cold air, such as the loft, wall cavities and under floors. Ideally, you should install insulation made from sustainable and biodegradable materials, avoiding plastics where possible.
Put In LED Lighting
If you plan to provide lighting for your homeowners before they complete their purchase, you should ensure that you use the most energy-efficient LED lighting. LED lights are significantly better for the environment than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last upwards of 10 years.
Use Sustainable And Ethically Sourced Materials
Where possible, you should ensure that your properties are built using locally sourced, sustainable materials. Choosing recycled materials can further reduce the environmental impact of your development, particularly for plastic materials. Research local suppliers that offer recycled or reclaimed materials.
Go Above And Beyond In Biodiversity Net Gain
Having a biodiversity net gain of at least 10% will become mandatory for developments in the coming years. While the regulations are not yet in place, you can get ahead of the curve by offering a net gain of 10% or above on your current or subsequent development.
In simplistic terms, a biodiversity net gain means that the site retains all of the biodiversity it had to begin with, as well as an additional 10%. The more you can add to the net gain, the better for the local environment and wildlife. Check out this guide to Biodiversity Net Gain by the leading arboriculturalists and ecologists at Arbtech.
Consider Triple Glazing
Installing windows that are triple glazed can help improve the energy efficiency of a new property. While double glazing can be beneficial, it is best to choose high-quality triple glazing for the best in energy efficiency for maximum benefit. Triple glazing can also provide benefits for noise pollution, making homes more soundproof.
Build Near To Transportation Links
Choosing the right location for your housing development can help mitigate the impact on the environment its inhabitants will have in the future. It is a good idea to build near to good public transport links, shops and other amenities. This will reduce the amount that residents will need to use their cars which, in turn, reduces emissions.
Provide Habitats For Local Wildlife
Consider installing habitats for local wildlife throughout your development. Bat roosts, bird boxes and butterfly houses can all increase and encourage the amount of local fauna in your development. You could consider making the roofs of your properties into green roofs, which can increase energy efficiency for the property while providing a habitat for flora and fauna.
Make It Pedestrian And Cycle Friendly
Ensuring there is proper infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists can encourage residents to use alternative modes of transport. Consider finding ways to connect your development to local cycle paths and making it simple to get around on foot with ample pedestrian walkways.
Invest In Quality All Round
Choosing high-quality materials for everything from the foundations up can ensure that the properties you build will stand the test of time. This means that the homeowners won’t need to make any significant changes or retrofitting that will cost them money and negatively impact the environment. Housing renovations can be costly and cause significant knock-on effects for the local environment, so reducing the need for renovations can be invaluable.
Aim For The Highest EPC Standard
Currently, the minimum EPC standard for a new building is E, with a minimum of C coming into effect by 2025. An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is the standard of energy efficiency for a building, with A being the most energy-efficient and G being the least. Aiming to build properties with an EPC of A should be the top priority for any environmentally conscious housing developer.
Include Green Spaces
Building a development with plenty of green spaces can enhance the residents’ enjoyment of their property and neighbourhood and provide essential habitats for the local wildlife. It can also help improve air quality. You should aim to have as much greenery as possible in your development.
Hedgerows, trees, fields and other greenery can all have a positive impact on the broader environment. It can also help reduce the risk of flooding by allowing plenty of opportunities for rainfall to be absorbed.
Building a sustainable and environmentally friendly housing development is crucial to appeal to prospective homeowners. While the initial cost of various sustainable enhancements can be high, the benefits outweigh the cost. It is essential to get advice from professional experts to help you ensure that the choices you make for your development will improve on the environment you’re building within.