Sustainable housing in the industry is playing a big part in becoming a greener UK. With all sectors of the economy gearing up for a green revolution there is a need to discuss the efforts within the property industry. While the UK has stringent environmental criteria for buildings the country has one of the least efficient housing stocks in Europe.
Although being environmentally friendly is of key concern, there are also financial benefits for homeowners and landlords that sustainable housing can offer. So as part of our sustainability month at Seraph Properties, we will go over why sustainable housing is important and how you can help your property to become more sustainable in the long-term.
The housing industry is one of the largest contributors to climate change overall. Heating and cooling homes consume around 40% of global energy consumption and contribute to 20% of CO2 emissions. So in terms of general emissions combating them in housing will go a long way to slowing the effects of climate change. There is also the issue of construction not being sustainable currently, as there is still much work to be done in this department regarding materials.
Materials like concrete and steel also release large quantities of CO2 yet are essential in most current constructions. So in order to meet our climate goals as a country, we need to make our homes more environmentally friendly to build and more sustainable to heat and cool. Playing your part in lowering carbon emissions is vital.
While most current construction relies on traditional building methods, more sustainable ones are starting to make their way into the housing market. These new sustainable methods are a mix of technological advancements and a better understanding of the natural world. One of the most popular sustainable building materials is wood or more specifically cross-laminated timber (CLT). With wood contributing to loss of bio-diversity and deforestation, there is a need to move away from large grazing areas for animals, CLT is great sustainable material that is already in use today. CLT is so strong that there are multiple high-rise buildings already made of it with the tallest being over 85 meters tall. Using sustainable materials will help you to keep long-term maintenance costs down, as well as keeping your property sustainable for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, CLT can be combined with building prefabrication. Here parts of a building would be constructed in a factory and transported to the construction site. This can allow more buildings to be constructed faster as there is less work to be done on sight and less of the construction process being affected by the weather. Modular homes are now demonstrating the latest in green architecture and technology. A modular home can reduce waste by 52% as they are built in factories it reduces waste significantly. Modular homes can reduce energy consumption by 72%, as they are usually powered by solar and can store electricity. When constructing a new property, it is important to consider green approaches to keep your carbon footprint low.
Heating and cooling homes are the largest portion of most people’s monthly bills and can be very energy intensive. So increasing the energy efficiency of homes is an important priority for the industry. The government already has legislation in place to prevent homes with an EPC rating lower than C from being rented by 2025. You can read more about this in our EPC rule changes article. Higher energy efficiency can be achieved by installing insulation and radiator thermostatic values which we also wrote about. There is also the option of installing a heat pump. Heat pumps are a great alternative to both boiler heating and traditional air conditioning as a single device can be used for both heating and cooling. Additionally, as they run off electricity heat pumps can be carbon neutral if the electricity production is.
Overall, there are many areas of the housing sector where sustainable practices is starting to be implemented. You can read more of our sustainability series and if you want to find out how we can make your property more sustainable get in contact with us and we can assist.