Environmental issues best practice
Insulation helps to keep you warm. It stops heat escaping from your home. Who would have thought it could be made from the paper we recycle? Currently, energy use in buildings accounts for 50% of the UK's dangerous CO2 emissions. Minimising heat loss from our homes helps to reduce this, and the cost of heating. It can also provide a healthier and more comfortable environment.
Solar photovoltaics (PV)
Solar PV cells are used to generate electricity from sunlight or daylight. They are usually located on the roof of a building, with the pitch of the roof orientated towards the south, or sometimes on the façade of a building.
The electricity generated by solar pv cells can be used in the building, and any surplus can be exported to the national grid. With the cost of electricity on the increase, generating our own is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
We have completed five solar PV installations to demonstrate different applications including retrofitted panels on flats roofs, integrated thin film PV roof and PV tiles on a new tiled roof.
Projects benefiting from PV include:
- Tomkyns House - 45 dwellings
- Warwick House - 18 dwellings
- Langholm Close - 43 dwellings
For more information on solar PV visit:
The feed-in tariff (FIT) was introduced in April 2010 with the aim of increasing the number of renewable electricity installations.
Solar thermal involves using the sun to heat water through solar panels and storing it in a hot water tank providing hot water for general household use. The panels work throughout daylight hours, even if the sky is overcast and there is no direct sunshine. We have installed solar thermal on 24 homes at Banesbury Close, and on other street properties.
For more information on Solar Thermal please see the following websites:
Community heating and combined heat and power (CHP)
CHP plants generate heat and electricity in one process. Waste heat from the communal boilers are recovered and used by the CHP unit in heating water and generating electricty.
This is a highly efficient method of producing electricity at the point of use and reducing primary energy usage by 35%, whereas conventional electricity production produces waste heat through the generation and transport of heat. This can lead to cost savings, and reduce CO2 output by 30 to 50% compared with coal fired power stations and 10% compared with gas.
We are installing CHP at Ethelred and Roupell Park estates to reduce CO2 and energy use.
For more information on Community Heating and CHP please see the Combined Heat and Power Association website.
We are committed to incorporating the use of sustainable timber in our construction projects. Contract administrators, other construction professionals and contractors are required to demonstrate that their projects use only sustainable timber with the internationally recognised Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) "chain of custody" certification.
Water recycling systems
The average per capita consumption of water in the UK is 129 litres a day. Despite apparently plentiful rainfall, we are water deficient in many locations with water demand exceeding supply.
On average, 45% of water supplied to domestic properties is discharged as 'greywater' that comes from the bath/shower, hand basins and laundry. By recycling this water and using it for purposes such as toilet flushing, watering gardens and car washing, we can reduce our water consumption considerably.
Onsite recycling of water, where wastes are treated and reused at the point of generation, helps to 'close the loop', thereby achieving the greatest reduction in environmental impact aside from reducing initial water consumption. Water recycling systems are one of a number of sustainability initiatives we are looking at.
Green roof systems
Green roofs are a great opportunity to increase the sustainability of dwellings and increase the visual amenity of an area.
Recent costs on repairs to a roof at Oval were shown to be only 15% more for a green roof over the cost of the standard roofing system required to meet building regulations.
The ecological benefits and increased lifetime of the roof far exceeds the cost and only minimal maintenance is required to ensure the benefits are maintained. The major benefits are:
- controlled flow of rainwater by reducing drainage load, increasing evaporation and allowing for directed flows
- providing safe natural habitat for wildlife and birds
- Improved thermal performance by reducing heat absorption during warm weather
- increased life expectancy of roof waterproofing through reduced weather impacts
- Reduced noise through better insulation
- improved air quality by reducing dust and airborne particles
- reduced ambient air temperature through reduced reflected solar heat
- increased visual amenity.
For more information on Green Roof Systems visit: