• sustainability | carbon emissions | ecology
    sustainability | carbon emissions | water efficiency
  • retrofit | fuel poverty | energy efficient | energy costs
    retrofit | fuel poverty | energy efficient | energy costs
  • Solar PV | feed in tarriff | reduce energy costs | fuel poverty
    Solar PV | feed in tarriff | reduce energy costs |
  • Carbon emissions | fabric efficiency | fuel poverty | energy costs | fuel poverty
    Carbon emissions | fabric efficiency | fuel poverty | energy costs | energy demand
  • Resources | Carbon emissions | waste
    Resources | Carbon emissions | timber | resource management
  • Water efficiency | bills |
    Efficiency | flooding | energy costs | bills |
  • Solar Thermal | RHI | energy costs | lower bills
    Solar Thermal | Feed in tariff | RHI | energy costs | lower bills
  • fuel poverty | on-demand heating | energy bills
    fuel poverty | on-demand heating | energy costs |

Sustainable Homes Blog

New build 10% cheaper, loads of % better – using BIM

Posted by Richard Lupo on 31/05/16 07:30

We’re told that when a bricklayer first walks onto a building site, the first thing he or she does is not lay any bricks.  They spend quite a bit of time working out exactly where the windows should be.  This is because they want to position them exactly such that there is a neat half brick / whole brick pattern around the window frame.  A very neat aim, but surely this is all on the architect’s drawing.  Well, apparently not.  Not, that is, unless the drawing is created under a Building Information Modelling (BIM) regime.  A BIM drawing would show bricklayers exactly where the windows should be to create the desired, neat effect.  This can save nearly a day of bricklayers’ time on site and serves as just one example of how BIM can cut costs on site.

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Topics: Sustainability, New build, Energy efficiency, BIM

New research finds nearly half of UK couples argue over the heating

Posted by Guest Author on 25/05/16 07:30


The weather is getting warmer, but that doesn’t mean we’re all switching our heating off just yet. The inevitable heating debates continue. Nearly half of couples argue over whether or not to touch the thermostat, according to a survey commissioned by heating and air conditioning specialist Andrews Sykes.

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Topics: Heating, Bills

New funding announced to support smart meter rollout

Posted by Guest Author on 18/05/16 07:30

A new fund launches today, open to applications from not-for-profit organisations who can help engage people and communities across Britain with information about how to get and use smart meters.

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Topics: Funding, Energy, housing sector

Three steps to resolving London's housing crisis

Posted by Arianna Sdei on 17/05/16 07:30

A recent report commissioned by the housing charity Shelter encourages the release of green belt land to respond to the housing crisis in London, concluding that redundant brownfield sites cannot possibly deliver the expansion targets that the mayoral candidates have promised to deliver. The population in the capital is expected to grow by nearly half a million in the next decade and the mayor’s own assessment suggests that 50,000 homes per year will have to be built to meet the need, more than double the recent build rates. We support steps to up the build rate to this level as Sadiq Khan promised.

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Topics: Retrofit, Sustainability, New build, housing sector

SunConcept joins SHIFT sustainability benchmarking group

Posted by Arianna Sdei on 13/05/16 07:30

SunConcept, the leading installer and maintainer of solar PV, has joined the SHIFT, the national benchmarking group.  Recent changes to the Feed in Tariff have presented a challenge to the industry as well as social landlords, SunConcept use the latest CAD and solar modelling software to ensure energy generation and income are maximised and the numbers stack up – as well as providing free electricity for residents and cutting emissions.

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Topics: Renewable energy & heat, Allowable Solutions, Energy efficiency

PRESS RELEASE| Sustainable housing awards to give boost to under-pressure sector

Posted by John Stapleton on 11/05/16 11:02

Social landlords, developers and the supply chain are being encouraged to celebrate sustainability achievements by submitting to national awards which are open for entries this week. The SHIFT Awards are the sustainability awards for the housing sector, with half of the categories open to all.

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Topics: Sustainability, SHIFT accreditation standard, Housing Associations, SHIFT awards

A life more noble: compulsory reading for the housing & construction sector

Posted by Richard Lupo on 09/05/16 07:30

Encouraging people to lead a noble life was one of the driving forces behind the work of social housing pioneer Octavia Hill. Reflections on her ambition and the extent to which we have achieved it (or not!) are relayed in a recent book by Octavia Housing Association. I would urge everyone to get it.

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A small win for energy efficiency: tenants can now request improvements

Posted by Daniel Navarro on 03/05/16 07:30

The 1st of April was a small step forward for energy efficiency: tenants in private rented accommodation now have the right to request energy efficiency improvements according to the Private Rented Sector Tenants’ Energy Efficiency Improvements Provisions.

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Topics: Retrofit, Funding, Energy, Residents

Zero carbon homes policy lives on - what will Mayoral candidates do for housing standards

Posted by Arianna Sdei on 27/04/16 07:30

It is only a week before Londoners head to the polls to choose a successor to the incumbent Boris Johnson, stepping down from an office which enjoys considerable powers over housing, planning and energy. Each candidate has a different idea on how to resolve the shortage – but all have promised to build 200,000 homes by 2020 or 50,000 every year.

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Topics: Renewable energy & heat, Zero carbon, Regulations & Standards, Housing

One of the most sustainable landlords in the country – “How we achieved gold accreditation”

Posted by Guest Author on 20/04/16 13:05

Catalyst is one of the leading housing associations in London and the South East. We are an award-winning developer and manage more than 22,000 homes for people on a range of incomes – from social, affordable and intermediate rented homes, to sheltered housing, shared ownership as well as homes for outright sale.

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Topics: Sustainability, SHIFT accreditation standard, Offices & operations, Housing Associations, SHIFT landlord, Residents, Bills, Energy efficiency

28 home passivhaus scheme subsidised by council - how it was built

Posted by Arianna Sdei on 19/04/16 13:00

The UK Government Construction strategy has two challenging targets for 2025. These include an expectation of 1.7- 2.5 million new homes and 50% less carbon by 2025.  The UK’s 26 million existing homes also need to change.  The Climate Change Act targets require homes to be improved to emit 90% less carbon by 2050. So each home built to higher standards helps towards that goal and also, of course, helps with comfort and lower bills for residents.

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Topics: Passivhaus, Energy efficiency, low carbon

Accuflow join leading sustainability benchmarking group

Posted by Arianna Sdei on 11/04/16 07:30

Accuflow, a leading provider of water management services, have become the latest organisation to partner with SHIFT, the sustainability standard for the housing sector.

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Topics: Sustainability, Water, Benchmarking

Free damp and mould action plan for landlords

Posted by Richard Lupo on 07/04/16 07:30

Excess humidity, damp and mould growth is present in almost half of UK homes, with severe cases affecting over 598,000 properties.  A significant majority of these belong to social housing providers for whom this is a long standing problem, and the costs are substantial.[1]

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Topics: Heating, Health, SHIFT partner, Wellbeing, ventillation

Adapting homes to overheating

Posted by Arianna Sdei on 06/04/16 07:30

Back in December 2014, 75 housebuilders, social landlords, architects and others representing 208,047 homes in the UK participated in our survey, produced with the Zero Carbon Hub, on overheating in homes. The survey asked participants to describe, for example, how they define and assess overheating risk in residential properties. It also asked those responding to say what was motivating them to take action. Customer satisfaction came high on the list. Other incentives included having had overheating problems in the past, and the presence of local authority requirements in Local Plans.

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Topics: Overheating, Climate change, Adaptation

Free heat meter surveys for social landlords

Posted by Richard Lupo on 05/04/16 07:30

At Sustainable Homes we know that the recent heat metering regulations have concentrated effort on installing meters in heat networks.  This is good for residents, because they get charged only for what they use as opposed to a flat rate regardless of what they use.  It’s also good for the environment because, when heat meters are installed the heat usage is generally more efficient and so results in fewer carbon emissions.

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Topics: Heating, Energy, Bills

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