We have an ambitious target to build 1,000 homes in and around Bristol by 2025. This will have a lasting impact on the city and on the lives of residents.
Warm, comfortable, efficient
Britain has the oldest housing stock in Europe. This is an incredible legacy – Victorian homes built over 100 years ago still providing so much of our family housing in Bristol and the surrounding areas. Yet many people have also experienced living in a cold, draughty home which is costly to heat and prone to damp.
Our approach is to build in a high level of comfort and efficiency from the start. We insulate our homes far beyond the minimum requirements and install triple glazing. We also ensure that the buildings are air-tight. This prevents draughts and heat loss. Recent developments have also used Porotherm clay blocks for construction. These are very good at retaining heat.
This approach is called ‘fabric first’. It means that the building performs well because of the high quality approach in design and construction. It also means we won’t need to add changes later on to improve efficiency.
Fresh warm air
To make sure our air-tight buildings have fresh air circulating inside, we install a mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) system. As air is ventilated out of the house, the heat is recycled to warm up the fresh air ventilated into the house. The MVHR also filters out pollution, pollen and other pollutants. This promotes comfort and health, particularly for those who suffer from asthma and allergies.
Robust and attractive
It is a sad fact that many homes are not built to last nor designed to be cherished. Our approach is to design around the needs of our residents. We focus on enhancing the community and using high quality materials that should last a lifetime. Each building is designed by architects to make a positive difference to the environment.
Maintenance is the hidden cost of housing. If we build cheap homes with lower quality materials, we shift the burden of cost onto future generations. This is unsustainable and more expensive in the long run. Our motto is: do it right, do it once! We build homes that are fit for the future.
Efficient homes are also more environmentally friendly. They require less heat so create fewer emissions for the lifetime of that home. We build to the highest possible energy performance that is feasible within the project budget and timescales.
Where possible, we build to Passivhaus standards. This technology aims for an equal three-way split of heating: one third is recycled from the building via the ventilation system, another third is generated via solar panels, and the remaining third relies on supplied fuel.
In Bristol and South Gloucestershire, local planning has ambitious targets for energy efficiency that are above the national standards. We make sure that all our planning applications for homes are around 20% more efficient on emissions than standard building regulations demand.