Peabody Trust's high-profile BedZED scheme in Sutton, Surrey, has set new standards in green housebuilding, and the project is just one manifestation of a bold strategy through which the housing association is aiming to be a sustainable, carbon-neutral, zero-waste business by 2020. To take it steadily towards that aim, Peabody has set itself a series of demanding targets that embrace a range of sustainability issues, including substituting its car and van fleet with more environmentally friendly alternatives and generating renewable electricity. It is currently calculating its eco-footprint – the amount of land and water it requires to sustain itself – and will then be coming up with a plan dedicated to reducing the total. As a London housing provider, Peabody is demonstrating that the capital's inexorable growth does not have to be at the expense of the environment.
The first and second place holders in this category could not be more different. Whereas Peabody develops in London, Fyne is developing homes for the rural west coast of Scotland where communities are struggling to sustain themselves economically and populations are declining. Fyne worked with environmental consultant Enviros Aspinwall to produce a policy that is affecting the housing association's own office practice, the homes it builds and the local economy. For a 50-unit scheme in Lochgilphead in Argyll, Fyne is using local wood residue to fuel a communal biomass heating system, which will help to sustain local jobs in the forestry sector, contribute to the local economy and produce low-cost energy. The judges praised the fact that a relatively small organisation was prepared to take on big challenges.
Residents of Beckenham in Kent have benefited from Laing Homes' environmental strategy without even buying one of the company's homes. Efficient management of site waste at the housebuilder's Langley Park development reduced its number of lorry journeys in the town by 2400. Waste minimisation is just one of a number of features of Laing's BEST (Building to enable a sustainable tomorrow) campaign, launched two years ago. The campaign is based on an environmental management system that recognises potential for continuous improvement, and environmental innovations, such as photovoltaic panels, are being trialled by the company. Laing has even encouraged staff to become more sustainable at home by giving everyone a "water hog" water saver to pop into their toilet cistern.
a comprehensive vision that has been translated to targets and action
Berkeley Homes' sustainability policy came into force in February, and is the foundation for an approach that will include external auditing, best practice reporting within the company and development of key performance indicators and feedback systems. A performance monitor is being applied to all developments covering such issues as energy efficiency, transport, waste, and contribution to the local economy. Project development teams performing well under the company's performance monitoring procedure will be contenders for an annual in-house sustainability award.
Building Homes Quality Awards
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Best company-wide sustainability strategy