Persimmon has been rewarded for its wide range of energy-aware policies, both for today and for the future, in this Energy Saving Trust-sponsored category
Persimmon’s commitment to the environment stems from its formal approach to corporate social responsibility, adopted four years ago. Since then the company has introduced a range of policies and initiatives aimed at improving performance, environmental standards and energy efficiency in its widest sense. Initiatives range from establishing best practice in waste management to developing key performance indicators in the most important impact areas. The company is building energy-efficient homes using technology such as photovoltaics at a number of sites across the country, and in some locations is going further by producing homes to high EcoHomes standards. At a site in Irlam, it is developing a high-performance EcoHome as one of five homes of the future. These homes of the future will include such features as photovoltaic tiles, geothermal energy, smart systems to manage efficient use of power and heat and recycled and eco-friendly building materials. It is this all-encompassing approach to energy efficiency that really impressed the judges.
The winner of our Supply Chain or partnering Innovation category, Willmott Dixon has proven that it is also mindful of energy efficiency in the construction of its homes. So mindful, indeed, that an in-house EcoHomes assessor is there on hand to ensure that design and construction are up to scratch every step of the way. Tools used to improve energy efficiency include solar water heating, photovoltaic street lighting and ventilation and heat recovery systems. Most of Willmott Dixon’s houses – 70% of them in fact – are constructed using lightweight timber frame construction to dramatically improve airtightness and thermal performance. This was the case when it worked with client Places for People on the Broughton Atterbury 220-unit mixed-tenure development in Milton Keynes, which also boasts rainwater harvesting and high levels of insulation.
Peter and Pamela Bonsall’s demanding environmental brief for their planned four-bedroom house asked for a design that would be of low impact and sympathetic to the micro and macro environment, had an all year round usable solar space and natural light and ventilation. The design team’s response incorporates such energy-saving features as sheep’s wool insulation, double-glazed windows with low-E glass and argon-filled cavities, space heating via an air to water heat pump, and photovoltaic panels to power ventilation fans. The project is the latest to follow the INTEGER principles: combining construction innovation, sustainability, environmental features and improved technology.
Midas has realised that to make sustainable construction work, it has to be thought-through and offer the best possible value for money – by using passively obtained energy efficiency through siting, orientation and materials, for example. Midas now has a dedicated staff member registered as an EcoHomes assessor. Its dedication to all things ecological has extended to the Oak Meadow project, a sustainable project in Devon with Devon and Cornwall Housing Association that has been designed to be a model for rural social housing. These homes use natural light wherever possible, have low embodied energy and are orientated to make use of solar gain. There are water-efficient appliances and shared rainwater collection, meaning low consumption and low costs. Now, because of Midas’ expertise in creating energy-efficient homes, it has been selected as contractor on an EcoHomes exemplar project of 173 houses in Bude, Cornwall
The Building Communties awards 2005
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Energy-efficient housebuilder of the year: Winner persimmon homes