Winner — Berkeley Homes

Berkeley Homes was so pleased with its first carbon neutral development at West 3 London Apartments in Acton, west London, that it has decided to make sure its headquarters follow suit in 2007. And this is just for starters. In the past 12 months the developer has overhauled its waste management strategy, built its first scheme using modern methods of construction – and cut waste by two-thirds into the bargain – and even worked with the Royal Navy to create a reef in the North Sea off Gosport by sinking two decommissioned frigates. Expect to see more of the same in the future. Next year, Berkeley plans to ensure that all its schemes are assessed by the EcoHomes standard – this year its scheme at Ropetackle in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, was awarded an “excellent” rating. It says it will also set itself “more challenging targets” to improve the environment at its developments and will up the ante in the performance indicators used to measure overall sustainability.

Runners up

Barratt Developments

In May Barratt let the world see what it had been up to on its scheme in Chorley, Lancashire. The seven houses in the EcoSmart Show Village are packed with wind, solar and geothermal technology, so it wasn’t surprising that it won an “excellent” rating from the EcoHomes team. Could they be coming to a site near you?

Countryside Properties

Countryside has increased the amount it saves each year through its sustainable measures from £1.4m to £1.5m, 93% of its homes are built on brownfield land and last year all of its homes were rated “good” or better by EcoHomes. However, this wasn’t quite enough to keep last year’s winner at the top of the pile. Countryside is acting to remedy this by aiming for most of its homes to be rated “very good” or “excellent” by 2012.

Gower Homes

This family-run housebuilder from Wrexham in north Wales has raised the sustainability bar on the other side of Offa’s Dyke by building the first scheme in Wales to receive a rating of “very good”. It achieved this at its Lower Dee Mill project in Llangollen. Gower ensures all electrical appliances it installs are rated either AA or AB in terms of energy use and it sources all of its timber from sustainably managed forests.

St George

London developer St George is able to make an unusual claim: it has begun the UK’s first electric car club at its St George Wharf development in the west of the capital. Besides this it has some more common claims to fame: it has cut waste 30% at its 658-home project at Battersea Reach and has reclaimed a stretch of the northern bank of the Thames for birdlife. Its pièce de résistance, however, will be the 50-storey Vauxhall Tower, which will include a wind turbine and cut energy costs by 60% by tapping into the Thames aquifer.

Willmott Dixon housing

Not to be out done on the electric car front, two Willmott Dixon board members drive petrol and electric hybrid cars. The business has been shortlisted for other reasons, too, as 70% of its homes this year were built with either timber or light steel frames.