Sustainability in Construction
With the increasing need for new homes in the UK and to meet the demands of our ever-growing population, it’s becoming more prevalent that homes need to be built in ways that benefit both residents and the environment.
Construction is a resource-heavy industry. Materials and tools used can have a long term impact on the surrounding environment, for instance, the extraction of raw materials for cement and bricks. As one of the largest users of global resources and contributors to pollution, this industry has a moral and ethical responsibility to aid sustainability.
Sustainable construction supports the use of renewable and recyclable resources and materials, as well as efforts to reduce waste and energy consumption. It provides a longer term value to residents by utilising designs which protect the natural environment over time.
Building sustainably provides social, economic and environmental benefits. According to the World Green Building Council, green buildings provide “the most effective means to achieving a range of global goals…addressing climate change, creating sustainable and thriving communities, and driving economic growth”.
Today we’re spotlighting companies who are actively working to tackle climate change and championing sustainable construction. In this piece, we spoke to the team at Hill Group about one of their latest new home developments, Knights Park.
Hill Group’s Knights Park Project
Knights Park is a collection of new homes ranging from striking villas and townhouses to attractive mews and apartments, set in Eddington, the University of Cambridge’s newest district of Cambridge. The new homes have been designed for the 21st century in collaboration with award-winning architects Alison Brooks and Pollard Thomas Edwards and are the first private residential phase at Eddington.
Setting the standard in sustainable living, the development places the well-being of residents, sustainability and ecology at the forefront of the design. It uses innovative, seamlessly integrated methods to minimise environmental impact, with key features including a development-wide rainwater harvesting system and underground waste management system.
The 240 new houses and apartments have sustainability at the heart of their construction, from robust insulation and triple glazing to photovoltaic panels and heat recovery systems.
Quality of life is the centre of focus at Knights Park, and the homes have been designed to provide a rich environment where sustainability is integrated into everyday life, becoming the new normal. Living well and reducing environmental impact is key to the lifestyle of Knights Park and its residents — benefitting from Eddington’s neighbourhood system for living lightly, the new homes have easy access to sustainable, energy-saving features.
Hill Group have worked in collaboration to enable a number of sustainable features in the construction of this development including:
- A development-wide rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage system which reduces domestic water consumption by almost half the UK average.
- The site-wide energy centre delivers heat and hot water to homes across the development, with the properties being connected to a large combined heat and power unit. This heating system is more cost-effective than traditional individual boilers.
- A dedicated cycle and walking link at the heart of the development and a network of connecting pathways links, opening access for residents and wider communities.
- Over 12,000 bike parking spaces have been introduced across the development along with a selection of electric car charging spaces.
- The surrounding areas have been landscaped for bio-diversity and wildlife. More than 2,400 trees have also been planted across the first phase of the development.
- Solar photovoltaic panels are included on each house at Knights Park, and for apartments, the panels are located on top of each apartment block. The solar PV panels on the apartments are used toward the lighting and power of communal areas.
- Green roofs at Knights Park benefit Eddington’s ecology and slows rain run-off to help prevent flooding.
Hill is an award-winning housebuilder and one of the leading developers in London and the south east of England, delivering both private for sale and affordable homes.
Hill builds around 2,400 homes a year, with 9,900 homes currently under construction and a pipeline of more than 14,000 homes. Around half of the development portfolio is in a joint venture to deliver mixed tenure developments, reflecting Hill’s commitment to partnerships with government, local authorities, housing associations and private clients.
Hill is committed to reaching net zero carbon in their business operations and in the homes they build by 2030.
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