We are endeavouring to incorporate sustainable and eco-friendly materials and ideas into as many of our developments as possible.
Sustainable property, and sustainable property development, is rightly being discussed more and more seriously. Our main focus is on energy efficiency, and on keeping the SAPS (Standard Assessment Procedure) as high as possible in our buildings. A SAP Rating is a way of comparing energy performance of different homes – it results in a figure between 1 and 100+ (100 representing zero energy cost, with anything over meaning you’re exporting energy). The higher the SAP rating, the lower the fuel costs and the lower the associated emissions of carbon dioxide.
This not only means that owning a new-build property could save money on energy bills, but also that new homes have a reduced impact on the planet. Responsible, sustainable property investment benefits the investors themselves, as well as the planet moreover.
The way we achieve this increased sustainability rating at Stephens + Stephens is through better insulation of walls, floors, and roof space using rigid foam insulation. Typically an uninsulated house will lose energy in a number of ways:
– 25% of its heat through the roof
– 33% through the walls
– 15% through the floors
– 15% through draughts
– 20% through the windows.
This inefficiency, combined with underfloor heating systems that carry the pipework connected to an air source heat pump, offer a very sustainable and efficient means of heating. In order to achieve Net Zero by 2050, the UK government aims to install 19 million heat pumps in new builds; with this increase in heat pump deployment, the UK government heat pump grants make this renewable energy source even cheaper to run and reduces the burden of air source heat pump costs. We have been installing such systems into our new homes wherever practical, offering energy and running cost savings.
We are also constantly striving to make our windows more efficient, with not only an aesthetically and functional design at the forefront of our designs, but one that will offer heat and energy saving qualities with improved U- values. A U-value is used to measure how well or how badly a component transmits heat from the inside to the outside. The slower or more difficult it is for heat to transfer through the component, the lower the U-value. This means that we are looking for a lower U-value using either double or triple glazed sections of glazing with solar reducing qualities where necessary to reduce glare and heat gain. The lower the U-value, the better.
Many of our developments are now incorporating energy-efficient lighting and power control systems, which include timers to control sensible use of power, PIR sensors, and LED lamps to reduce power consumption and extend life. We also source energy-efficient appliances for kitchens, and will continue to investigate where PV (photovoltaic) panels offer benefit to a property. Photovoltaic panels are installed for the conversion of thermal energy into electricity. As the power generated by solar panels is from a renewable and sustainable source, we are reducing the carbon footprint of your home and helping to create a greener tomorrow.
Also, by taking steps into making our houses more energy efficient, it is commonly found that solar photovoltaic panels can provide the bulk of a home’s electricity and will save money year after year.
As we continue to become a more eco-conscious developer we seek to use materials that are from sustainable sources, with wood flooring and cladding and timber from certifiable and traceable sources (FSA – Forest Stewardship Council managed sources). The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. Since its foundation in 1994, the FSC has grown to become the world’s most respected and widespread forest certification system.
The FSC’s pioneering certification system, which now covers more than 200 million hectares of forest, enables businesses and consumers to choose wood, paper and other forest products made with materials that support responsible forestry.
Finally, we also try to incorporate the use of ‘Green Roofs’ in our developments. Green roofs serve several purposes for a building, such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation, creating a habitat for wildlife, increasing benevolence and decreasing stress of the people around the roof by providing a more aesthetically pleasing landscape, and helping to lower urban air temperatures and mitigate the heat island effect. There are two types of green roof: intensive roofs, which are thicker and can support a wider variety of plants but are heavier and require more maintenance and extensive roofs, which are shallow, ranging in depth and lighter than intensive green roofs, and require minimal maintenance. We select the right green roof for an environment with the best choice of vegetation and growing mediums.