Thames Valley Forum Housing Group meeting on Sustainability

Thames Valley Forum Housing Group met for its second session on 22nd April to look at the topic of sustainability, which was very apt as the meeting took place on ‘Earth Day’.

The topic was selected as last October’s report had identified the need to “Work to make the region’s homes environmentally friendly by exchanging ideas and success stories in construction, design, retro-fit and other green initiatives”.

Therefore three speakers addressed these challenges followed by an interactive session chaired by Andrew Hunter, Director, Place, Planning & Regeneration at Bracknell Forest Council.

The scene was set by Tim Carey, Chief Product Director at Collida, part of the Willmott Dixon Group. They are passionate about leaving the right legacy and Willmott Dixon’s ‘Now or Never’ work has set out clear ambitions for example “all their new buildings and major refurbishments will achieve net zero operational carbon”.

Construction has a major place to play in the challenge and with the amount of Local Authorities declaring a Climate Emergency it is a key topic. Tim discussed their use of Passivhaus which is a standard with the goal of reducing heat losses to a minimum.

The second speaker was Ian Pritchett, Managing Director of Greencore Construction who gave an overview of their project in Springfield Meadows, Oxfordshire. They are now looking to take their approach to scale up to build a further 500 homes in Oxfordshire in the next five years that are carbon negative.

The final speaker was Johan Du Plessis, Founder of tepeo which provides an innovative Zero Emission Boiler. This is a key area given retrofitting will be a substantial part of ensuring housing helps meets the UK’s ambitious carbon emission targets. Tepeo are developing a technology to enable the rapid decarbonisation of domestic heating with no additional upfront or running costs to homeowners while supporting the transition to a decentralised, decarbonised and democratised energy system.

The group discussion focused on the challenges of taking these projects to scale. This leads onto the next Housing Group on innovation in construction and MMC taking place on 10th June.