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Bespoke sustainability packages for homes in the UK

August 12, 2019

Envision worked in collaboration with Scenario Architecture, a boutique London-based practice to create bespoke sustainability packages, developed to support homeowners and signature housebuilders who want to achieve a higher level of sustainability for their home, with tangible benefits such as reduced operating costs and increased thermal comfort.

Here’s a breakdown of the 4 package options available to incorporate into new build and refurbished homes.

Bronze Level

The primary aim of this entry-level package is to ensure that compliance with Part L of Building Regulations can be achieved in a practical and affordable way.

Although this package targets regulatory alignment only, Envision work with the design team and advise on design measures that can be easily and effectively integrated into the construction to improve energy performance and reduce CO2 emissions in the home, without influencing the overall cost.

Silver Level

Level Silver aims to build upon the analysis of Level Bronze in order to further enhance the energy efficiency and CO2 reductions of the new home, along with bolstering the sustainability credentials of the proposal for the planning application.

Using SAP, and in collaboration with the scheme architect, Envision follow the best practice Energy Hierarchy to optimise the design, which encompasses; ‘Be-Lean’ (advice on using less energy through optimal building design), ‘Be-Clean’ (advice on suppling energy efficiently through building services) and ‘Be-Green’ (analysing optimal renewable technologies for your home, i.e. solar panels).

We aim for the design to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% when compared against a benchmark dwelling, which is a nationally recognised best practice standard.

The strategy is presented in an Energy & Sustainability Statement, which can be submitted as part of the planning application for the home. Traditionally, Energy & Sustainability Statements are reserved for larger applications, and so it helps to bolster the sustainability and energy credentials of the home during the planning process.

Gold Level

Level Gold is our most popular package as it provides a step change in terms of sustainable building design. It aims to provide a home that delivers on ‘comfort’ and promotes ‘well-being’.

Whilst Bronze and Silver use regulatory tools to measure performance, Level Gold uses advanced software and our design advice to deliver a home that not only considers CO2 emissions, but also maximises the occupiers’ enjoyment of the indoor environment, whilst reducing running costs.

Envision build a 3D ‘Dynamic Simulation Model’ of the home, and using this model run a number of different calculations to inform design solutions to maximise internal daylight, reduce the risk of overheating and promote overall thermal comfort. Using our ‘Passive Design’ approach, we ensure the home is designed to be naturally lit, heated and cooled as far as possible, reducing the need for artificial solutions.

Working closely with the architect, we undertake an assessment of the home’s predicted actual energy and water requirements to ensure the proposed design measures have an impact on reducing the home’s resource use, and associated costs. This is based on an understanding of how the homeowner uses the home, including occupancy patterns and behaviour analysis.

Diamond Level

Pursuing a Level Diamond home simply means achieving an exemplar sustainable home. This is a formidable package, and acts in support of homes seeking the highest environmental standards, such as Paragraph 79 homes.

Building on the design solutions and strategies from Level Bronze, Silver and Gold, this package examines the design from a whole life cycle perspective, in the pursuit of a building that is not only ‘zero carbon’, but also considers a wider range of environmental indicators, from ecological impact through to indoor air quality.

This includes both Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) analyses of the design to ensure whole life carbon and costs are considered. The home is certified either through the Home Quality Mark (for new homes) or through the ‘BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment’ (for refurbished homes). These assessments clearly indicate to the homeowner the overall expected costs, health and wellbeing benefits, and environmental footprint associated with living in the home. Part of this includes a detailed ecology appraisal and strategy, to tie in with the landscaping strategy.

If you are looking to enhance your future home(s) sustainability get in touch to discuss the packages in more detail, and to find out the most suitable package for you.

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