From the environmental benefits of offsite manufacturing to how to help residents create greener communities, Housing Digital talks with Tom Casey, director of Development and Sales at Golding Homes, to find out more about their drive to become one of the UK’s most sustainable housing associations
What prompted Golding Homes’ commitment to sustainability?
We have a commitment to improving our environmental performance as an employer and local landlord. In addition to meeting government guidance and legislation, committing to improving sustainability performance is the right thing to do for our customers, communities, and colleagues.
This commitment is underpinned by our board, who will be reviewing our new Environmental Strategy later this month.
Why did you join the Building Better coalition?
We joined Building Better as it supported our strategic plan objective to pursue the use of MMC in our development programme. We felt this is an area that benefits from partnership working.
We’ve shared ideas with our BB partners and the costs required to gather the correct expertise. We are now aggregating our land opportunities across the partners to provide us with economies of scale when securing an MMC provider.
We feel there are several sustainability benefits that can be associated with MMC. These include higher SAP rating due to air tightness from precision engineering approach; significantly less site wastage; the factory environment maximises efficient use of materials, with very low levels of waste; and far fewer site deliveries mean less traffic and air pollution in the locality of construction sites.
These features and more will assist our carbon net-zero objectives.
You recently completed your first MMC scheme at The Mallards. How does the development fit in with your sustainability agenda?
The Mallards development at St Marys Road, Swanley, was the first MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) scheme for Golding, delivered by Keepmoat Homes as main developer. Thirteen homes were built using modular construction methods by ilke Homes at their factory in Yorkshire, and then transported down to the site in Kent.
A mix of affordable rent and shared ownership homes, these modular houses benefit from being air-tight and super-insulated, making them more cost effective compared with existing homes. The homes are highly efficient with higher than average SAP scores. The development also includes electric car charger points for each house.
All the homes are now occupied with affordable rent customers moving in late 2019, and the MMC homes selling well for shared ownership tenure.
How have you been going about getting residents interested in green initiatives?
We have built strong partnerships with local charities and organisations to be able to engage with and promote green initiatives to our customers.
Working with charity Hands of Hope we funded the Get Growing project, providing residents with an opportunity grow their own food, in whatever space they have. We gave them Growing Kits to encourage them to start growing, which included seeds, compost, pots, and instructions, and support was available from Hands of Hope Head Gardener.
We were also able to enlist ‘Growing Buddies’, interested and involved customers who could help support various other initiatives such as community gardens.
We are working with our Grounds Maintenance contractor, idverde, to help transform some of our disused greenspaces to benefit the local environment; for example, by planting wildflower beds in some of our more populated areas and creating a small garden area outside an apartment block in Maidstone town centre.
Through our Community Chest Fund, we provided funding to help residents transform the community garden at their local Day Centre, allowing them to spend time together doing something they enjoy, while helping to improve their mental wellbeing and combat social isolation. The raised planters will be accessible so all residents can grow their own fruit and vegetables, and a new wildlife pond and garden will help attract bees and butterflies to the area.
How do you get tenants engaged in more invasive schemes such as retrofitting and the installation of heatpumps?
When factoring these kinds of initiatives into our homes and engaging with our residents, it is important that the main benefits are purely for our customers.
When we select retrofit options, we do so with customers in mind so that any changes we make do not force our customers into fuel poverty situations. We want to better understand the efficiency of the homes we own and provide tailored solutions to our customer’s needs and will be looking at new ways to ensure we do more of this in the future.
What sustainability initiatives are you looking to launch in the future?
Our focus will be improving the energy performance of our existing stock, in line with government guidelines for homes to be EPC C by 2030. We will use our new-build programme to further raise the level of the energy efficiency of all new homes we build and design.
We are planning a range of customer initiatives to support this sustainability drive. We will also be employing a dedicated Sustainability manager to provide in-house expertise across our business activities.
Main image: Golding Homes’ visit to ilke Homes’ Yorkshire factory
More from the Sustainability Showcase series:
- Sustainability Showcase | Tai Tarian
- Sustainability Showcase | Rooftop Housing Group
- Sustainability Showcase | Adra
- Sustainability Showcase | Valleys to Coast Housing
- Sustainability Showcase | CHP
- Sustainability Showcase | LiveWest
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