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Putting the zero carbon ambition within reach

Development director Ulrike Maccariello discusses Hastoe's journey towards zero carbon and putting that ambition within reach for all new affordable homes.

5 October 2020

Hastoe specialises in affordable, rural and sustainable developments. And it makes us experts in managing the fine line between delivering energy-efficient homes and keeping building costs at an acceptable level.

Ten years ago, we went one step further with the development of our first, rural certified Passivhaus scheme in Essex. Passivhaus homes are built to meticulous standards and use very little energy for heating, without compromising the comfort of householders. Although our residents in Wimbish, Essex were initially sceptical about the lack of radiators in their new Hastoe Passivhaus homes, they were soon converted when the first gas bills landed on their doormats at a fraction of the anticipated cost.



Hastoe's first Passivhaus development at Wimbish in Uttlesford, Essex

Passivhaus homes are often more expensive to build, which can put them out of reach as affordable housing. But our experience with Passivhaus means we have been able to emulate some of the principles in our own Hastoe New Homes Standard, which finely balances energy efficiency against cost. And this we see as the start of our Hastoe journey to zero carbon."

In the Hastoe New Home Standard we set out how we deliver energy efficient homes that are well designed and meet UK targets for carbon reduction. It also covers water efficiency, property size and adaptability and accessibility – with the ultimate ambition of homes having minimal impact on the environment. As part of the Standard we are also investing in the fabric of our homes with high standards of quality control throughout the process. Alongside this, we’re providing more clarity to our partners on what they can expect from us and what we will expect from them.

And we will of course continue to deliver Passivhaus schemes, where they are financially viable and where we can work with like-minded local authorities. My view is that Passivhaus principles and technology continue to play a key role in achieving zero carbon for the future. Reducing the energy demand for heating a space by up to 90% has to be the right approach that will result in a reduced demand for renewable energy. And along with our New Homes Standard, this is the zero carbon road that Hastoe is setting out on.

Another of our sustainable developments in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire

My view is that Passivhaus principles and technology continue to play a key role in achieving zero carbon for the future. Reducing the energy demand for heating a space by up to 90% has to be the right approach that will result in a reduced demand for renewable energy. And along with our New Homes Standard, this is the zero carbon road that Hastoe is setting out on."

I believe though that more developments, like Passivhaus, could be happening right now if the building industry wasn’t so resistant to implementing their tried and tested approach in more new-build projects.

What we need is for the government to be bold in their response to the consultation on the Future Homes Standard and Part L of the Building Regulations. The drive should be to improve the fabric of buildings and not provide options for bolt on technology that may no longer work in 5 or 10 years’ time. Once the building sector is on the same level playing field, I hope the zero carbon ambition will be within everyone’s reach.

This piece was originally published by the National Housing Federation (NHF) on 29 September 2020. Ulrike will be speaking on successfully transitioning to a zero carbon economy at the NHF's Smaller Housing Associations' Conference 2020 on 4 - 5 November. Find out more and book your place.

Ulrike Maccariello, Hastoe's development director
Ulrike has worked in development for over 20 years, and has been at Hastoe for the past 14. She is passionate about rural and sustainable housing, and has been instrumental in delivering 12 Passivhaus schemes and 7 schemes to AECB standard. Ulrike is now developing a new build standard for Hastoe; one that takes into consideration a wide range of factors that impact on people’s quality of life and the environment. These include not just building materials and architectural design but the efficient use of water and energy, accessibility, space standards and broadband connectivity.

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