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Taylor Wimpey is Planning Efficient London Homes – But Will the Council Approve?

Taylor Wimpey is a premier UK housebuilder, with thousands of units completed every year for both private and social sectors. Their new development in Bunns Lane, North London, offers a glimpse into the no-risk approach that defines them.

Cracking the code

Building in London always asks more from you. In this case, the development has to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, a design and construction standard covering everything from energy efficiency and well-being to ecology and much more. In terms of energy, Level 4 requires a 25% improvement in efficiency over the Part L 2010 Target Emission Rate.

Efficient design is a balance between two options: do you make the building fabric and services as low-appetite as possible, or do you use renewable energy sources to offset power hungry homes?

At Bunns Lane, the former was the only option. The style of roof and the lack of south-facing units ruled out photovoltaic panels but they needn’t be missed; a well-insulated, ventilated and cheap to run home can meet the standards required without using renewables at all. Getting this right, however, requires stringent planning and rigorous assessment of the various options.

Assembling a dream team

John Gregory, a Technical Manager with 30 years at Taylor Wimpey under his belt, knew exactly how to give the project a running start. By inviting Energist to the initial design meeting, we could put our heads together with the architects and engineers to find the perfect balance between efficiency, practicality and cost-effectiveness.

“Code assessors need to be in on day one,” said John. “You could merrily go off in the direction you think will suffice but in most instances – until you get this expert advice – that’s probably not the best way or the right way to go.”

Ellie Wang, our dedicated Taylor Wimpey assessor, could integrate a variety of energy saving solutions into the design:

A mechanical ventilation heat recovery system (MVHR) will keep fresh air flowing while retaining precious energy.

Boilers installed with flue gas heat recovery will reuse otherwise wasted heat to cut fuel bills.

The high u-values of the load-bearing blocks on the lower floors will be offset by more efficient blocks elsewhere in the build.

These are all solutions that are only feasible if planned from the start. By combining our team with his, John Gregory avoided wasting time and money down the line by drawing up designs that can sail through regulations.

Haunted by the past

But you know what they say about best laid plans. At Bunns Lane, it’s the plans themselves that are awry. The site was purchased with pre-existing planning permission demanding the use of photovoltaic panels. But as you read above, they simply aren’t feasible for this development.

Hopefully, by showing the council the high efficiency of the building fabric and services, they’ll see that the same carbon-cutting results are achieved without using renewables. We’ll be by John’s side to argue the point that there’s more to building green than solar power.

If the planning permission is revised, the result will be sustainable, cheap to run housing, ticking all the boxes for Code Level 4 and more. In-house recycling facilities will ease waste sorting, ecological works will encourage local wildlife and bike storage along with electric car charging stations will support emission-free transport.

It’s the kind of development we love to be a part of, and we’ll be doing our best to help Taylor Wimpey build more fantastic new homes.

You can read more about our Code for Sustainable Homes service here.

Dominique Stockford

Author: Dominique Stockford

This article was published by Dominique Stockford on 14.05.2014.