Good practices deserve rewards

... but developers aren't interested.

Two years ago the Building Research Establishment (BRE) created the Environmental Standard Award to encourage and reward developers who were building environmentally friendly housing. The scheme was launched with high hopes and expectations. By 1997 the BRE expected to be assessing 8,000 to 10,000 houses a year on such issues as energy efficiency, using wood from renewable sources, and minimising damage to the site. Yet the number of houses assessed so far runs into hundreds rather than thousands and most of these are being built by housing associations.

Dr Josephine Prior, the BRE's manager for special projects, is at a loss to explain house builders' lack of interest. "The standard was developed to reward people who already had good practices. We hoped to encourage builders to fly the flag for what they were already doing. But we have been unable to persuade the marketing people to take it on board.

"Builders say to me that buyers are interested in location and what they can see inside the houses. But I maintain that the presence of the standard must be an extra benefit."

House-builders' failure to participate in the BRE award does not mean that they are all indifferent to the environment. Taywood Homes, one of the house-builders' on the steering committee for the BRE scheme and an early award winner, no longer takes part, but maintains a commitment to green housing. Linden Homes' energy-saving measures consistently achieve an admirable Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating of at least 80 out of 100.

"Laing Homes regards itself as an environmentally-conscious house-builder," says its chief executive, Steve Lidgate. Recently Laing Homes South successfully transplanted a threatened 7ft-tall beech hedge from one site to another five miles away. At a development on an old joinery works in Earlsfield, south London, bricks, cobblestones, old timber and hard core were all reclaimed and recycled. "It sold very well. It pays to be green," says Rameen Firoozan, sales and marketing director.

Dr Jonathan Horner, an environmental science lecturer who bought a Laing house, was impressed by the developer's preservation of trees and other natural features, and the commitment to energy-saving. "My working life centres on the effect that environmental policy has on the world around us. Housing is an important aspect of all our lives, and I was keen to ensure that our new home would live up to the standards I feel we should all demand of the building industry."

But no Laing development has entered for the BRE Award stamp of approval. Mr Lidgate explains cautiously: "Although Laing Homes originally chose not to become fully involved, the company would be pleased to participate in any future discussions relating to the relaunch of the scheme."

The BRE standard has so far served housing association tenants best.

"We have tried to balance the environmental agenda with providing quality and affordable housing," says Martin Rowbottom, assistant director (development) of the Hastoe Housing Association, which has three BRE awards and another one pending.

As for the comparative failure of the BRE scheme in the private sector, Mr Rowbottom says, "It has not had a lot of publicity. The BRE's scheme for offices has been taken up by the industry as the benchmark, because the people who are going to use the block are closely involved in its development. House buyers aren't."

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Humanities Teacher

    £120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Humanities teacher required for ...

    English Teacher

    £120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: ENGLISH TEACHER REQUIRED - Humbe...

    Chemistry Teacher

    £120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for a Qualified C...

    Year 6 Teacher

    £100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are currently...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits