Good practices deserve rewards
... but developers aren't interested.
Saturday 30 August 1997
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."
Life & Style blogs
Alexander McQueen at auction: What makes a really great piece of fashion?
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
No female ejaculation, please, we’re British: a history of porn and censorship
Stressed nurses are 'forced to choose between health of patients and their own'
Pornhub: Kim Kardashian's sex tape is the most-watched porn video of all-time
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
£20000 - £25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Internal Sales Executive ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises in the installa...
£30000 - £35500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Provisioning Specialist is required to join ...