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Nowadays, property development is not only about building in line with regulations, demands, or tenant needs. Sustainable property development should be a part of every construction project, which aims to respond to today’s marketplace and help the environment. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re looking to work on an existing property, there are many reasons to consider sustainability. We all want to have a cleaner and greener future for our families and fortunately, there has been increased awareness about sustainable design practices. If you’re wondering how to make your property more environmentally friendly, this article will provide you with the key steps to create a more sustainable property development and reduce your carbon footprint.
Learn More About Sustainability
Although many people are going for sustainable projects right now, the meaning of sustainability is not always clear, especially in business. In general, it’s about having as little impact as possible on the environment. Nevertheless, it can still be difficult to determine what being sustainable involves. On an individual plan, it refers to cutting down on your carbon emissions, giving up on single-use plastics, and recycling properly. However, most of these lessons and techniques can be implemented in your next property development project.
Sustainable Property Development Create A Positive Impact On The Environment
As more people move to urban areas, this is leading to a loss of biodiversity in some areas. Therefore, it’s important to consider biodiversity net gain, which is set to become a mandatory consideration for all development projects in England, except for very few cases. You can develop a biodiversity net gain plan with the help of Arbtech and demonstrate that you have taken the correct measures. An experienced and qualified ecologist can help you create a biodiversity net gain plan. This will include identifying natural elements that may be lost as a result of your development project and effective steps to mitigate these outcomes.
Choose Green Materials And Suppliers
There is a significant difference between buildings made with green materials by construction companies and those made with traditional materials when it comes to their environmental impact. Therefore, if you want to maintain the sustainability of your property, it’s important to choose green materials. Using all-natural solutions instead of traditional building materials can help the environment, as they require less energy to produce. Alongside using green materials, property developments should vet the source of the materials and how they’re constructed or mined. Working with suppliers who consider their environmental impact will also contribute to more environmentally responsible developments.
Use Renewable Energy Sources
Using renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, is a great way to decrease your carbon footprint. Renewable energy can have a positive effect on the environment, as it doesn’t produce harmful pollutants, unlike fossil fuels. Identifying energy-based sustainable construction techniques means that you’ll need to decide which of the resources available will be suitable for a given project. For example, solar power, wind power, and hydropower can all be harnessed and stored in the short term, which makes them the perfect choice for a sustainable construction project.
Incorporate Green Spaces
Green spaces can help you increase the sustainability of your property development project. There are different areas, which can be included, such as parks, gardens, and green roofs. These spaces will not only provide residents with a place to relax and unwind, but they can also improve air quality. Therefore, incorporating green spaces into your building designs can have a positive effect on the health of everyone working and living in that space. You can also include bird feeders, which will attract birds to the area, making this a pleasant place for potential buyers.
Enhance The Overall Ecological Quality Of The Site
It’s crucial to minimise impacts, such as habitat destruction, fragmentation, and species isolation. Where possible, you should strive to rebuild local ecological networks. This can be achieved by enhancing the overall ecological extent, capacity, structure, and functioning of the site, as well as the surrounding ecological network. Focus on creating new habitats, buffer areas, and landscape features, that are crucial to wildlife. It’s important to concentrate these efforts in areas where the most fragile and threatened habitats and species are known to occur. Also, avoid developing sites and locations where existing habitats and important species would suffer a reduction in ecological quality.
Ensure Effective Insulation
Insulation is another great technique to make your property more sustainable. This is because it will reduce the need for cooling and heating, which will save time and money in the future. In addition, ensuring effective insulation can have a positive impact on the environment. As you insulate your building, you can keep out drafts, which may cause problems with mould growth and condensation. It’s advisable to prepare this at the start of your project and incorporate it into the structural elements of the property, such as the walls, roof, and floor. Otherwise, this could be an expensive thing to fix later on.
Make Wildlife Welcome
Every property development project will have an effect on the environment it sits in. For instance, your project may involve the full or partial loss of hedgerows or demolishing a barn where birds are nesting. Although you’re building for people, there are many ways to consider spaces for local wildlife. It may be helpful to hire an experienced designer, who can incorporate these spaces into the proposal. It’s also recommended to think about compensating for any loss of nature. You can implement a biodiversity area in your open space, build green roofs and walls, or include a water management feature, as well as physical housing for insects and birds.
Retain Existing Natural Site Features
New housing can be designed around natural site features, such as existing orchards, native hedgerows, ponds, streams, rivers, and trees. Moreover, all of these features can be a big bonus, as they can make the location more desirable and unique. Keep in mind that there is a lot of value and functionality from trees alone, as they can be a valuable asset to any property. For example, they can clean air, lower stress levels, and reduce the risk of floods. Also, the retention of these natural features can provide residents with high-quality places to live, which will lead to higher financial returns.
Introduce Rewilding Actions
Rewilding refers to the process of allowing nature to take care of itself so that natural processes can repair and restore damaged landscapes. As a result, wildlife’s natural rhythms can create more biodiverse and wilder habitats. Therefore, it’s essential to consider taking rewilding actions at the early stage of your development. This will ensure that residential development can be designed around these areas. For example, you can implement a strategy, that involves planned areas for wildflowers and wild grasses that invite birds and insects. Moreover, you can balance this with maintaining green areas for communal activities.
Make Use Of Natural Light
If you want to reduce the need for artificial lighting in your property, it’s important to maximise the amount of natural light available. For example, you can make the best use of windows, roof lights, and sun pipes. Additionally, using performance timber windows and triple glazing can contribute to the overall thermal performance of the building. When designing the layout and amount of windows your property has, you will need to consider the path of the sun throughout the day. If possible, the main living areas should be kept to the southern side.
There are many technological advancements, that you can take advantage of to optimise your project. For example, you can use solar panels, biomass boilers, and ground-source or air-source heat pumps, which will enable you to control energy sources. Although they may be substantial investments, they can ultimately increase the value of the property and lead to a reduction in energy bills. Similarly, other gadgets, such as a simple smart metre, can help you ensure that your development project is done efficiently.
Implement Carbon Offsetting Projects
Choosing sustainable materials and processes with as many eco-features as possible should be your priority. However, in cases where it’s not feasible to develop a carbon-neutral development, you may consider implementing a carbon offsetting project to restore the balance. This involves compensating for the remaining carbon emissions balance through a financial contribution towards solutions to reduce emissions elsewhere. You can invest in projects directly or purchase carbon credits to reduce your carbon footprint. However, it’s crucial to research companies that offer these offsets thoroughly so you know where your money is going.
Encourage Residents To Walk Or Cycle
You may also consider encouraging future residents to walk or cycle so that you can further reduce the environmental impact of your property development once it’s complete. If the property you’re constructing is in a new area with limited or no transport links, you should provide residents with alternative solutions to transport. To make cycling easier at your property, it’s important to ensure bike storage and lockers are available for those who need them. Also, you can include paths throughout the development that can be used by people walking or riding a bike.