Nationwide Building Society has unveiled an ambitious plan to create one of Britain’s largest energy-efficient communities – a development where homes are built to leading environmental standards.
The announcement comes as the world’s biggest building society calls on house builders to outline a roadmap which will help deliver homes that are more sustainable. Just 6 per cent of new properties built are currently meeting EPC-A standards, the top level of energy efficiency, and the Society will write to house builders to understand the barriers they are facing to improve environmental standards of new homes.
The £50 million Oakfield development in Swindon, is challenging the way housebuilding has traditionally been done and will see all 239 homes hitting the EPC-A rating. A wide variety of homes are being created, from 2 to 4 bed terraced houses to smaller apartments, catering for as many lifestyles and stages as possible, with 30 per cent allocated for regulated affordable housing. The first homes will be available early 2022. Nationwide is fully funding the Oakfield development and brought together green developers and experts, such as Igloo Regeneration and the Active Building Centre, to build homes which are fit for the future.
Nationwide recognises that people’s homes have one of the biggest individual impacts on climate change, with the Society pledging that all homes at the Oakfield development will incorporate the latest in green technology. In doing so, it is hoped to become one of the greenest developments in the UK as well as one of the largest ‘off-gas’ communities. All properties, including the affordable housing, will have photovoltaic solar panels and air source heat pumps, instead of a traditional gas boiler, minimising CO2 emissions whilst generating clean energy on-site.
The project is also designed with future green innovations in mind, enabling residents to further green their homes, for example with batteries for surplus energy storage. The development will also be ready for electric cars – charging points will be provided on the street, and homes with on-plot parking will be wired to allow residents to install their own charging points. Nationwide also believes that by building homes to higher levels of efficiency, homeowners could potentially save up to £330 each year on heating and electricity bills.
The Society hopes this new approach to creating community-focused, more environmentally-friendly homes will be the start of a blueprint for new build homes across the UK. Nationwide is sharing all of their learnings and plans from this development in order to help create positive change.
Nationwide will be calling house builders to set out a roadmap and identify any remaining barriers to delivering energy efficient new builds. The hope is to work together to ensure that in the future all new developments are built to at least EPC-A standards in the lead up to the Future Home Standards, helping to tackle climate change by improving energy efficiency when it comes to building new homes. Nationwide will be sharing its learnings and plans with developers, as the energy efficient Oakfield development progresses. The Society has already shared some learnings from the early stages of the development with its ‘Blueprint for Community Engagement’. Nationwide’s Oakfield development demonstrates that sustainable homes can be created while investing in communities.
Sara Bennison, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Nationwide Building Society, said: “Just a fraction of new homes in the UK are built to an EPC-A rated standard. Creating homes today which aren’t fit for the future and will need to be retrofitted in a matter of years is simply not right. We will be calling for Government, house builders and lenders to work together to tackle any remaining barriers to improving the environmental standards of new homes.
“Buildings are the second largest source of emissions in the UK. Creating sustainable communities is possible and we are demonstrating this through our Oakfield development – delivering one of the greenest communities in the UK at scale. We all need to play our part in delivering high quality homes that are fit for the future. We will be sharing all our learnings and plans helping developers commit to a clear roadmap for more a sustainable future.
“In addition, with more than 1.5 million homes on our mortgage balance sheet, we are also developing new products to help our members make a real difference to the environment by making improvements to existing properties. Together we can tackle the climate crisis and we are committed to helping our members to create greener and more sustainable homes.”
Oakfield forms part of the Society’s commitment to help cut carbon from homes across the UK. The Society is also using its expertise, partnerships, and innovation to help make millions of existing homes greener, more sustainable and fit for the future. This includes making £1 billion loan fund available for borrowers to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes and kickstart green home improvements and retrofitting. Nationwide also partnered with Switchd, offering members a free six-month subscription for the energy comparison tool, helping members save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
Nationwide is working towards a low carbon future by minimising their own impact. The Society is now carbon neutral in their energy use and emissions for all internal operations and company vehicles, uses 100 per cent renewable electricity and sends zero waste to landfill. The next goal is to develop a range of new green mortgages, offering special offers to those buying EPC-A and high EPC-B rated homes as well as eliminating single-use plastic by 2025, and to extend carbon neutrality through all business operations, supply chain and commuting by 2030.