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LOW CARBON LIVING
Britain’s homes aren’t fit for the future. Recent initiatives to reduce environmental impact have fallen far behind the risks of climate change. Our homes account for 40% of our total energy use, 27% of CO2 emissions and around 14% of all greenhouse gases1. To meet vital targets for the environment, we need to address the challenge now.
New homes offer an opportunity to reduce energy consumption while also improving the health and comfort of those who live in them. And with the introduction of more sustainable technologies, they’re also more economical to own.
At Autograph we create homes that make a difference; designed from the ground up with sustainability in mind. Our approach varies by development and property, incorporating a range of possible solutions.
Photovoltaic (PV) panels capture the sun’s natural energy and convert it into free, environmentally-friendly, electricity to power your home – even on a cloudy day. By reducing your reliance on the grid, you’ll cut your carbon footprint: a typical PV system could save around 1.3-1.6 tonnes of carbon every year2. You can also lower your energy bills and even generate extra income by selling any excess electricity back to the grid, depending on your energy supplier.
AIR SOURCE HEATING
Air source heat is an ultra-efficient, low impact way to heat your home. Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) work by extracting the warmth from outside air to help heat water for underfloor heating, radiators, and hot water systems.
Heat from the air is absorbed by a liquid refrigerant and passed through a compressor, increasing its temperature before transferring the warmth to the heating and hot water circuits in your home. Heat pumps are carbon neutral, when powered by PV or similar alternative energy sources, delivering up to three times as much thermal energy as the electrical energy used to drive them. They’re so efficient they can still extract heat even when air temperatures are as low as -15°C.
UNDER FLOOR HEATING
You might not think of under floor heating (UFH) as energy efficient, but because it works across a much larger surface area, UFH operates at a far lower temperature than traditional systems. Radiators are heated to between 65-75 Celsius to warm a room, but UFH can run at about 29 degrees, depending on the floor and finish. In fact, UFH is around 25% more efficient than conventional heating, making it more environmentally friendly too.
SUPERIOR INSULATION & AIRTIGHTNESS
In a traditional home up to 70% of heat loss occurs through the roof, walls and floor of the building. That’s a lot of wasted energy. Our homes are designed with a more effective thermal envelope, including outstanding insulation and airtightness, to minimise heat loss through the structure of the property, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. This also makes our homes more durable, minimising dampness caused by moisture-laden air leaking in and condensing.
SMART HEATING CONTROLS
A smart meter allows you to monitor your energy use to see when you’re using the most energy and how much it’s costing you. According to the Energy Saving Trust, for many households, installing a smart meter means they see a reduction in their energy bills immediately.
Pairing your smart meter with an app-based control system on your mobile phone provides an integrated, real-time view of your energy use. You can control your thermostat remotely, meaning you only use energy when you need it, even if your usual routine unexpectedly changes. Smart systems also link to the weather, so if it’s hotter than usual, it will turn your heating down a few degrees.
TIMBER FRAME CONSTRUCTION
Strong, light and completely renewable, wood is a carbon neutral material that’s also a great insulator. Timber frame construction has the lowest CO2 cost of any building material: it takes less energy to produce and build with and it’s easily recycled. In fact, every timber frame home saves a potential four tonnes of CO2, approximately equal to that produced by a family car each year4.
All the timber we use in our timber framed developments is sourced from accredited suppliers in accordance with the requirements of the FSC® - meaning as a homeowner you’re helping to support sustainable, managed European forests that soak up CO2, helping the fight against global warming.
*compared to alternative building materials.
We don’t just design our homes to be energy efficient, but to help reduce water use too. Untapped, we each consume around 150 litres of water every day5, but by diluting the water stream on taps and showers with aerators, we can reduce the volume of water wasted. Efficient fixtures in your home could help to reduce average household water use by up to 25% a year, that’s about 550 showers, saving you up to £80 on your annual water bill6.
Rainwater harvesting can make a difference too. Outdoor use accounts for around 7% of water for those with a garden, rising to over 50% on a hot summer day7. A rainwater butt reduces your water bills and rainwater is healthier for plants too.
LOW ENERGY LIGHTING
Electricity for lights and appliances can account for a significant proportion of your households total energy demand. We fit all our new homes with energy efficient lighting, like LEDs, which could save you up to £3 a year versus each incandescent bulb2, and Energy LabelA-rated or higher appliances, to help you reduce day-to-day energy consumption from the day you move in.
Supporting a carbon
Wherever possible, we make it easier for our homeowners to live greener. We build homes in locations that are close to essential amenities, like schools and play areas, parks and open spaces, shops, pubs and restaurants. Our city developments offer easy access to public transport and we provide secure storage for bikes and pre-wire our garages for electric car points and future battery storage. And now that more of us are working from home more often, we integrate Cat-5 cabling and USB charging, with fibre-optic broadband where it’s available.
We are committed, throughout our business, to reducing the carbon cost of our work. We aim to recycle over XX% [client to confirm] of all construction-related waste, by segregating waste streams and innovating recovery. We work with local suppliers and tradespeople, using British made products and materials where possible, and encourage all our partners to reduce their use of plastic packaging and recycle their own waste materials.
1 Committee on Climate Change: The Fifth carbon Budget 2016; UK Housing Fit for The Future 2019
2 Energy Saving Trust, 2020.
3 Electric car based on an assumed 10,000 miles per car at 300w/m. Cups of tea based on a 1.5L kettle, taking 3 minutes to boil.
4 Based European Environment Agency data for a 2018 model car travelling 10,000 miles.
5 Energy Saving Trust, 2013.
6 Based on a 10 minutes shower using 7.5Kw electricity at an energy cost of 12p per Kwh.
7 Waterwise.org.uk, 2019.