Since 2017, TOWN has been a member of the Good Homes Alliance, a membership organisation that exists to promote improved levels of quality and sustainability in the UK housebuilding industry.
Neil Murphy had the pleasure of speaking in Cambridge at the Good Homes Alliance’s first event, as part of its Vanguard Campaign. The campaign aims to enable the exchange of good practice among developers and professionals seeking to deliver higher standards of housing, and to create a bank of exemplars that will ultimately help inform a replacement for the imperfect, but widely understood, Code for Sustainable Homes.
One discussion point was the way that decisions taken for sustainability reasons – such as not deploying natural gas for heating – can actually worsen performance on paper even though they look ahead to a time when housing is no longer reliant on fossil-fuel sources at all. Another was the case for a standard framework focused on fabric-first energy efficiency to build on the rightly demanding but rather all-or-nothing badge of Passivhaus.
Among the terrific speakers we shared the stage with was Gwyn Jones of Norwich City Council, whose direct commissioning and delivery of affordable Passivhaus schemes is quietly becoming one of the best local authority house-building stories in the country. We’re particular admirers of Mikhail Riches Architects’ splendid Goldsmith Street scheme.