Over half of consumers believe it is important that their home is made using environmentally-responsible materials, according to research published by Eurocell plc, the UK’s leading manufacturer, distributor and recycler of PVC-U window, door, conservatory and roofline systems.
Furthermore, when asked about their preferred sustainability features, consumers identified double/triple glazing as the most appealing (58%), followed by solar panels (35%), energy efficient appliances (34%) and the use of recycled and sustainable building products (22%).
One of the key drivers behind this trend is the implementation of sustainability features by developers, which are regularly being incorporated into housebuilding voluntarily rather than as a result of legislation.
Explaining this trend, Steve Marshall, Architect Director and Head of Housing at BDP commented: “Some of our local authority clients like to be seen as leading the way and pushing standards when it comes to sustainability. They need to be seen to be doing the right thing and as such will go above and beyond minimum requirements. It might take time for this to impact the standards that others build to, but this may happen as buyers start to ask why the council is offering something that private developers are not.”
Whilst housing developers are pushing this trend currently, a group of architects presented with these statistics believe that consumer and tenant demand is likely to be a driver for sustainable development in the future. Despite this increased awareness it was highlighted by the architects that, for homes to become more sustainable, consumers need more education on what sustainability actually means in housing.
James Roberts, Project Architect at SimpsonHaugh, said: “It comes down to what is tangible. People understand the concept of double glazing and smart meters, for example. However, if you look at the sustainability credentials of the materials used, or how air tight a home is, these are less tangible yet can have an equally significant impact on how sustainable a home is. As such, willingness to invest in some ‘sustainable design features’ is likely to increase as the public’s understanding of them does. Some they will already be investing in, without appreciating it.”
Eurocell’s Group Head of Marketing, Chris Coxon, discussed the findings: “Sustainability means different things to different people in the housebuilding industry, which has created an ongoing debate around the topic. It will be interesting to see how this develops as the public continues to become more educated in this area and the demand for sustainably built homes increases.”
The Future Home Report can be downloaded in full here: