THE UK is committed to ensuring that all new homes meet an ambitious zero-carbon standard by 2016. And with only a smattering of them in the country to date, there’s a long way to go. Indeed, Barry Morgan, of Morgan Restoration, an ardent eco-developer who has just installed solar panels on The Boatyard development overlooking the River Medway in Maidstone, says: “We are nowhere near being at zero carbon by 2016 – the process has been clouded by consultants and irrelevancies and ways of wiggling round the system by scoring points with meaningless measures. We’re far behind Europe.” Morgan doesn’t reckon he’ll get his money back for the solar panels, but he says: “I just had to do it. I believe solar is the most efficient energy we’ve come up with.”
But we are gaining ground, and if you’re looking to buy a low-carbon emitting home in London – the real deal, not just a home with the kind of minor eco-friendly gestures that dismay Morgan – then you should consider Granville Place (www.granvilleplace.co.uk). Built as a direct response to the government’s Code for Sustainable Homes (2007) it is located in Child’s Hill, between Golders Green and West Hampstead, spitting distance from acres of green (Golders Hill Park, the Hampstead Heath Extension). It also offers fusion of affordable luxury, intelligent design and a carbon footprint to satisfy even the most agitated of consciences. At Level Four (Level Six is zero-carbon) it is in the most highly rated category to date, and is 44 per cent more efficient than properties built under the 2006 standard.
Low carbon touches include heating and hot water supplied by a centralised bio-mass boiler which is powered by renewable energy. The boiler consumes biomass in the form of logs, wood pellets or chips and the high quality insulation helps keep energy consumption low, as does the triple glazing of the windows. The roofs are light grey and therefore help reflect heat, reducing the need for heating and cooling, and are designed to incorporate solar panels in the future. And water is conserved with water-saving showers and taps; rainwater is also collected for use in communal areas. The development has been built in accoya timber cladding which is 100 per cent humidity free, won’t crack and is totally non-toxic.
Elsewhere in London, the iconic residential Strata Tower (www.strata london.com) in Elephant and Castle is the first major residential development in the world in which wind turbines have been constructed within the fabric of the building. And the massive new development Wembley City at Wembley sports the UK’s first Envac waste system, which automatically transports household waste off-site through a series of underground vacuum pipes twice every day, technically reducing carbon emission by around 400 fewer tonnes a year (see page 30 for more on Wembley). And in the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich (www.royal-arsenalriverside.co.uk), car chargers have just been installed in the garage – perhaps the future is greener than it looks now.
From £275,000 for a one-bedroom flat
Kitchen work surfaces in granite and stone, ensuite wet rooms and showers and lovely hardwood flooring help make these flats as attractive to look at as they are harmless to the envronment. And with quick links to the City from Golders Green and all the shops, bars and amenities of West Hampstead and Brent Cross nearby, this is a perfect place for a first-time buyer in a brave, new and greener world.
Contact: 020 8458 1837, www.granvilleplace.co.uk. Sold through Knight Frank, www.knightfrank.co.uk
OLD MILL ISLAND, UXBRIDGE
The newest part of this very pretty development on the River Fray uses a vertical insulation called Triso Super 10, so effective it makes it this a “passive house” There are also photovoltaic solar panels on the roof for added efficiency, and lots of glass. Contact: Savills, 01344 295 361. www.savills.com
THE STRATA TOWER
Already a landmark on the London skyline, this revolutionary tower should reshape the Elephant and Castle with its range of residential options. It’s the first residential tower in the world to have an in-built wind turbine. For more information, see ww.strata-london.com