'Keen to be green'

Green is the only way to go if we want to provide sustainable and cost efficient homes for the future. Not only does it make financial sense by providing well-insulated homes that benefit from renewable energy sources, but it also ensures the homes are built to last and prepared for a time when fossil fuels may be in short supply.

Renewable energy sources are increasingly making their contribution to brand new housing schemes, working hand-in-hand with much-improved insulation, to create homes that can be heated for a fraction of the cost of traditional fuels. New building codes demand enhanced energy performance and canny buyers are now becoming aware of the cost savings available to them in choosing a brand new home.

At DBS we have an envied reputation for creating brand new traditionally-built homes, which incorporate a wide range of renewable energy sources, such as ground-source heat-pumps for luxury blocks of flats, air-source heat-pumps and wood burning stoves for luxury detached houses and solar roof panels for free hot water in rented flats.

As confirmed by the current droughts, the South East benefits from more sunshine hours than almost anywhere in the UK. Taking advantage of this abundant natural resource, we are now looking forward to fitting our first electricity-generating roof tiles on a luxury Arts and Crafts style mansion in woldingham. These photovoltaic tiles are designed to look just like a slate roof but, identical to solar panels, they capture the sun's energy to provide power throughout the home.

New homes are making their contribution to water conservation too. All new homes are metered, making the monitoring of water-use a reliable certainty and proves unequivocally that new homes use less water on average than older houses, especially as the pipes laid to new houses are less likely to leak. The installation of flow limiter taps too, deliver less water to greater effect, while hot water is delivered more quickly, saving the waste incurred while the water heats up.

Not only can they save this precious resource, but many new homes can conserve and harvest rainwater too. This free, heaven-sent resource can be conserved in rainwater retention tanks for use in the garden, making a hosepipe ban seem insignificant.

Meanwhile, climate change is playing its part in the mix by altering groundwater levels, causing heave and subsidence in some older houses built on clay soils. The use of proprietary engineered piled foundations are now commonplace for brand new homes, ensuring this problem is avoided. where flooding has taken place in an area, brand new homes are designed with raised floor slabs so that in the event of a flood, the occupants will not be threatened.

Brand new homes have many advantages for our environment, but we need to balance their construction with the inherent amenities, infrastructure and natural resources available to a particular area. This means creating small scale developments in existing built up areas, rather than wholesale development on green belt land. I vote for homes that are green-built not green belt.

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