Kitchens can play an important role in helping specifiers for private and social housing developments earn points towards the Code for Sustainable Homes. Andrea Denison, product manager, Moores Furniture Group advises.

Pressure is mounting on housebuilders and social housing providers to ensure developments are both eco-friendly and sustainable by earning points towards the Code for Sustainable Homes. If the UK is going to meet its commitment of reducing carbon emissions and combat climate change, then it is essential that greener homes are built.

With the Code for Sustainable Homes in place, private and social housing developments must prove that they are utilising the latest in energy- efficient materials by earning points to ensure sustainable communities are developed.

Currently, the Code requires all new homes to be built to Level 3, but moving forwards, the reality is that 2016 is not that far away. It is therefore vital we understand what is required to meet Levels 4, 5 and 6. To achieve the highest rating, for example, the whole build must be zero carbon, including the manufacturer and transportation of building materials. This means that carbon used to deliver materials to site, for example, must be cancelled out via carbon savings within the dwelling or in other areas of the build process. For specifiers this obviously means looking at every aspect of a project, with sustainability at the top of their agenda. That is from the planning and design stage and the types of building materials used; right through to the manufacturers, contractors and sub-contractors they work with and the products they install.

With this in mind, developers are continually looking for new ways to fulfil the coding requirements and the kitchen is no exception. The launch of our first eco-kitchen, the ReAction range, was well received in the industry.

Mar City Developments, developers of Sanctuary Housing’s Garretts Green development on Garretts Green Lane, Birmingham, was one of the first developers to install the new eco-kitchen which not only contributes up to 17 code credits*, but also exceeds its requirements by providing a kitchen range that reduces, reuses, recycles and is responsibly sourced.

Garretts Green consists of 62 general rented properties and 11 shared ownership properties. The first phase was completed in April 2011 and the last phase completed in February 2012.

The contemporary ReAction range has been designed with a host of green features that are set to raise the bar in the industry by pushing the boundaries of sustainability. Available in a variety of door finishes, the range offers social housing providers a stylish solution, at a great price, with sustainability built-in.

All the cabinets have a BRE whole life costing of 20 years and are designed for longevity and to reduce waste. The cabinet doors are also 15mm thick instead of the usual 18mm, which means it reduces the number of trees harvested in order to produce the board material and less fuel is needed for delivery as the cabinets are lighter.

To complement this, the ReAction range is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and the MFC used in the manufacturing process contains a high proportion of recycled material including Moores’ own chipboard waste. ABS edging is also used instead of PVC, a much more environmentally-friendly alternative that can be easily incinerated or recycled.

 

There are other green features: all the laminate worktops are from a PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified supplier, providing the assurance that our worktops are promoting the sustainable management of forests. A waste separation bin and waste disposal unit are also included to encourage the end-user to think green.

Finally, the range includes low level LED lighting, 100 per cent recyclable cabinet handles made from zinc and a shallow sink and tap with flow restrictor to help users save on water usage.

There’s no doubt that sustainability is one of the most pressing issues affecting the social housing sector and it must not be forgotten that kitchens can play an important role in helping local authorities and developers make their existing housing stock and new developments more sustainable.