Green homes showcased at newly-completed development in Brixton

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

A housing development in Brixton, South-East London, recently completed, shows how green homes could become the mainstream – without forcing any major lifestyle changes on their residents.

Angela Carter Close off Brixton High Road, built by Metropolitan Housing Trust, is consistent of nine family homes and three apartments (or flats as they are called here), all of which have achieved the “excellent” standard under the Eco Homes initiative.

The timber-frame buildings – using FSC accredited wood – have a number of green features.

Five of the nine homes have been fitted with solar thermal panels providing residents with heating and hot water while each property has storage space for recycling along with a large external storage area for bicycles. This is intended to encourage residents to recycle and to cycle.

My question would only be why are only five out of the nine homes fitted with solar thermal panels and not all?

During the construction process new sustainable building techniques such as filling the large cavity walls with recycled newspaper insulation, were used, as well as the installation of low flush toilets and of water flow restrictors on taps. A giant water butt can be found in each garden for harvesting rainwater.

Only good that in the UK we do not seem to have the same restrictions as so many places have in the United States where the harvesting of rainwater is a felony in many districts.

Andy Cox, senior project manager for the development said: "With the right tools and amenities and the opportunity to live in a home built around sustainable principles, people will become more environmentally aware.

The aim of Angela Carter Close is to encourage and support residents to become more engaged in sustainability and this development could become, so it can be hoped, the blueprint (well, not exactly a blueprint, but...) for other development in cities and towns.

A spokesman for the residents said: "Since moving into our new home we've become more environmentally aware. We recycle more because we're able to use the compost bin and recycling storage areas. We're able to save water by using the rain collected in the water butt on our garden.''

Now all we have to do is to green our existing building and if some findings are anything to go by as regards to some old building then many of the ideas that were used there are more eco-friendly and more environmentally sound than we have ever thought.

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008