Protecting the environment is a priority now more than ever. From 30 November until 12 December 2023, world leaders gathered at the COP28, the UN Climate Change conference. To make sustainable changes in our daily lives, it is important to look at where we live: our home and neighbourhood as well as our community. 

What is sustainable living?

Sustainable living is defined by Maryville University as "the practice of making conscious lifestyle choices that reduce a person’s impact on the environment". This means that there are actions we can all take in our daily lives to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet. It can be how we shop, how we commute and what home we choose. Let's dive into the 3 key features to look out for to support sustainable living.

Make sure your home is near green spaces

Because cities are full of concrete and tall buildings, they trap heat which causes temperatures to increase. This phenomenon is called heat island and can make urban areas up to 3-4c higher. When it happens in the summer, more energy is used to cool places down. This is a real problem because it makes us more reliant on fossil fuels, increasing pollutants in the air.

Making sure you are based near green spaces is a great way to counteract the heat island effect. The trees and plants don’t absorb the heat the way buildings and concrete do. This means that temperatures don’t increase in the same way. You can then enjoy cooler areas and benefit from less polluted air.

For our Islington development called City Angel, we have designed several oases. Residents can enjoy a breath of fresh air in the communal landscaped podium garden. They can also explore different shared outdoor spaces including tree-lined parkland and intimate garden squares bordered with soft water features and wildflower beds.

CGI representation of a communal garden outside apartment buildings

City Angel offers its residents several green spaces including a communal garden

Check what eco-friendly modes of transport you can use

To help decrease your carbon footprint, it can be efficient to consider cycling. To make sure your new home is supporting that, check whether there is access to secure bike storage so that you can purchase your own bike. That way it will be easier to use it regularly to commute. Having cycle hire nearby is also a great way to get around in a more eco-friendly way.

Alternatively, when cycling isn’t possible for any reason, being able to rent electric cars and having access to electric vehicle charging points is a great way to ensure you use more environmentally conscious modes of transportation.

New Mansion Square, in Battersea, is a great example of a development designed to encourage its residents to adopt eco-friendly modes of transport. First of all, it is located within the ultra-low emission zone. Also known as ULEZ, it is an area within London where an emissions-based charge is applied to non-compliant road vehicles. This initiative encourages locals not to use their cars and improves the overall air quality of the neighbourhood.

Our development also helps reach this goal by providing residents with a variety of eco-friendly modes of transport. The Zip Car Club allows everyone who lives in a New Mansion Square home to hire an electric car whenever they need to drive somewhere. The area is also spoiled with cycle and walking routes meaning locals can easily commute by bike and foot as opposed to by bus. For anyone who owns a bike and wants to make sure they can store it securely, the development also offers a large cycle store accessible only via fob.

Picking an energy-efficient home

There are several aspects to consider when finding the right home for you and energy efficiency should probably be near the top of your priorities. One thing to note is that new builds are more energy-efficient by nature. First, they benefit from better insulation and higher air tightness which helps keep heat inside the home, reducing energy bills in the winter on top of it.

Then, the use of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery means that the home is supplied with fresh air without having to open the windows on cold winter days or very hot summer nights. This will reduce the need for heating or cooling and, as a bonus, lower the cost of energy bills.

Another efficient way to reduce energy consumption is by having a lot of natural light in the home thanks to appropriately sized windows. The sun can warm the rooms and decrease the need for artificial lighting during the day, without any risk of overheating in the summer.

Our Southmere homes tick several boxes when it comes to eco-friendly features. They benefit from underfloor heating provided by a communal heat network to lower costs and carbon emissions. Double-glazed windows and balcony doors ensure good insulation levels, meeting London standards. Mechanical ventilation with a filtration system prevents overheating and smart meters allow residents to check their energy consumption. Finally, to prevent water wastage, taps are fitted with flow restrictor attachments.

If you want to learn even more about eco houses, you can read our post about the environmental benefits of buying a new build home.

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