29 September 2020

Hastoe specialises in affordable, rural and sustainable developments. And it makes us experts in managing the fine line between delivering energy-efficient homes and keeping building costs at an acceptable level.

10 years ago, we went one step further with the development of our first, rural certified Passivhaus scheme in Essex. Passivhaus homes are built to meticulous standards and use very little energy for heating, without compromising the comfort of householders. Although our residents in Wimbish, Essex were initially sceptical about the lack of radiators in their new Hastoe Passivhaus homes, they were soon converted when the first gas bills landed on their doormats at a fraction of the anticipated cost.

Passivhaus homes are often more expensive to build, which can put them out of reach as affordable housing. But with our experience of this first scheme – and others along the way – we have been able to emulate some of the Passivhaus principles in our own Hastoe New Homes Standard. Our standard finely balances energy efficiency against cost. And this we see as the start of our Hastoe journey to zero carbon.

Hastoe's first Passivhaus development at Wimbish in Uttlesford, Essex

In the Hastoe New Home Standard we set out how we deliver energy efficient homes that are well designed and meet UK targets for carbon reduction. It also covers water efficiency, property size and adaptability and accessibility – with the ultimate ambition of homes having minimal impact on the environment. As part of the Standard we are also investing in the fabric of our homes with high standards of quality control throughout the process. Alongside this, we’re providing more clarity to our partners on what they can expect from us and what we will expect from them.

And we will of course continue to deliver Passivhaus schemes, where they are financially viable and where we can work with like-minded local authorities. My view is that Passivhaus principles and technology continue to play a key role in achieving zero carbon for the future. Reducing the energy demand for heating a space by up to 90% has to be the right approach that will result in a reduced demand for renewable energy. And along with our New Homes Standard, this is the zero carbon road that Hastoe is setting out on.

Another of Hastoe's developments in Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire

I believe though that more developments, like Passivhaus, could be happening right now if the building industry wasn’t so resistant to implementing their tried and tested approach in more new-build projects.

What we need is for the government to be bold in their response to the consultation on the Future Homes Standard and Part L of the Building Regulations. The drive should be to improve the fabric of buildings and not provide options for bolt on technology that may no longer work in 5 or 10 years’ time. Once the building sector is on the same level playing field, I hope the zero carbon ambition will be within everyone’s reach.

Ulrike is speaking at the National Smaller Housing Associations' Conference 2020 on 4-5 November. Find out more about booking your place.

Ulrike Maccariello

Ulrike is Development Director at Hastoe Housing Association

Ulrike has worked in development for over 20 years and at Hastoe for the past 14 years. She is passionate about rural and sustainable housing.

To date, Ulrike has been instrumental in delivering 12 Passivhaus schemes and 7 schemes to AECB standard. She is now developing a new build standard for Hastoe; one that takes into consideration a wide range of factors that impact on people’s quality of life and the environment. These include not just building materials and architectural design but the efficient use of water and energy, accessibility, space standards and broadband connectivity.

Putting the zero carbon ambition within reach of every new affordable home