Achieving Net Zero on Your Next Site

With so much talk of sustainability, pushing your ESG credentials and how the UK government wants to achieve net zero by 2050, now is the time to take action and make sure you’re paving the way for the future.  We all have our part to play, and with the built environment responsible for 38% of global emissions, and the construction industry responsible for 25% of the UK’s carbon footprint, it has never been more important to act.  Thankfully, there are many organisations that have been created to provide a clear roadmap to help the industry do its part for net zero and we have helpfully outlined several ways in which you can help.

What exactly is net zero?

Also known as carbon neutral, in essence, it’s making sure that the emissions produced match those that are removed from the atmosphere, keeping the balance in check, so levels don’t rise.  You’re effectively making as much energy as you are using.  You may also have heard the term gross zero, which means stopping all emissions outright.  While this would end our environmental issues caused by emissions, it’s not something that can realistically be done at the moment because of the way the world currently works.  Across all sectors, emissions are - and will be - created, so we can only find ways of reducing and offsetting them, at least until better technology becomes available.

Who can we turn to for guidance?  

Programmes like the World Green Building Council’s global Advancing Net Zero project and the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework from UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) give some structure and guidance to undergoing this overwhelming challenge.  The aim is to bring a collective responsibility and language to inform and provide guidance to the sector.  They highlight issues such as embodied carbon, share case studies about sustainable developments and provide insight into costings and timeframes.

What is embodied carbon?

This simply refers to the CO2 emissions associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole lifecycle of a building.  It’s one of the main factors involved in achieving net zero targets, as it encompasses CO2 generated during the manufacturing process of building materials, transportation to the site and the construction practices used.  This is entirely distinct and separate from operational carbon, which is covered later.  UKGBC’s definition goes further to include the wider development, by also accounting for roads, hard surfaces, utilities, heat networks and infrastructure.

Concrete and cement are the largest emitters of CO2, with cement production alone accounting for 7% of global CO2 emissions.  They are both the largest contributors of embodied carbon.  While the actual emissions of embodied carbon are unregulated, studies have been conducted to measure its reduction using alternative methods.  UKGBC put together a document for low carbon developments by working with Grosvenor on their development, Trumpington South.  

Different solutions put forward were to replace all hard surfaces with block paving, reduce the number of car parking spaces and increase soft landscaping in an effort to minimise hard landscaping space.  According to their research on the development, hard landscaping made up 91% of the masterplan’s total embodied carbon, and the other 9% was taken up by utilities, which is a lot of embodied carbon to consider that isn’t an individual dwelling.  Using asphalt to pave the road surface and parking areas would have resulted in concrete kerbs being used, resulting in more embodied carbon.  Simply replacing asphalt with block paving reduces embodied carbon by 17% on the roads, but removing the kerbs and replacing with soft edging only had a 2% saving.  By replacing parking areas with recycled plastic, UKGBC claims that a massive 60% reduction in carbon could be achieved.  While this could be used on the main roads throughout the development, it isn’t recommended as a sustainable alternative to block paving due to heavy traffic and increased wear, and would therefore require replacement more frequently.

Offering fewer car parking spaces as a way to reduce private vehicle usage is considered reasonable because of an increase in car share use and the availability of active travel plans on new developments.  By reducing parking spaces on the development, UKGBC notes that this extra space gives way for communal gardens, soft landscaping (including more trees) and bicycle storage, increasing biodiversity and reducing reliance on conventional means of travel.  Alternatively, the space could be used for an additional five homes on the development, giving rise to the availability of more low energy homes.

The other way to reduce embodied carbon is to look at alternative forms of heating.  UKGBC’s study of Trumpington South didn’t look at gas fired boilers, as these need to be phased out as soon as possible and any currently fitted ones will likely need extensive retrofitting to low carbon alternatives.  Individual houses are most likely to feature air source heat pumps or a district heating system in order to lower these levels of embodied carbon.  While both have their benefits, either option features a trade-off in emissions from the dwelling to the masterplan or vice versa, keeping embodied carbon an issue on the development regardless.  Because on-site energy production requires space and infrastructure to be installed, this equates to around an acre of land, or 12 homes, while individual air source heat pumps carry their own carbon through setup and installation.  According to the study, there is a less than 1% saving in embodied carbon on the development by using a development-wide district heating system compared to individual air source heat pumps.  Based on this, it may be worth considering air source heat pumps on your next development so you can utilise the extra space from reduced car parking at the same time, whether for more trees, bicycle storage or more homes.

What is operational carbon?

Operational carbon comprises of CO2 emissions in relation to the heating, hot water, cooling, ventilation and lighting systems of an individual dwelling.  To achieve a net zero target in terms of operational carbon, all of these need to be powered by renewable energy.  In order to reach the 2050 target, 1 in 4 existing homes in the UK will need to have photovoltaic (PV) panels installed, but this statistic will likely increase before 2050 if new builds don’t feature PV panels as standard.  While the national grid will not be fully decarbonised even in 15 years, it’s mainly up to buildings to make use of renewables to achieve net zero goals, which is why new builds are expected to feature renewable energy generation.

New buildings will be expected to have low operational energy demands, making it easier to offset any emissions and generate the necessary power to cover most costs.  While it will help ease pressure on the national grid, in most cases it won’t be possible to cover full operational costs using on-site renewables.  We need to start doing our part to ease the burden on the national grid.

What is offsetting?

This involves buying permits generated by projects dedicated to removing emissions from our atmosphere in order to compensate for any emissions unable to be eliminated through the construction process.  Offsetting is typically used in the final stage and must not be relied on for all emissions because the technology is expensive and improvements may not be available for a few decades.

In 2021, only two accredited offset schemes existed, according to the UK’s Environmental Agency, but many organisations exist today.  They usually require payment to plant trees or invest in renewable energy systems after calculating your carbon footprint.  Any offsetting scheme you choose should be regulated, verified and third party audited, and will give you certification.  Not only this, but it’s important to publicly disclose the details of any offsetting, so buyers, developers and governments alike can see you making a difference.

How much is this going to cost?

With all the talk of actions that can be taken to get towards net zero, there will inevitably be a conversation about how much this will all cost.  While some sources indicate costs of alternative sustainable means are more expensive, especially in the short term, UKGBC indicated in its report of Trumpington South that while alternative measures were put forward, costs only increased by 0.6% between their proposed basic and most sustainable scenarios, whilst achieving a 20.3% reduction in embodied carbon.  Other sources, like the Committee on Climate Change, seem to indicate that construction net zero will cost 1¬-2% of the UK’s GDP to 2050, which equates to about £50-70 billion a year.  

Naturally, as with all supply chains, investment and procurement of more sustainable materials will lead to an increase in their adoption and drive down their costs.  The government also has a part to play in strengthening supply chains.  By shifting its focus away from short term targets and focussing on whole life carbon performance, this will encourage the industry, and thus suppliers, to think creatively to deliver more innovative solutions.  The main question to ask is not about what short term costs will be, but what the overarching cost will be if we fail to meet net zero targets by 2050.  If more sustainable means aren’t integrated into new builds from the offset, extensive retrofitting will cost more in the long run, both in terms of installation and more embodied carbon, so the vicious cycle continues to harm net zero efforts caused by inaction.

How do we implement change?

How does this all boil down to simple steps that you can follow and implement?  The best thing you can do is become familiar with the net zero brief and what is required of you to make sure you’re driving meaningful change.  From there, it’s simply a case of minimising embodied and operational carbon, maximising the use of renewable energy and then offsetting any remaining emissions.

Think of alternative materials to use in order to reduce embodied carbon.  A greater emphasis should be placed on materials that can be easily recycled or reused at the end of the building’s lifecycle.  This step will most likely be the hardest to implement, but continual emphasis on it will drive industry change and lower costs.  If you must use concrete, mix it on site and reuse materials where you can, as was done for the London 2012 Olympics.  This will reduce transport costs as well as any more embodied carbon.

Make sure systems are installed that help the building run on low energy costs.  While gas boilers may be the easiest and cheapest option for now, you’re doing yourselves (and the wider population) no favours by still fitting them.  Gas fired boilers are the main heating source for 85% of homes in the UK, but none of them should be operational by 2050 in order to meet net zero targets.  Instead, 80% of homes need to be using a heat pump system.  With various reports indicating that the UK is likely to miss the 2050 net zero target, it’s more important to implement these changes now in order for us to have a chance.

It’s frequently reported now that homebuyers want to move into greener homes.  Shakespeare Martineau surveyed 500 buyers and an overwhelming 77% said they are likely to consider a green home as their next property.  Almost 40% said it was on the grounds of environmentalism, while almost 30% mentioned that it will save them money, and 35% citing a reduction of energy bills.  By equipping new homes with sufficient energy saving smart home technology and renewable energy generation, you will attract buyers more quickly whilst helping reach net zero targets.

After reducing your carbon footprint throughout the whole building process and lifecycle of the building, the rest can be omitted through carbon offsetting. Where emissions are inevitable, offsetting removes these from the environment.  It’s equally important not to rely on offsetting in order to continue a “business as usual” approach.  Offsetting is a last resort for inevitable emissions, not any and all emissions.  

What can we conclude?

Net zero is a monumental challenge, and with retrofitting becoming a bigger issue in the future, it’s important to tackle it today.  A “business as usual” approach is very much frowned upon and will get us nowhere, shifting the blame to someone else to worry about or delaying action.  By taking issues into our own hands, as an industry, we can enforce government change and industry attitudes in order for construction to achieve net zero by 2050.  You can inspire others to take similar action, which will remove any barriers to implementation through increased adoption.  Sign up to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment and #EndGasNow pledge today to start implementing changes for tomorrow.

Bibliography

1. www.gov.uk/government/news/uks-path-to-net-zero-set-out-in-landmark-strategy

2. www.ukgbc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/UKGBC-Whole-Life-Carbon-Roadmap-A-Pathway-to-Net-Zero.pdf

3. www.nationalgrid.com/stories/energy-explained/what-is-net-zero

4. www.worldgbc.org/advancing-net-zero

5. www.ukgbc.org/ukgbc-work/net-zero-carbon-buildings-a-framework-definition

6. www.carboncure.com/concrete-corner/what-is-embodied-carbon

7. www.ukgbc.org/ukgbc-work/building-the-case-for-net-zero-low-rise-developments

8. www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Operational_carbon

9. www.netzerocarbonguide.co.uk/guide/where-to-start/what-is-a-net-zero-carbon-building/summary

10. www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/what-is-carbon-offsetting.html

11. dwfgroup.com/en/news-and-insights/insights/2021/10/can-the-construction-industry-achieve-the-net-zero-target

12. lidw.co.uk/delivering-infrastructures-transition-to-net-zero

13. www.raeng.org.uk/RAE/media/General/Policy/Net%20Zero/NEPC-Policy-Report_Decarbonising-Construction_building-a-new-net-zero-industry_20210923.pdf

14. www.concreteconstruction.net/business/management/green-concrete-for-the-london-olympics_o

15. www.ukgbc.org/climate-change-2

16. www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/uk-set-miss-net-zero-targets-reports-conclude

17. committees.parliament.uk/committee/517/industry-and-regulators-committee/news/161468/uk-will-miss-net-zero-target-without-urgent-action-warns-lords-committee/

18. www.shma.co.uk/our-thoughts/releasing-our-green-homes-report-what-buyers-want/

19. www.worldgbc.org/thecommitment

20. www.endgasnow.uk

More Blog Posts

Five Top Customer Care Tips for New Homebuilders

With 86% of buyers willing to pay more for a better customer experience, it has never been more important for homebuilders to deliver excellent customer care.

Monthly Quiz Answers - May

Name the TV shows these famous homes appeared in.

May Round-up - ESG, Net Zero and the Spaciable Spread

From ESG Conferences to the spread of PropTech, Managing Director David Graydon shares his thoughts on the key issues facing the property industry this month.

The Proof is in the Postcodes

As Spaciable sweeps the nation, we decided to map out all of the developments on our award-winning portal to show our reach from Elgin to Plymouth, and Donaghmore to Norwich (and everywhere in between)!

Five Key Takeaways From the Resi ESG Conference

The Resi ESG conference took place in London at the beginning of May. Here, we have outlined five of the most significant messages from the conference, supported by alarming statistics, showing that immediate action is needed from everyone involved.

Achieving Net Zero on Your Next Site

With so much talk of sustainability, pushing your ESG credentials and how the UK government wants to achieve net zero by 2050, now is the time to take action and make sure you’re paving the way for the future.

Monthly Quiz Answers - March

With the Oscars recently in the bag, can you name the films that starred these iconic houses?

Neighbours vs Coronation Street – Property Prices of Soap Streets Compared

Property platform Boomin has identified the soap with highest property price growth, as well as which resident stands the best chance of becoming a property mogul!

UK Property Market Continues to Defy Logic

Average UK house prices mark the fastest rising rate since 2007, with the year-on-year increase the highest in almost 40 years.

Rural Hotspots Are Getting Younger!

Forget Last of the Summer Wine – villages are competing to become First of the Summer Jäegerbombs, as homebuyers moving to rural areas are younger than a decade ago.

Homebuyers Prioritise Sustainability According to HBF Research

In the course of seven years, homebuyers’ priorities have changed from location to sustainability, with conscientious customers swotting up on EPCs.

Monthly Musings - March

Straight from MIPIM, Managing Director David Graydon shares his thoughts on the key issues facing the property industry this month.

How to Approach Climate Tech in the Office

As vital as it is to give home users the tools they need to make the most of the sustainable features in their home, it is equally important to practice what you preach, and ensure your offices are as efficient as the homes you build.

Monthly Quiz Answers

Check here to see how you fared in this month's brain teaser!

Monthly Musings

Managing Director David Graydon shares hot topics for the month ahead - from lorries to space houses!

Stop Hitting Snooze on Sustainability

After decades of hitting snooze on the wake-up call that is global warming, 2021 seemed to be the year we finally stretched our arms and rolled out of bed.

How Will Materials Shortages Affect 2022?

Effectively putting numerous projects on hold, the heightened interest in home improvement during the pandemic, a deficit of around 100,000 lorry drivers in the UK, increased labour rates and the continued impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on imports have met in a perfect storm of disruption, giving homebuilders costly headaches. But will it continue in 2022?

What Will Happen with PropTech in 2022?

Crunchbase has drawn on their data to highlight what PropTech trends we could see in 2022, helping developers and investors get ahead of the game.

In Space, No-one Can Hear You…Build?

Co-founder of SAGA, architect Sebastian Aristotelis has taken a starry-eyed approach to his profession, setting his sights on space architecture. But what are the logistics and can they be applied to more down-to-Earth projects?

Top 10 Highlights of 2021

While 2020 was full of uncertainty and angst, 2021 has given us more reason for optimism, and while it hasn’t always been plain sailing, it has produced many highlights – both from a business perspective and on a national scale.

Green Ambitions – Trendsetting Eco Buildings

The built environment could start to look a lot different over the next few decades, as a new era of architecture could be imminent. Take a look at some of the world's leading sustainable build projects.

Time to See the Light with Solar Panels

According to The Solar Trade Association, solar panels have been installed to approximately 900,000 British homes. But with so many benefits, developers should strive to install solar panels on every building – especially when building integrated solar panels can actually save on roof covering costs.

Healthy Eco Homes of the Future – How We Get There

With developers under unprecedented pressure to build sustainably, and many working towards net-zero targets, it can be tempting to prioritise this above all else.

Climate Change and Construction

Climate change is a term we hear regularly but to get to the heart of what we should be doing about it, we need to step back and remind ourselves what it actually means.

Government Allocate £57.8m to Councils for Brownfield Projects

The Government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has allocated a share of £57.8 million from the Brownfield Land Release Fund to over 50 councils in a bid to prioritise building on previously developed land.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder – Overseas Buyers Return to London Ready to Spend

After a 16 month pandemic-enforced estrangement, overseas buyers have returned to London in a boost to the capital’s developers, with prices set to rise by 8% in prime central London next year.

The PropTech Inventions Reinventing Property

Royal Palm Companies CEO and founder Daniel Kodsi highlights four PropTechs that are currently changing the property industry and will continue to do so in the coming years.

Five Houses That Ooze Supernatural-Chic

They may not be much good for a decent night's sleep but these five houses feature some inspired design choices that could be due a renaissance in new builds.

Teching the Boxes for Young Homebuyers

“Phenomenal” video tours give Auction House food for thought on approach to technology coming out of the pandemic, as property industry finally realises the potential of PropTech to appeal to young homebuyers.

Large Developers Warned About Increasing Government Scrutiny

Derek Gemmell, Partner and Head of Construction and Property at Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), has criticised the lack of clarity around the proposed new Residential Property Developer Tax (RPDT) on large developers to raise funds to address unsafe cladding on existing buildings, while warning developers that they need to remain vigilant as new taxes, penalties and restrictions are introduced by the Government.

England to Lead the Charge for EV Points

New legislation is set to be introduced by the Government that will make it compulsory for all new build homes and offices to incorporate electric vehicle (EV) charging points that can automatically charge vehicles during off-peak windows, giving developers food for thought when it comes to making parking provisions for new developments.

Artistic Collective Forms Housing Co-operative in a Bid to Become London Homeowners

Artistic collective forms housing co-operative to buy the converted pub they rent. Is this the Gen-Z answer to the housing crisis or a flawed experiment?

Block Management Sector Code Set to Establish Best Practice For Managing Agents

RICS and The Property Ombudsman (TPO) have jointly launched a consultation on the Block Management Sector Code, as managing agents, homeowners and tenants are invited to give input on a series of standards and principles that are designed to improve professionalism within the sector.

From Investment to Adoption – PropTech is Now Driving the Industry Forward

The past few years has seen much written about the potential of PropTech and the significant investment in the development of technology. Now we are seeing the first signs of the property industry’s mentality towards technology having drastically changed. Data showing increases in investment is now data showing increases in adoption, as technology drives the industry into a new era.

Building Safety Bill Introduced in Parliament

Over three years since the Hackett report was published, the Building Safety Bill has been introduced in Parliament to kickstart reforms of how residential towers are built and managed, drawing a mixed reaction from the industry. Building owners who are non-compliant could face criminal prosecution, so action is needed and we can help. Read on to find out how the reforms will affect you, and how we can help you make the adjustment.

1 in 5 Sales Fell Through in Q2 Due to Buyer’s Remorse

Quick Move Now has reported that the fall-through rate in Q2 of 2021 peaked at 39%, making the year-to-date average 38%, with 22% citing attempts to negotiate a lower price or cold feet as the main reason, and 11% highlighting the slow progress of the sale. Daunting figures, no doubt, but don’t fear! Spaciable Legal – the latest addition to our award-winning portal – can reduce fall-throughs by 75%!

Post-Pandemic PropTech – It’s Here to Stay

PropTech received a surge in interest during periods of lockdown, as contactless solutions became essential. As we prepare for a return to ‘normality’, PropTech seems to have become part of the furniture, having usurped antiquated processes, subsequently winning over an initially resistant industry.

New Homes Quality Board Launch Consultation of New Code of Practice

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has shared the details of its new Code of practice, which is designed to address the shortcomings of existing Consumer Codes and is open for public consultation. Find out when it is expected to come into play and how Classic Folios can help you make the transition by reading on.

Are Retirement Villages the Future of the High Street?

What is the key to resurrecting the High Street? More bars and restaurants? Leisure activities, such as crazy golf and trampoline parks? Or is it actually retirement homes? The Audley Nightingale Place is one of a number of retirement villages popping up in cities, where once stood shops and office blocks, and these types of accommodation could be vital to helping the High Street thrive once again

We are very excited to showcase our latest product.

In partnership with WeCOMPLETE, SPACIABLE LEGAL, which is a digital conveyancing tool that will revolutionise the conveyancing process and reduce fall-throughs by a whopping 75%.

CLASSIC FOLIOS LAUNCHES NEW PRODUCT TO ENABLE A FASTER CONVEYANCING PROCESS

Within the industry, we are all collectively aware of the pressure on the conveyance process which has increased by 12% last year due to the extremely high level of transactions in the housing sector over the past year. To digitalise, streamline and enable a faster sales process, at CLASSIC FOLIOS, we decided to create a new effective solution to relieve some of the strain that the housing market is facing in these challenging times.

Planning Reform Included in Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech signalled a major shake-up of processes in the property industry, with ground rent and building safety reforms being somewhat overshadowed by the controversial Planning Bill, set to modernise the planning process. But not everyone is on board.

Land Ahoy! Developers Competing for Limited Residential Land Supply

A shortage of land has led to developers getting increasingly competitive for medium and large scale schemes, with a number of developers citing the availability of land as the most pressing issue for the next quarter.

Stamp Duty Holiday: An Alternative Take

Knight Frank highlights data from OnTheMarket that shows a 30% rise in properties going under offer in England and Wales in March, compared to the same month in 2020; however, the smallest increase seems to come from those with the most to gain

More, More, Mor(tgage)

Financial Reporter has highlighted figures from Twenty7Tec that show a 26.7% increase in searches for standard residential mortgages, between February and March, offering more evidence of a strong post-pandemic market.

Energy Efficiency Figures Show Two Sides of the Coin

Inside Housing has reported that between October and December last year, 84% of new builds in England and 87% in Wales, received an energy efficiency rating of A or B – the two highest grades, while only 3% of existing buildings in England had a rating of B, showing the chasm between new builds and those predating energy efficiency regulations

Record-breaking Bitcoin Investment to Help Blockchain Become Blockbuster

Dubai-based Khurram Shroff, chairman of IBC Group, has invested 100,000 Bitcoin (currently worth an eye-watering $4.8 billion) to create the Miami 2.0 Blockchain Strategy Foundation, among other joint ventures, marking the biggest Bitcoin investment in history.

Trees to Grow Out of Concrete Jungle

Eindhoven social housing development blooms with vertical forest, just one of the project’s numerous sustainable features, setting a new standard for affordable housing.

Rightmove Report 9 Million Reasons for Optimism

Home Tours Go Viral

London-based property developer, Avanton, embraces Tik Tok to market apartments to a new generation of buyers.

New Home Quality Board to Set New Standards for Housebuilders

The New Homes Quality Board (NHQB) has been launched to introduce a new code of practice on how “homes are built and sold and how customers are treated”. So, what does this mean for the Consumer Code for Home Builders?

The Wonderful Wizard of Conveyancing

The conveyancing stage can be frustrating for buyers at the best of times, largely due to the work seemingly being conducted by a mysterious wizard behind a giant curtain, such is the lack of transparency. With some buyers waiting up to 40 days for local searches to be carried out and conveyancing costs doubling, Spaciable Legal pulls down the curtain to give buyers real-time updates and speed up the process.

How Great Customer Service Can Save You Time and Money

Improving your customer service is one of the most impactful ways to save time and money, while enhancing your market position. There are a number of ways to do this and we can show you how.

Proptech Set to Shine in 2021

PropertyMe has collated Proptech predictions for 2021 from five experts, noting that with Proptech start-ups benefiting from over $43 billion in funding since 2012, it could be set for a defining year. So, how can Proptech kickstart a tumultuous decade?

The UK Still Has (Post-) Brex Appeal

Even after a tumultuous year, research by DLA Piper suggests the UK is the global hotspot for overseas property investment. But does this help or hinder the local market, and could it price out first-time buyers?

The Great Migration

The living nightmare that was 2020 saw people (sometimes literally) running for the hills, with Londoners leaving the hustle and bustle, in favour of open spaces. New figures from Hamptons and Rightmove help us identify where people are moving to en masse, and which regions and towns developers may want to keep a close eye on.

The Season for Giving

London and Home Counties-based developer Fairview New Homes pledges to donate £10,000 to buyers’ chosen charities when reserving a home at the Welcombe House Collection.

2020’s Lockdown and 2021’s Bounce Back

MakeUrMove has recently published a report on the changing needs of tenants in the wake of the pandemic. While the report focuses on rented accommodation, many of its findings can be applied to the property industry as a whole, giving insight into what can be expected in the coming months and years

Help to Buy 2.0 Open for Business

First-time buyers can now apply for the new Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme, to get on the property ladder with a new-build home, with the new scheme building on recent Government efforts to create more homeowners.

How to Add Value to Your Homes

What are the biggest turn-ons and turn-offs when it comes to home design? Hammonds Furniture has delved into the question of what adds value to a home and revealed some interesting results.

GoodBuy Generation Rent

Boris Johnson has elaborated on his plan to create new homeowners through long-term fixed-rate mortgages, as first proposed in last November’s Conservative election manifesto, in a bid to change ‘Generation Rent’ to ‘Generation Buy’.

Protection from Paint

Usually when we are thinking of decorating our homes, we pick up paint swatches from our DIY store, so we can decide between various shades of the same basic colour, all with names like ‘Emerald Blanket’ and ‘Lizard’s Tail’. Now, we may start selecting our wall paint based on its health benefits.

How Ethical is Ethical Investing?

Home REIT, a real estate investment trust, is planning to let accommodation on 20-30 year leases to charities, housing associations and other regulated organisations that receive housing benefit from the local or central government to provide accommodation for the homeless, while aiming to provide a return of 7.5% per annum to investors over the medium term.

The City of Tomorrow

Cities have changed and adapted throughout history, though for many of us, probably not a great deal in our personal experience, save for some beloved chains leaving (RIP Woolworths). But the high street has long been suffering from the popularity of online retail and the current pandemic landed some even heavier blows, forcing a reevaluation of how cities can benefit us and vice versa.

Pandemic Makes PropTech Impossible to Ignore

Just as FinTech companies cashed in on the uncertainty, distrust and anger at established financial systems in the wake of the 2007-08 crisis, PropTech companies could be set for a similar redefining role in the post-COVID property industry.‍

We find ourselves in a defining moment for urban transport.

With the government greenlighting rented electric scooter trials ahead of schedule, we may be taking the first steps towards the electric vehicle revolution sooner than expected.

The Price of a Stamp

This month saw the announcement of The Great Big British Stamp Duty Holiday (at least I think that’s what its formal title is?!).

Building Towards a Better Future…In Principle

It’s clear that the property industry is going to be integral to the post-COVID recovery.

COVID-19 Summary for Businesses and Next Steps

I hope this finds you well in these trying times. We all like to think we are well-prepared to deal with the challenges thrown at us by the business landscape but then something like COVID-19 tears up the rulebook

Turn Customers Into Salespeople – Pass It On

Planning for the People with Place Score

We all want to feel like we are part of a community, but how often do we feel our voice is really heard? Enter Place Score: a groundbreaking tool that captures human-centric data to help governments, local authorities and developers design neighbourhoods with the residents’ input at the forefront of decisions.

A guide to Corporate Responses to COVID-19

With coronavirus having an unprecedented impact on businesses of all sectors and sizes, many companies are having to take unfamiliar measures to ensure they are in as strong a position as possible when normality eventually resumes. We have outlined some tips to help minimise the damage caused by the pandemic.

Coronavirus Hits Housing Market

The wave of momentum that followed the general election and relative closure to the Brexit saga is already feeling like a distant memory, with the coronavirus outbreak wreaking havoc on a multitude of industries.

Tech Tock – Microsoft Set Deadline to Achieve Carbon Negative Status and What It Means for Real Estate

It seems that tech powerhouses, such as Apple, Amazon and now Microsoft are quickly realising that if they don’t put sustainability at the top end of their agenda, buying the latest iPhone, Echo Dot or Surface Pro is going to be the least of people’s worries.

Budding Buyers Buoyed By First Homes Scheme

In a bid to create more homeowners, the Government has proposed First Homes – a new scheme that will provide new build homes for local residents at a 30% market discount rate.

Turn Customers Into Salespeople – Pass It On

Many people would consider a positive review of a company from a trusted friend the most earnest form of marketing.

What’s Smart, Green and Can’t Be Ignored?

It’s more than a buzz word. It’s more than click-bait. It’s more than fear-mongering and the responsibility doesn’t fall at one single person’s doorstep. These statements aren’t hot takes; they are indisputable – that much is all too clear now. Articles published by Unissu and Raconteur highlight the necessity of collaboration in the quest to create a smart, green future. The shared message is clear: the responsibility doesn’t fall at one single person’s doorstep. The property industry can certainly help to set a new standard, but it relies on the application of green innovations from homeowners, tenants, office workers, companies, and so on.

The Roaring Twenties Part II?

‘The noughties’ is plagued by innuendo. ‘The 10s’ just sounds far too abridged to constitute a decade. ‘The Twenties’, however, at least sounds like the millennium’s first era, in much the same way Antony Slumbers suggested ‘the Roaring Twenties was the first real decade of the 20th Century.’ And so here we stand, 100 years later, in the early days of the 2020s, on the precipice of what some scholars, such as Klaus Schwab, are labelling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. But should we expect another boom period or heed the warning of history and prepare for the grinding halt that the Wall Street Crash brought the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties to in 1929? In listing 20 changes to the real estate industry to expect in the 2020s, Antony Slumbers suggests we should be optimistic.

Like, Comment and Buy a New House on Facebook

In almost 16 years, Facebook has changed from a way for teenagers to plan trips to town and cast a wider social net than they would know what to do with to a commercial powerhouse that is rife with targeted advertising and occasional photos of people you no longer recognise. Now, users can search for properties to buy or rent through Facebook Marketplace, with property portals such as OnTheMarket using it to advertise homes. With almost 45 million Facebook users in the UK, the expansion of Marketplace from seller of sofas to purveyor of properties is sure to have invited attention from the offices of Zoopla and Rightmove; however, with Zoopla drawing 50 million visits per month and Rightmove 127.5 million, it is unlikely they will be usurped overnight. That being said, developers looking to advertise new builds may feel inclined to embrace the platform to maximise their reach.

Farming at 140ft

At a time when so many sectors are under scrutiny for the detrimental impact their practices will have on future generations, it’s encouraging to see members of our industry embracing creative solutions to combat the environmental crisis, with urban farming proving the sky truly is the limit for sustainable living.

Google Parent Company Receives Green Light for Green Living

TechCrunch has reported that Alphabet Inc.’s urban innovation subsidiary, Sidewalk Labs, is set to proceed with its smart city development on the Toronto waterfront, despite backlash from a public wary of the company’s use of personal data. Why? Because Alphabet Inc. is the parent company of data consumer en masse, Google.

A 2020 Vision of Customer Service

As 2019 draws to a close, so too does the window for 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner becoming a prophecy. There are no flying cars, no android war and things still happen during daylight. That being said, Acquire’s forecast for customer service trends in 2020 suggest artificial intelligence is making significant, but thankfully less dystopian, strides.

The Rental Market

The number of homes in the ‘build to rent’ sector are increasing by 20% year on year, with an expected 1.7 million units estimated for when the market reaches full maturity

HBF Survey News

In light of some recent bad press concerning the customer service of some national developers, it is worth reminding ourselves of the value of a customer who feels genuinely cared for.

Hotel Offers Living Space

With Virgin Hotels developing a 40 storey hotel in Miami, 15 floors of which will offer furnished residential spaces, are mixed use, co-living developments becoming a popular alternative to apartment buildings?

Developers Affected By Crossrail

Developers working on projects on the Elizabeth Line can be forgiven for looking through their hands at any news mentioning Crossrail, as positive progress updates seem to be diluted by concerns or threats to the high capacity railway.

Free Money

News from Scandinavia with implications on lenders and spenders rubs off on UK mortgagees, as long-term, fixed rate, low interest loans are offered to buyers. Is this good news for buyers or worrying news for the economy?

A Demand for Affordable Living

Affordable living in London with a long-term outlook? Tenants today, homeowners tomorrow. London Living Rent and London Shared Ownership boosted by new plans.