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Commit to making better housing

The future for sustainable quality housing – A view from the Good Homes Alliance

The future for sustainable quality housing – A view from the Good Homes Alliance

It’s estimated that the UK needs to build 250,000 homes every year to keep up with demand, but the Government is falling short on delivering this. These missed targets are also impacting the quality of housing, following the axing of key environmental building legislation, and Julian Brooks of the Good Homes Alliance calls on the Government to renew its committment to investing in higher quality, sustainable homes for all.

The GHA defines good homes as: environmentally and socially responsible, low energy, performance compliant, future proofed for climate change and healthy for occupants. It was established in 2007 and is based in Islington, London.

Since it was formed some great examples of sustainable quality homes have been built, mainly by independent developers some of whom are GHA members but they only represent a tiny percentage of all new homes built. Government policy had also been moving more towards sustainability and higher quality standards helped along by successive Labour and then the Coalition Government, however, this all changed when the Tory Government was elected in May 2015 and is now under further threat after the vote to leave the EU.

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The Tories were the death knell for environmental matters in general but delivering housing at a quantity level completely displaced the quality argument, with the abolition of zero carbon building regulations (which took 10 years to be put in place), the Code for Sustainable Homes and a general relaxation of planning policy standards to facilitate an increase in the number of homes being built. The changes could be seen as reason to give up trying to achieve higher housing standards but it actually represents the opposite for the GHA and its members.

Whilst the policy and EU exit let downs are related mainly to energy and carbon emissions, it is also the case that other factors including occupant health, such as overheating and poor ventilation issues and internal space standards are not being addressed at a Government policy level. These issues are being left to other non Government organisations to deal with, such as the GHA, UK Green Building Council, Royal Institute of British Architects and the NHS. Furthermore, the body of research on problems relating to buildings and our health grows by the month.

Despite this rather depressing situation, there is definitely an upside and activity to promote what the GHA consider to be good homes continues.

Most recently, GHA hosted ‘Future of Sustainable Housing’, introduced by Lynne Sullivan OBE and Mike Roberts of HAB Housing. The event brought together some of the leading thinkers in sustainable housing development to identify and debate the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. With changing Government policies, COP21 and UK Plan Carbon commitments, events like these give the industry the chance to share their ideas and look at ways to ensure that the Government is held accountable for ensuring that these responsibilities are met, and not ignored.

The GHA passionately believes that the house building industry can do much better and produce more sustainable good quality homes, it continues to promote knowledge and learning in the sector and is actively developing standards, educational events, promoting exemplars and collaborating with partners to help achieve this aim.

If you are committed to more sustainable higher quality housing in the UK please think about joining the GHA so you can be part of the debate and hopefully part of the solution to providing good homes.


Julian Brooks, Network and Programme Manager, Good Homes Alliance


Good Homes Alliance

Good homes allianceThe Good Homes Alliance is a membership organisation that promotes learning, knowledge and collaboration to increase the number of “good homes” being built. It offers an alternative vision of new housing rather than the identikit minimum standard homes produced by almost all of the major house builders. It currently has in excess of 75 members who collectively represent nearly all aspects of the house building sector including: Architects, Building Societies, Charitable Trusts, Consultants, Constructors, Developers, Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Manufacturers & Suppliers, Trade Bodies, Universities and Urban Planners.

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julia whatley 4 years ago

I just feel we need natural low impact (earth ships) and real communities based on Permaculture and money shouldn’t be an issue..

graham taylor 4 years ago

we will in a capitalist world, so money is an issue.

But we can decide how we spend it, what we spend it on.

If we want a home that has ZERO energy bills and ZERO carbon footprint, then we should buy a “Taylor Made Passive Power Home” as this has ZERO energy bills and ZERO carbon footprint when living in it, you also have a ZERO fuel bill and ZERO emissions when going about your daily chores, as the house comes with an electric car.

send me an email to receive further info on our 1/2/3/4/5 bedroom homes. “unlimitedenergytechnologies@outlook.com