Sunday, 9 March 2014

Making a home for all

It’s been several years in the coming but in the last month what used to be the school field where I work is being turned into a new housing estate. Warwick is bursting at the seams and there are new developments planned all over the place.

I have made my peace with this development in regards to its placement and design. I’m not pleased with the number and spread of houses in the county and feel that it won’t be many years before there will be a single conurbation from Warwick in the south to Cannock or Lichfield in the north but what I feel necessary to state is the way in which housing is handled.

I don’t know if anyone has been watching ‘Permission Impossible’ on BBC2 but the series is an interesting insight into the planning world. My concern at this moment is not where the houses are put although this is a major issue but more how they are made.

As a country we have a looming energy crisis and climate change targets to meet. Governments seem to be focused on the short sighted schemes of biodiversity offsetting that can often be just green wash for developers. 

At present the government offers periodic subsidies for householders to fit solar panels to existing houses. This is a laudable goal but again is short-sighted. Homeowners, in this economic climate, who may have the economic wherewithal to implement such a scheme, may not see the benefit of the scheme in the payback time therefore limiting the pool of possible properties it can be used on. But when the cost of fitting solar panels for electricity or heating are weighed against the cost of a new house it is a wonder why new houses are not built with this as an integral part of the build. 

I m not saying that every new build must have solar panels but that as with affordable housing a legislated percentage of all homes in a development must have some renewable energy source, green roof on the garage or rainwater reservoir system. There are then the simple additions such as bat bricks, house martin and swift nest boxes that could be added to houses. 

To me its a no-brainer  the cost of a solar panel system can be incorporated into the price of the house and the benefit of pay back and electricity that can be sold back to the grid as an offset should be workable.

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