Integrating sustainability into our developments

Many of our developments are planned in a way that encourages or supports community, environmental sustainability and economic vitality. Further information about how we integrate sustainability into our developments is available in our Sustainability Report.

Energy and water efficiency

Our house types include a range of sustainable design features ranging from highly energy efficient walls and windows, to insulated loft space. This reduces running costs for our customers and helps cut carbon emissions.

Inside our homes we use energy efficient fixtures and fittings, including 100% low energy light fittings and LED recessed down lights. All appliances that we offer as standard options in our homes are at least A rated for energy efficiency. We offer smart thermostats as options in some of our regional businesses, which can help customers to control and reduce home energy use.

Through our Project 2020 research initiative we are testing a number of sustainable build technologies including the use of timber frame to replace block work and cross-laminated panels with wood fibre insulation. These techniques enable more off-site production which can improve efficiency as well as having lower embodied carbon. We will also be testing a living roof system and measures designed to improve internal air quality.

Examples of developments with environment features include Battersea Exchange, a vibrant new, mixed-use community in Central London. All 290 homes are highly energy-efficient and the whole development is BREEAM certified.

All properties at our Chobham Manor development in Stratford will exceed level four of the Code for Sustainable Homes, with reduced energy consumption, plus secure and controllable natural ventilation. The homes will also be connected to a low carbon heat network and a minimum of 20% of construction materials by value will be from recycled or sustainable sources. Smart meters will be installed within all homes to provide feedback to residents on their energy usage.

All new Taylor Wimpey homes have water meters fitted, as well as low flow taps and showers, and dual flush toilets. Some developments include additional water saving features such as rainwater harvesting, reflecting local authority priorities. Examples include rainwater harvesting for use on external landscaping at Greenwich Millennium Village and greywater systems using recycled bath water to flush toilets at Leybourne Grange in Kent and Great Western Park in Didcot.

Placemaking and design

We are increasingly focused on placemaking – developing well-designed communities that meet the needs of residents and have a strong sense of identity and character.

Our Somerdale development in Keynsham, Somerset is creating 700 new homes on the site of the former Cadbury’s chocolate factory. For each section of the development a different design style has been used to add character. Mature trees have been retained and some of the historic buildings will be used for a new retirement village and employment space. Green spaces have been improved and woodland and a community orchard added to promote long term sustainability of this scheme. Around 29% of homes will be affordable including shared ownership and social rent.

We have appointed an urban designer to work with our regional businesses on placemaking and launched our Design Academy to raise awareness and improve understanding of placemaking amongst our staff.

We ran our Design Competition with the RIBA in 2016 to inform the development of our future house types and will be building prototype homes in 2018.

Health and wellbeing

The way we design our homes and neighbourhoods can influence the health and wellbeing of future residents. This includes, for example, planning our developments to encourage walking, cycling and other physical activity, creating shared spaces for community interaction and socialising and providing access to nature and green spaces.

We are involved in three pilot projects as part of the Healthy New Town initiative with the NHS. For example, at our Whitehill and Bordon development we are exploring options for improving health, preventing illness and encouraging healthy lifestyles, while enabling older people to remain independent for longer. One of the central features will be a health hub. This will bring together GP surgeries with other health and wellbeing services such as physiotherapy, fitness, occupational health and social care with the aim of providing an integrated service for the local community.

Enhancing ecological value

We integrate green infrastructure into our sites including parks, playing fields, woodlands and gardens, sustainable drainage features and planting, alongside roads and streets. This helps create a strong sense of place, supports water management, reduces flood risk and helps to enhance biodiversity.

Recent examples include our site in Stepps, West Scotland, where we have improved local marshland, with the creation of new ponds and channels and refuge areas for amphibians, as well as bird and bat boxes and a new butterfly meadow and bare ground areas. Two nature trails have been added to encourage residents to get out and enjoy the natural environment. The site also includes amphibian tunnels under the new roads, enabling frogs, toads and newts to migrate safely from the marshland to the neighbouring loch.

At Cambourne, six hectares of new lakes and wetlands were created providing areas for recreation and bringing new species of birds, mammals and insects onto the site. At our The Chilterns development we have incorporated wildlife-friendly planting such as mature trees and native shrubs. And at Chase we, in partnership with the Wildlife Trust, have developed a comprehensive landscape strategy to enhance its nature conservation value as well as improving visual amenity and protecting cultural heritage.

Our City Mills development in London is being built with green and brown roofs, our Chobham Manor development is integrating brown roofs and green walls and Academy Central in London also includes green roofs. Brown and green living roofs have vegetation planted or allowed to grow on them. They provide a range of benefits including reducing stormwater run-off and wildlife habitats. In addition, Chobham Manor is also incorporating a wide variety of native species, fruiting trees and hedgerows to promote biodiversity.

Green travel

Many of our sites have green transport plans in place to promote walking, cycling, public transport and other green travel options.

A number of our sites have travel websites to encourage residents to use sustainable forms of transport. An example of this is the website for our Cranbrook development in Devon, which can be found at www.cranbrooktravelplan.co.uk. We have car clubs at NR1 in Norwich and Reflections in Romford. All purchasers of our new apartments at Reflections are being given a year’s free membership of the car club and a £50 driving credit.

Our Chobham Manor development includes cycle storage, electric vehicle charging points and space for use by the London Cycle Hire Scheme.

Good public transport links are an important feature of many of our sites. At The Bridge development in Dartford, for example, a local bus rapid transit system runs directly to the development, meaning that all homes are within 500 metres of a bus stop.

Our Augusta Park development in Andover has a community travel plan and provides information in residents’ newsletters. We fund a community development worker who organises events and also provide cycle vouchers and a subsidised bus pass to new residents.

Community networks

We support the development of local networks and seek to encourage a strong sense of community on our schemes. This includes investing in new community facilities and organising events that provide networking opportunities for local residents and help create connections between community organisations.

For example, a new community centre at our Willow Park waterside development in Newton Leys is providing a venue for events and a hub where residents can meet and get to know each other. The centre, which opened in 2016 with capacity for 100 people, is already being used to host community groups such as a pre-school group, the Newton Leys Residents Association and a branch of the Women’s Institute.

At Great Western Park we are working with the Residents Association to help the new community organisations develop links and work together for the benefit of local people. This has included supporting the new secondary school in their work with the on-site care home and supermarket to promote healthy eating.

We are involved in the long term stewardship of a number of our developments through Community Development Trusts, such as Leybourne Grange. We help to fund community workers at some of our developments, such as Cranbrook and Augusta Park.

Promoting local economic development

Our developments can provide a boost to the local economy through new housing, new jobs on site and in the supply chain, increased revenues for local businesses and investments in new infrastructure and amenities such as shops, doctors’ surgeries, cafes and other facilities.

For example, our development at Sherford – a new county town for Devon with 5,500 homes - will create business and commercial opportunities worth an estimated £2 billion to the local economy. This includes 400 jobs during the build and around 5,000 after completion, in the new shops, businesses, schools and community facilities of the new town. We are one of three partners in the Sherford Consortium. The Sherford Skills Training Scheme is boosting local skills and providing apprenticeships.

At our Keynsham development in Somerset we are working with suppliers and Bath College to provide opportunities for young people to gain valuable work experience. This includes apprenticeships as well as educational site visits and work placements for local students.

Protecting our heritage

Historic buildings and other unique local heritage features can contribute to good placemaking, enhancing a site’s character and sense of place. We aim to protect local heritage and incorporate it into our development plans. For example, at our Whitehill and Bordon development buildings of heritage value are to be renovated to enable them to be put into alternative sustainable uses such as restaurants, bars, a theatre and a hotel.

We regularly work with archaeologists. For example our Sherford Consortium in Devon (a collaboration between three developers) held an open day to share archaeological discoveries made on the site. As part of this initiative, children were able to join a practice dig with archaeologists while experts explained some of the history associated with Early Bronze Age burial mounds, round houses, and ancient artefacts found on the site, including pottery and coins.

At our development at the former Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Keynsham, Somerset, some of the historic buildings are being redeveloped by local charity the St Monica Trust to provide a retirement community featuring assisted-living apartments and a care home.

Public art

Planning agreement contributions regularly include public art. Recent examples include several public art works installed at our Battersea Exchange development in central London.

In 2014 we installed a piece of public art entitled the Timber Stack at our Indigo Wharf development in Chelmsford. The Timber Stack was designed by Furniture: Design and Craft student Kathryn Sumroy, from Buckinghamshire New University, as part of a Taylor Wimpey-funded design competition.