Community Land Trust Network research

The Community Land Trust Network has commissioned research that shows that, in general, community led housing groups plan to build houses that are greener and more sustainable than the average new build home.

The research in Leading to Net Zero is based on an analysis of a randomly selected plans for community led housing projects, which found that – based on the plans alone – the projects would create more sustainable homes than the average minimum energy standards for the UK. It is difficult reach a firm conclusion, as the plans alone do not reflect what is – or will be – built, but what the ambition is at the start of each scheme.

However, the findings do show how far beyond minimum standards owner commissioned homes go, ambitions that are frequently reflected in custom and self build homes. This is because self builders, in general, invest more in their projects than volume builders building to tight profit margins. Not only is profit not the motivating factor for owners, but many plan to stay in their homes for far longer than those buying a standard new-build.

For the research, the CLT Network commissioned sustainability experts HoyleDean to review a series of planning documents for schemes to assess their planned energy performance.

The results were then compared to local and national building standards for sustainability, which act as local benchmarks. The results showed that, in ambition alone, community led groups are pioneers in building to higher standards. This is an important learning for house builders in general, as construction deals with the issue of approaching Net Zero targets.

An example that stood out in the research was Cornwall CLT, which ensures that all of its homes are highly energy-efficiency and promote ecology. So far it has delivered 230 affordable homes, with 50 being planned.

Findings from the Leading to Net Zero report include:

  • 57% was the highest reduction in CO2,
  • one household saved 4.8kg of CO2 emissions
  • one household had an estimated £698 savings in energy bills.

Tom Chance, Chief Executive of the Community Land Trust Network said, “We know that communities want to tackle the climate crisis, and now we have evidence that they are taking a lead when building new homes.

“They are even managing to go for high standards with challenging affordable housing projects, in a market that is tough for new entrants. Give communities control and they will prioritise quality and sustainability.

“Communities can help the Government to drive higher standards, building skills and supply chains to hit net zero. But they need the Government to extend the Community Housing Fund, helping new entrants develop projects to the point where they can access mainstream grants and lending.”

Read the Report: Leading To Net Zero

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