A new sustainable decade

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Change is afoot. Last year saw us all shaken out of our collective apathy to feel that global shift from armchair to action: the call to change our habits and look after the earth. We have awoken to the “realisation that the earth is ours to lose”, as Aaron Betsky puts it. And so has a new sustainable decade arrived?

Many are already well on their way to adopting a zero-waste lifestyle, and it is finally getting easier for consumers to make better eco-friendly choices when it comes to sustainable products, food, etc.

But what about our homes? The construction industry has a significant impact on our natural habitats and accounts for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Are we changing the habits of building our buildings? 

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Our architecture practice Poulsom Middlehurst recently signed up to the UK Architects Declare Climate and Biodiversity Emergency. We also acknowledge the importance of ensuring these public declarations aren’t empty rhetoric, as Architecture for London brilliantly points out in the article “Net zero: sustainability in the construction industry”

However, knowing how to create real change is complex; there are a lot of different parties involved. As architects, we’ve seen passionate clients have to opt out of sustainable choices due to the associated price tags. And even if there is a mutual desire for sustainability between the client and the architect, there’s also the builder to get onboard.

It can all feel a bit of a minefield and hard to navigate, especially if you’re looking into retrofitting your existing home. Kit Knowles, the founder of sustainable property developer Ecospheric, sums it up perfectly: “It’s like needing to cook the perfect meal without having any choice over the ingredients, with none of your normal implements to hand, and lots of hungry guests with complex dietary requirements. It’s possible, yes, but much, much harder”.

As daunting as it seems, change IS possible. And it IS happening. Here at HomeNotes, we pledge to be an active part of the change. We want to start this new year and new decade with a renewed commitment to researching and promoting eco-focussed practices for homeowners like you. We want to help you make sustainable renovations. 

We are going to start with a series of articles introducing practices that are already well versed in delivering low-energy housing (such as the brilliant Enhabit and Bere Architects, among others). You can also read our material spotlights for more sustainable choices for your finishes. And along the way, we’ll be road-mapping the choices available for homeowners so that you can make informed decisions for your own homes.

Be part of the journey with us. Because if we’ve learnt anything so far, what is needed is a collective will. Change is possible if we do it together.

Our HomeNotes Journal is here to bring you clear and up-to-date information for homeowners renovating their homes. For more in-depth help we provide online courses to help you get started the right way!

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Open House Festival: 8th – 21st of September

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We talk to Paul Testa of HEM Architecture about why we need a national retrofit strategy and why it needs to happen now.

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Your handy guide to assessing builders

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Product spotlight: Little Bishop Hook

A neat solution for pendant lighting; we take a look at the clean design and appealing simplicity of the Little Bishop Pendant Hook

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The ‘Iron Triangle’ you should embrace

It may sound daunting, but knowing about the ‘Iron Triangle’ in advance can help you plan your project and set realistic expectations.

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Making the most of your outdoor space

If you’re living in London, then chances are you’re severely lacking in one department: outdoor space. But even if you only have a small patch to play with, this space can do so much for you with a bit of care and forward planning.

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Your ultimate guide to extractor fans

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EJ Ryder and the world of joinery

Edwin J Ryder and his team specialise in bold, creative design and impeccable workmanship in their joinery and interior finishes. We spoke with Edwin to find out how they work with clients on their property renovations.

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Why well designed homes cost more

Good design isn’t just a luxury for those with the biggest budgets; it’s a sound financial decision for everyone. We take a look at The Modern House and their approach.

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True or false: millennials are bad at managing money?

Research shows that millennials are the group most likely to overspend on their home improvements. Poor money management, or is there another explanation?

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Being the boss (yes that’s you!)

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