Inside HAB: how we keep our schemes sustainable

Inside HAB: how we keep our schemes sustainable

Posted 21/08/18

Sustainability, both socially and environmentally, plays an integral part in our approach to the design and building of HAB developments. But what does it really mean, and why does it matter? Our Chairman, Kevin McCloud, is a major advocate for sustainable building, so we caught up with him to discover why it’s so important.

“A world which falls apart, or which doesn’t sustain, is a world which is doomed,” Kevin explained, “and the point of sustainable development of any kind is to ensure that future generations have access to the resources that we have access to, and that the quality of life of our grandchildren will be as rich, if not hopefully richer than that which we have had.”

That doesn’t sound easy to achieve, but at HAB we believe that any goal is attainable if everybody plays their part. That’s why we’re always looking for new ideas for our developments, both in the building process and in encouraging the community to grow once our residents have moved in.

Just a few examples of sustainable initiatives we’ve implemented so far include allotments and wildflower meadows, beekeeping programmes, car clubs, bicycle clubs, and electric grids.

On the subject of sustainable communities, Kevin commented:

“One thing that struck me, having travelled around the world, is that the common assumptions about countries where the standard of living is much lower, is that somehow life is all the poorer for it, whereas when I visit I invariably come back with a sense that their quality of life is infinitely better and richer, because they are not as material as we are, and because as a culture and as a society they share more. I can’t talk about sustainability without using the word sharing.”

Thinking outside of the box, away from a sole focus on numbers and statistics, is how we find better ways of doing things. Creating a community where people work together and share a lifestyle is a brilliant way of encouraging sustainability once the building is completed and HAB communities begin to grow. But success is never guaranteed.

For Kevin:

“The numbers approach is based on a very safe established protocol and procedure throughout delivery, so you know what works and what doesn’t. Our view is, if you want to make a community, you’ve got to be prepared for some failure.”

However for the team at HAB, in our increasingly insular society, it is vital we sow the seeds for communities to grow, and hope that they will flourish. Kevin adds:

“Most of us in the business [HAB] are probably of an age where we can remember a childhood that involved mucking about in the mud down the wreck or those places in the communities we grew up in and I think what we’ve seen over the course of our lifetimes is the slow deterioration of that. So much of what we try to do in this business is about reaching back to the way we used to organise communities in this country.”

Want to know more about HAB’s triple bottom line as a sustainable developer, and what we are doing to achieve a higher level of social and environmental sustainability? Read our Keeping Things Sustainable blog here.

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