Carbon zero homes could soon be a regular fixture on all developments by Edenstone Homes – a company which places sustainability at the core of its operations. PHPD spoke with Managing Director Martin Taylor to find out more.
Like many regional builders, Magor-based homebuilder Edenstone Homes has strong historical links to the sector. Chairman Jeff Taylor, and his son Martin, the Managing Director, both worked in the industry prior to founding the business in 2003, and going back another generation, Jeff’s father was a bricklayer by trade.
When founding Edenstone Homes Jeff and Martin wanted to create a business that would help address the need for housing in South Wales and the South West of England by building premium quality homes, people would love to live in. However, as Martin explained, the reasoning also went a step further: “The formation of the business was also driven by the desire to offer direct and indirect employment opportunities, and to create a great culture for people to work in.”
The company also has a strong environmental awareness and has recently committed to delivering carbon zero homes on every development it creates by 2020-21.
Carbon zero homes
“We are committed to sustainability and take our environmental responsibilities very seriously,” said Martin Taylor. He continued: “When people think of a zero carbon home they tend to assume that it will have a much more contemporary design, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The zero carbon home we have built at Llanfair Meadow looks just like the other homes, but has the ‘hidden’ benefit of being kinder to the environment. It has a dual benefit in that while saving energy, it should also save on running costs.”
The company’s first zero carbon home is on its Llanfair Meadow development in Aberthin. To create it Edenstone adopted for a fabric first approach, maximising the performance of the components and materials that make up the building fabric itself.
Its zero carbon home also includes 27 PV panels capable of producing 8.64kW of energy, with a home battery system to store the electricity generated. Hot water and heating will be provided by an air source heat pump and there is also an electric car charger built in to the garage.
The property achieves an Energy Performance Certificate rating of 119, putting it in band A. The company has calculated that same home built to 2016 Welsh Building Regulations would achieve an EPC rating of 84 or band B.
Edenstone believes that someone living in the zero carbon home would pay £1,399 less on running costs, in comparison with the same property built to current regulations.
However, not only has the four-bedroom ‘Tewkesbury’ home been designed to produce more energy than it will require over the year, but it is also a high-quality family home featuring a desirable layout. It has a lounge to the front, with combined kitchen, dining and family room spanning the width of the property. A practical utility and convenient cloakroom complete the ground floor. With the master and second bedroom each having an en-suite, just two bedrooms will be served by the main bathroom. The master also benefits from a dressing room.
Alongside developing its zero carbon home, the company has also created another brand, Bluebell Homes, designed to appeal to a broader audience. Martin explained: “Edenstone Homes tend to appeal to the more mature homebuyer, but we recognise that there’s a growing demand from first and second time buyers. We’ve diversified our product mix by introducing the new Bluebell Homes concept. It’s currently available at River View in Lydney, but will soon be intr oduced in other areas too. With Bluebell the emphasis is on community, biodiversity, the environment, technology, health and wellbeing, with homes and community facilities.”
Between the two brands the company believes it caters for a variety of different lifestyles and budgets.
In creating new homes Martin believes that good design is critical and should take into consideration not only how people want to live now, but in the future too.
He explained: “We invest attention to detail at every level from ensuring that the external design is sympathetic to the surrounding neighbourhood and that the layouts reflect how people want to use the space. Our homes offer beautiful designs but are also very practical, with a high quality specification as standard and a range of energy efficient features. The result is that we produce homes that people want to live in.”
Edenstone Homes has a bold strategy for growth and aims to increase its output to 300 units per annum in the next five years. Martin noted: “We are an ambitious business, following a successful five-year growth strategy. We are looking to maintain a 30-50% growth per year over the next five years, while increasing profits at the same pace.
“Because Edenstone is an independent housebuilder, we are able to take a more flexible approach to the size of sites we will develop and the types of homes we will build. We also have an experienced in-house design team which takes great pride in delivering high quality design-led developments. As we expand, the size of schemes we undertake is increasing and we are building more homes.”
Martin believes that the Bluebell Homes brand will play a part in this. River View in Lydney features 166 new homes, including 133 private sale and 30 affordable properties.
The company is also active on a number of other sites. Martin explained: “Under the Edenstone brand we’re building 50 homes at The Woodlands in Dinas Powys. Properties there have been selling off plan since October 2018 and we’ve just opened a show home to inspire buyers.
“In Morriston we’ll be transforming a former quarry site into a new community of circa 300 homes catering for all segments of the marketplace including bungalows, which are in short supply. We will be landscaping the quarry basin to create a community park featuring a play area, kick about area, woodland and nature trail. We will also create a community hub building, external amphitheatre and offer electric car charging facilities.
“We also have a number of sites navigating through the planning process which, subject to approval, will launch in 2019. These include schemes around 300 homes in Ross on Wye, and 167 homes in Brockworth.”
It is clearly a busy time for Edenstone Homes. Alongside the introduction of the new zero carbon home concept and the expansion of its new Bluebell Homes brand, projections indicate the business is on target to increase turnover beyond £50m a year by 2020-21. In Martin’s own words: “It’s an exciting time for the business.”