Building For The Future


Sustainability has become the buzzword across every sector. L-J Andrew defines its true meaning in the context of contemporary real estate

Webster’s Dictionary defines sustainability as ‘relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged’.

The Founding

The world has certainly become more environmentally aware, so much so, that we have been conditioned to behave in the ‘automatic norm’ in an environmentally conscious way; doing all we can to reduce our impact on the planet and integrate social and ethical factors into our big life decisions. It’s hard to precisely pinpoint the moment ‘sustainability’ ,as we know it now, became such a big part of our lives. Technically, the concept only dates back around 35 years: receiving recognition via its first major international accolade in 1972, at the UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm.

The idea has however, been championed by public figures, politicians, charities and activist groups for a good many years before that, with a crescendo of voices joining the chorus, resulting in the spotlight on sustainable practices never being greater, including within the residential build environment.

The World Green Building Council recently presented new statistics on the environmental impact of the building services industry. A key finding is that the sector alone is responsible for 40% of primary global energy consumption. Additional findings show that 75% of annual global greenhouse emissions come from the built environment and that 40-50% of resources extracted for materials, are used for housing, construction and infrastructure. Although this may paint a rather bleak picture, it also indicates that globally, the housing industry has the potential to cut energy and natural resource consumption by 50% or more by 2050.

Charlotte of the Upper West Side

With the environment and the effects of climate change top of mind for many across the globe; buildings designed to meet and exceed energy-saving standards set by environmental organisations, as well as those that are designed with recycled materials and other energy-saving techniques, are more desirable than ever.

Developers of luxury homes are responding to this shift with new initiatives and innovative techniques to ensure that their impact on the environment is not only minimal, but also prioritises ‘putting back’ into those very communities that they are trying to shape.

Pearns Point

In the UK, real estate investors and developers have acritical role to play in accelerating the national net zero agenda. British Land’s redevelopment of Canada Water and its commitment to delivering a new net-zero neighbourhood for London by 2030, is already underway as the destination cements itself as a place to live, work, play and relax for future generations.

Earth-friendly concrete, an all-electric and renewable energy strategy and innovative heat sharing between offices and homes, are just some of the primary foundations of building this sustainable district. New homes at The Founding – the first collection of net-zero apartments to launch – off er expansive open-plan apartments set within thoughtful architecture and interior solutions, with beautiful landscaping on each resident’s doorstep. Th e scheme further benefits from panoramic views across London’s skyline while being surrounded by an enviable 12 acres of green and blue space, from parks to woodlands, alongside the docks and River Thames, enhancing the location’s natural biodiversity.

The Founding

“Canada Water is the most ambitious regeneration project underway in London and The Founding is just the first chapter in the destination’s eco-friendly evolution,” says Emma Cariaga, Head of Residential and Joint Head of Canada Water, at British Land. “We’re creating an innovative, once-in-a-lifetime new destination for London, meeting the demands and sustainable priorities of generations today and in the future.”

While significant, creating a sustainable place isn’t limited to operational practices, which in this case, are market-leading. Surrounded by green space and waterways, this new community, will enjoy revitalised wetlands and enhanced accessibility to nature from a central London location, all of which have proven benefits for mental and physical wellbeing to further enhance Canada Water’s broader sustainability proposition.

The Founding

Across the pond and believed to be the most sustainable condominium building ever built in New York City, Charlotte of the Upper West Side is a project inspired by and designed for a socially conscious generation. At the creative helm – is celebrated brand BKSK Architects, basing their design on an engineering approach to meet the exacting standards of the German-based Passive House Institute. This state-of-the-art building ‘boosts its residents’ health, wellbeing, safety and comfort’ and recently became the first condominium in NYC to be certified by the organisation.

The building features just seven full-floor homes, including a duplex penthouse residence with multiple terraces and a garden residence with gracious private outdoor space. Each home houses four bedrooms with ensuite baths, including a separate master bedroom wing, as well as a generous kitchen-living-dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Each residence at Charlotte of the Upper West Side is also crafted entirely with sustainably sourced materials.

Charlotte of the Upper West Side

All wood flooring, doors and window frames, including custom Henry built kitchens and bathroom vanities, are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. In addition, each home has its own state-of-the-art, Swiss engineered energy recovery ventilation system that delivers fresh filtered air to each room, repeatedly exchanging stale indoor air with fresh outdoor air. Robust insulation and airtight seals minimise air leaks and drafts, keeping rooms consistently comfortable and quiet, while significantly reducing energy consumption.

Todd Poisson, Partner, BKSK Architects says: “The opportunity to create buildings that support the health and comfort of residents as a core design principle, is a profound privilege. When we work with high-end developers like the Roe family who are willing to make the investment to reach Passive House certification or Net Zero standards. We set the bar for future developments by equating luxury design with clean air and low energy use. With Charlotte of the Upper West Side, we were able to create that ideal building; it’s both beautiful and healthy – a high-performing, comfortable oasis within an otherwise congested urban environment.”

Charlotte of the Upper West Side

Understanding that sustainably is important across the world and not just in capital cities, Pearns Point is a community of luxury homes being built on a spectacular peninsula on the west coast of Antigua. With the feeling of a national park, the peninsula is an area of outstanding natural beauty, surrounded by eight secluded beaches.

The development’s sustainability ethos and practices are a cause close to owner Albert Hartog’s heart. Pearns Point pays the utmost respect to the island’s native fauna and flora, utilising natural resources and locally sourced materials wherever possible, blending them seamlessly with the landscape. The area consists of over 137 acres of mature landscaping that has been carefully sub-divided into residential lots. Local workers and companies are mainly employed in construction, providing jobs for approximately 50 Antiguans. The homes at Pearns Point are designed to be energy efficient, reducing power consumption for air conditioning and pool systems.

Pearns Point

Pearns Points’ latest collaboration with multi-award winning architect Richard Hywel Evans at Studio RHE, draws on Richard’s global reputation for building sustainable designs. Described as ‘Naturally Modern’ his designs are intended to sit lightly on the land and remain at the forefront of technology and innovation, with sustainability as the key pillar.

The environmentally aware design maximises the site’s attributes, harnessing its position to utilise the available natural resources, to reduce the need for cooling and heating. For example, deep water boreholes in the sea provide free chilled water around the house from solar-driven pumps to water source heat pumps for innovative air conditioning comfort cooling.

Pearns Point

In addition, rainwater is collected and harvested and after being treated by coconut shells, the grey water is reused to irrigate the planting. Fully active and entirely controlled by a central computer gives full control of every system and enables monitoring of the house for optimum ventilation and environmental control.

Developments like these, highlight the change the industry can make across the world, creating sustainable- homes without losing creature comforts and in some cases, elevating elegant styles. Environmental expert Julian Edwards comments: “They act as blueprint examples of how we can paint a brighter, more socially conscious future.”

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