New Sustainability Standard

The launch of an independent sustainability standard for new homes will help incentivise housebuilders to use responsibly sourced materials, according to Marley Eternit. The roofing and facades manufacturer welcomed the launch of the new BRE Home Quality Mark this week, saying that it will help to fill the materials standards gap that will be left by the Government scrapping of the Code for the Sustainable Homes (CfSH).

Gavin White, product manager at Marley Eternit, comments: “It is vital that with the removal of the CfSH, there continues to be some incentive for housebuilders to use products that not only have the lowest environmental impact, but that are also responsibly sourced. The new BRE Home Quality Mark will go some way towards filling this gap and it will help us as a manufacturer to justify our own continued investment in BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing accreditation and sustainable product innovation.

“It is also positive to see that the new standard is focussing on the durability of materials used, as this is an important factor for the roofs of new build properties, where NHBC claims have historically been very high due to mortar failure. Given this fact, we would encourage the BRE scheme to give a higher rating to those developments that use dry fix on the roof. The scoring system does also reference lower insurance costs, so it will be interesting to see if insurance companies will offer discounts based on quality and durability. In the past this has only tended to happen for security improvements, such as five point locking systems and burglar alarms.

“The Home Quality Mark is a voluntary standard, so its success will entirely depend on its take up among housebuilders and developers, as well as its perceived value with house buyers. A good sustainability standard needs to drive change and environmental improvement, not just reward good practice that is already out there. It is good that the BRE has been working with current housebuilders to develop the scheme but what is the incentive for wide scale adoption, including budget developers?

“Having said that, we hope that the new BRE standard is widely taken up by house builders and that it eventually becomes viewed with as high a regard as BREEAM, which is an accolade that developers aspire to achieve. Despite its complicated nature, the CfSH did push both housebuilders and manufacturers to do more to reduce environmental impact and invest in sustainable innovation and we hope the new Home Quality Mark will continue this drive to improve.”

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