Marrying sustainability and efficiency in homebuilding

Victoria Brocklesby, COO at Origin, explores the impact of sustainability and thermal efficiency during housebuilding and the importance of marrying the two during the construction process.

With Part L of the building regulations becoming more stringent in June 2022 and the new Future Homes Standard beginning to emerge, there has never been a more important moment to ensure that homes are as energy efficient and sustainable as possible.

With the move for new homes to be zero carbon by 2025 racing on, the challenges of design and sustainability must be considered to ensure that the solution is effective. New targets for U-values coming into effect has left many contractors battling with the best products and materials to use to reach these low thresholds.

Recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that residential properties contributed the fourth biggest emission levels, around 15%, after transport, energy supply and business in 2020. This indicates just how big the problem is and how essential it is to lessen these levels if the nation wants to reduce its emissions across the board. The Part L regulation changes this year are calling for lower U-values in the hopes of combatting high energy usage by improving thermal efficiency. Combining this with an informed choice in materials will leave any new home as efficient as possible, without breaking the bank with expensive technology.

At Origin, our products are manufactured using high-grade aluminium. The choice to use aluminium was not just made because of the high-performance qualities of the metal, but also its improved impact on the environment compared to PVC-U or timber alternatives. Of all the aluminium ever extruded, 75% is still in circulation. This is evidence of its durability, as well as its recyclability, which is what makes it one of the best materials available in construction.

It isn’t just the frames either. Insulation is an important factor to the efficiency of glazing. On top of options to either use double or triple glazing, our products are made with a polyamide thermal break within the aluminium profile.

Our design therefore ensures that a home remains cool in the summer and warm in the winter without the need for additional artificial air conditioning methods, meaning that heat doesn’t escape and a home’s energy efficiency is increased.

Further to this, our OW-80 is also the only window on the market to offer Aerogel, as used on spacecrafts, which can increase the insulation of windows by up to 67% and making it A++ rated. There has never been a simpler way to decrease energy usage throughout a home.

Additional glazing throughout a home also allows more natural light to enter. This is great for energy bills as well as mental health and wellbeing. Reducing the need for artificial light will dramatically decrease the energy usage of a home.

Installers need not worry about the Part L changes coming into effect, as all good manufacturers are developing new and improved products with increased sustainability and thermal efficiency. Some, like Origin, have offered the solution for decades already, whilst others are playing catch up. What’s clear, is that choosing the right materials and specifications can transform a home in terms of light and feel, and its impact on the natural environment, while also keeping energy usage and bills as low as possible.