At Acorn, we’ve long been advocates of sustainable building practices. We’ve cemented our approach with the launch of Acorn Green which documents our ongoing bespoke commitment to sustainability. Here, we shine a light on the ways in which we implement these principles in the homes and spaces we create.
Regeneration plays a central role in sustainability and this approach is the backbone to our projects. Where possible, we aim to regenerate and rejuvenate existing buildings instead of demolishing them. A large part of this also means building on brownfield sites which make up over 80% of our live projects, and of those in the pipeline.
Our strategy reduces primary energy consumption and CO2 emissions by retaining the embodied energy within a building. Not only that, regenerating buildings and using existing brownfield sites causes less disruption and maintains the heritage and landscapes of local communities.
We’re also active supporters of regional economies, using local firms and organisations where we can. As well as generating value within the immediate area, it’s our way of championing local expertise and skills.
Nurturing local environments
Another significant aspect of our sustainable building practices is ensuring that local environments are appropriately managed, in order to protect the land and wildlife. This is because we are aware that the health and wellbeing of people and communities is closely linked to the preservation of nature. Contact with nature makes us feel good and benefits all of us on a daily basis.
Examples of how we’ve enabled local biodiversity to thrive include the relocation of more than 100 Great Crested Newts. The newts were discovered during the building of our Cottrell Gardens project set within a conservation area in the Vale of Glamorgan. Here, we located breeding ponds and maintained hedgerows to create a series of wildlife corridors so that they and other local wildlife could thrive.
All our projects incorporate the needs of local ecology. We regularly plant native trees to enhance local landscapes and provide shelter for indigenous wildlife, along with bat and bird boxes as well as bee bricks too.
Long term infrastructure
We believe that all buildings should be made to last. Not just structurally, but they should also be forward looking while enriching the environment. As such, we added sedum roofs to selected properties at our Cubis Bruton project in Bruton, Somerset. In addition to providing homes to insects, they generate the perfect microclimate for them too.
Living roofs aren’t just a haven for wildlife, they’re an important element within sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS). This system essentially combines manmade solutions with natural water cycles enabling surface water to be absorbed and released back into the environment slowly. This helps to minimise the impact of flooding.
Our buildings also make the most of current technologies and are designed to embrace the future, such as triple glazing for maximum insulation.. Wifi controlled heating systems also allow residents to monitor their energy use. Recent projects also include cables ready to be adapted for electric car charging and the addition of solar panels.
The future of sustainable architecture
Acorn is fully committed to a green future, and we are continually looking at ways to reach our zero-carbon goal. The projects we’ve already undertaken are just the beginning as we continue to navigate the ways in which we can balance the needs of the population, the environment and wildlife.
In fact, our design and construction teams are already looking at how we can build zero-carbon homes that are desirable to live in, and safeguard the environment for the future.