Hastoe Housing Association Limited
Holcombe, Somerset

Scheme Summary
A development of eight family houses built on a rural exceptions site to provide affordable housing for local people. The scheme was awarded the BREEAM Environmental Standard (now EcoHomes).

Scheme details
The houses were built on low grade farm land on the edge of the village. The project was financed by the Housing Corporation and developed jointly with Mendip District Council as a demonstration project for its local Agenda 21 programme. The Environmental Standard Award was given with credits for the following features:


Mandatory credits

Optional credits

Global issues and use of resources:

  • maximum CO2 emissions:
    less than 50m2 31kg/m2/yr
    50-100m2 30kg/m2/yr
    more than 100m2 29kg/m2/yr
  • all insulation materials with an ozone depletion potential of 0.10 or less
  • all solid timber from well-managed regulated sources or suitable reused timber all timber panel products from well managed regulated sources or suitable reused timber
  • storage containers for recyclable household waste.

Indoor issues:

  • formaldehyde emissions minimised, timber treated only where necessary and always treated industrially prior to use; no asbestos and no added lead in paint.

Global issues and use of resources:

  • all insulation materials with an ozone depletion potential of zero
  • low energy lighting
  • provision of gas cooking point
  • at least 50% recycled or reused materials in walls

Local issues:

  • ecological damage to site minimised
  • ecological value of site enhanced
  • WCs with purpose-designed maximum 6 litre flush
  • rainwater butt

Indoor issues:

  • thermal insulation protected in lofts
  • provision of house log book


Passive solar gain was enhanced by using a double fronted design on some of the houses. Passive stack ventilation was provided. In addition to the recycling facilities specified in the environmental standard, each household was provided with a compost bin in the garden.

Fencing to the site was reinforced by a natural hedgerow using native species. The sustainability of the Environmental Standard features was enhanced by adaptability with six of the eight houses designed to the Rowntree Lifetime Homes standard. This ensures that local families housed in the scheme will not have to move away if their circumstances change.

Cost Implications
The houses were built in 1996/7 at an average cost of 55,000 per property. The extra over cost of incorporating the environmental features and achieving Lifetime Homes standard was approximately 2,000 per house. This is higher than normal given the combination of the two features, and the fact that more design credits were achieved than were necessary simply to obtain the award. Features such as passive stack ventilation were included even though they were not in the award scheme.

Developer's Comments
This was the third of Hastoe's village schemes to be designed to BREEAM. An option on the site was held by a developer and the building contract had to be negotiated with that company. Although we were able to bring in our own architect, the negotiations would have benefited from the early use of an environmental performance specification. A standard set of clauses explaining requirements and assessment procedures was produced for a subsequent scheme. The houses have proved popular with residents once a number of initial problems were rectified. A number of the environmental features and the Lifetime Homes standard have been adopted as part of our standard Development Brief.

Contact: Jenny Wain, Director of Baker Homes, Hastoe Housing Association, Harlequin House, 7 High Street, Teddington, Middlesex TW11 8EE
Tel: 020 8943 0429 Fax: 020 8943 2163
Email: jwain@bakerstimber.co.uk