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Sustainability

We are committed to creating sustainable communities and developments which are both high-quality and eco-friendly places to live.

We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and maximise the implementation of sustainable initiatives wherever possible by creating sustainable, high quality and environmentally friendly communities and developments.

Our health, safety energy and environmental goals all share the same aim of protecting the environment. We continually assess our HSEE implications of our activities and actively seek the cooperation of our clients, contractors, suppliers and our employees in pollution prevention. Our goals include:

  • Ensuring energy use is lower than 100kg/CO2e per £100k turnover
  • Diverting at least 85% waste produced from landfills
  • Ensuring water use is lower than 10m3 per £100k turnover

In 2018 alone, Hill was able to:

  • Divert 93% of total waste from landfills
  • Reduce 20,000 tonnes of waste compared to 2017
  • Obtain 99.8% of timber from certified and reused sources
  • Reduce our total water usage to levels 1.3% below target
  • Enhance implementation of SMARTwaste – a reporting system where teams are required to record environmental data on a monthly basis

Our new homes are created with residents’ wellbeing in mind, whether it is as simple as ensuring ample cycle parking and footpaths so they are able to have a sustainable commute and enjoy the area around their new home, to providing their new homes offer the highest standards in sustainable technology. We also ensure our developments encompass means to support and benefit biodiversity and the local wildlife – ecological strategies include using bat and bird boxes to encourage wildlife, as well as allowing for wildflowers to grow and retaining mature trees.

Athena, Cambridge – making sustainable living the new normal

Athena, winner of the Eco- Living Award at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2019, is a collection of new homes in Eddington, a new district in Cambridge developed by the University of Cambridge which is setting the standards in sustainable living. The houses and apartments at Athena have each been built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, and includes the following features as standard:

  • Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) installed within each home. The MVHR units take heat from stale air from the house, particularly from kitchens and bathrooms and use it to warm fresh,filtered air bought in from outside, reducing the demand on the heating system.
    • Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are included on each house at Athena, and for apartments the panels are located on top of each building. The solar PV panels on the apartments are used to provide lighting and power for communal areas.
  • Each property has high levels of insulation measuring 140mm, as well as triple glazing, ensuring warmth is kept in.
  • Green roofs benefit Eddington’s ecology and slows rain run-off to help prevent flooding.
  • Aerated showerheads and taps, as well as baths with a limited capacity of water, help to keep water consumption low.

 

Homes at Athena also benefit from Eddington’s development-wide initiatives, which put residents’ quality of life at the forefront of the design.

  • A development-wide rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage system, one of the largest systems in the UK, recycles rainwater through a combination of drainage features including green corridors, permeable paving and swales. After passing through reed beds and being filtered, the water is then treated with ultraviolet light and chlorinated before being pumped back into the development for use in washing machines, flushing toilets and watering gardens.
  • An innovative underground refuse system negates the need for wheelie bins and reduces the number of costly, energy consuming collections, as well as promoting recycling. Chutes are located less than 50m from a resident’s front door and are placed on top of an underground sealed container, which automatically signals the collection company when it is 80% full.
  • Eddington’s site-wide energy centre delivers heat and hot water to homes across the development, which connect to a large district heating system. Residents have control of the temperature in their property with smart control systems in each room, which are metered.

Agar Grove, Camden – using new initiatives to pave the way for sustainable developments

Agar Grove is a multi-award winning development created for Camden Council as part of their Community Investment Programme. Its impressive list of accolades includes The Mayor’s Award for Sustainable and Environmental Planning and The Mayor’s Award for Good Growth at the London Planning Awards 2019 and the Sustainability Award at the New London Awards 2019. Once complete, the development will be the largest Passivhaus development in the UK. Passivhaus an innovative and internationally recognised building standard which results in high levels of energy efficiency and internal comfort including temperature, humidity and air quality.

To achieve a Passivhaus standard, the new homes at Agar Grove required an airtightness measurement of 0.6 Air Changes per House, or least at a pressure of 50 Pascals. The new homes we have delivered achieved am improved result of 0.5 air changes per hour. The new homes include high levels of insulation and triple-glazed windows which, in addition to reducing energy consumption, reduces outgoings for residents, minimising fuel poverty. The homes also include a MVHR system which ensures clean and filtered air is circulated and keeps the properties at an ambient temperature year-round.

Virido, Cambridge– testing sustainable standards to adapt, improve and implement

Virido in Cambridge is a collection of 208 zero-carbon homes created in partnership with Cambridge City Council. To test our sustainable design, we trialled the innovative technologies in a concept house before Virido was constructed. After winning a competition, the concept house saw a young family live rent and bill free in the house for 12 months, and in turn they provided regular feedback on the performance of the sustainable initiatives featured in their home.

Hill worked with a building research analyst from Leeds Beckett University to gather feedback from the concept house so that we could improve features in the larger Virido development to  suit family lifestyles. The feedback included adapting the MVHR specifications to make it more effective and quieter, modifying the glazing to reduce the potential of overheating in summer and including a clothes drying cupboard rather than the initial plan of a low level heater with rapid ventilation.

Heating bills were dramatically reduced compared to the average UK home and conventional new build homes, with average savings of 64%.

In addition, we implemented a building performance evaluation (BPE) programme which tested the buildings both prior to and post occupancy. This maximised learning and improvement and incorporated feedback loops throughout the entire construction process.

The concept house itself was awarded the Eco-Living Award at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards in 2015 and silver for Best Sustainable Development (Silver) at the WhatHouse? Awards 2015, while Virido also won the Eco-Living Award at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards in 2017.