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Sustainable buildings: why and how?

What can we do to make our houses more sustainable, and why should we do that? We might think that the latest methods of insulation and heating, for example, are beyond our budgets, or too complicated, or too insignificant to make a difference in addressing climate change.

However, three members of our committee, Stefano Filippi, Andrea Lally Kukrika and Katharina Schauer, have gathered a wealth of material on why and how we could make our houses more sustainable without knocking them down and starting again.

Their presentation draws on national and local policies and experience that will help to frame revisions to the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan.

View the presentation here

Principles of sustainability are firmly embedded in the National Policy Planning Framework and in the Camden and Hampstead plans. But we have found in our public consultations on revising the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan that there is support for going as far as possible in encouraging sustainable architecture while still protecting Hampstead’s heritage.

It is not just a matter of altruistically saving the planet’. Realistically, we need to face up to the changes in the climate that are in fact happening, and adapt our homes accordingly so that they are more efficient, comfortable and healthy environments in which to live. Thus, sustainable retrofit will produce tangible benefits for homeowners.

Technologies are constantly being improved, for example in solar panels and heat pumps. Utility bills and maintenance costs can be cut. Solutions for each house will be different: there is no one-size-fits-all. But there is no reason not to be ambitious in trying to make our area more sustainable without feeling that we are damaging our heritage.

We are open to comments and suggestions on how we can amend our Neighbourhood Plan along these lines. Email

Up next How older homes can be made more energy-efficient Alex Nicoll wrote in the Ham&High about 'retrofitting' older houses to make them more sustainable. How to make our community more resilient Compassion can make our neighbourhood stronger, Stephen Taylor wrote in the Ham&High
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