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Welcome to the GHA Newsletter, Futurebuild edition

Julian Brooks, Network and Programme Manager

“The start of the year has been as busy as ever as we gather momentum with phase 2 of our Build Net Zero NOW campaign. In a few weeks’ time, we’ll be launching the beta version of our new overheating risk tool and guidance for existing homes and retrofit schemes. We’ll also soon be launching an SME Developer Network, and announcing new working groups on net zero energy, finance and more.”

About the Good Homes Alliance

The Good Homes Alliance is a cross-sector membership organisation with over 80 members and partners that include, architects, developers, local authorities, housing associations, urban designers, consultants, building professionals, suppliers and more.

The GHA’s aim is to promote and encourage the building of quality sustainable homes and communities and to transform the whole of mainstream UK house building into a sustainable endeavour.

The GHA promotes higher quality sustainable housing and standards via collaborations with industry and government, creating active knowledge exchange networks, sharing best practice, running events, leading campaigns, lobbying for change, partnering on research and commissioning publications.

Find out more about the Good Homes Alliance at

Our key themes

Build Net Zero NOW! Phase 2

The Good Homes Alliance ‘Build Net Zero Now campaign’ aimed to empower progressive Local Authorities, Housing Associations and housebuilders, and their supply chains, by providing them with the knowledge and tools to deliver net zero housing.

Following a year-long series of topical events and targeted outputs, including new and freely available net zero case studies and design briefs, phase one of the campaign concluded at the GHA Build Net Zero Now Conference in October 2021.

The campaign outputs have proved vital for the 30+ members of our fast-growing LA Vanguard and HA Pathfinder networks from across the UK, who collectively represent 350,000 existing homes and 115,000 new build homes to be developed in the next 10 years.

Despite the success of the campaign, the need to accelerate the delivery of net zero housing is more urgent than ever. Build Net Zero Now continues into 2022 with renewed vigour.

Outputs for Phase 2 of Build Net Zero NOW will include a new SME developer network, focused series of events culminating in our annual conference at the end of the year, a bitesize series of events, new 2022 working groups, and continued efforts in our Vanguard Network of local authorities and Pathfinder Network of Housing Associations.

Find out more about the campaign here.

Recent news from the GHA

New working groups for 2022

During the first year of our Build Net Zero NOW campaign, five themes were identified which warranted further focus during the second phase. The themes (shown below) reflect the GHA’s holistic approach to sustainable development, as outlined in our manifesto.

To facilitate this, a new set of working groups will be launched, ‘championed’ by an expert GHA board member, and tasked with delivering a targeted and much-needed output that will help accelerate the delivery of net zero housing.
Proposed outputs include:

  • Guidance on energy/grid issues and solutions/smart tech
  • Guidance on holistic financial approaches to net zero development
  • Building Performance Evaluation training materials for QA/BPE assessors
  • Residents’ feedback/engagement with new technology e.g. ASHP
  • Guide to net zero viability assessments (for planners)
  • Research exploring quality of placemaking in net zero developments
  • Research exploring tension between net zero planning policy and practice

The working groups, open to all GHA members and invited experts, will be complimented by a series of events, workshops and case studies.

Launch of beta version of retrofit overheating guidance

Following a well-received overheating risk tool and guidance for new build homes, the Good Homes Alliance is delighted to be launching the beta version of its new tool and guidance developed for existing homes and retrofit schemes.

This responds to demand from designers, housing associations, environmental health officers, and other parties concerned with overheating risk in the existing housing stock. The aim is to produce simple practical guidance to help identify and mitigate the risk of overheating on existing homes and retrofits, informing design options and mitigation measures.

The launch will take place online on 17th March 2022, and Julie Godefroy who has co-authored the guidance will be speaking at our seminar at Futurebuild, The net zero challenge for new homes, Tuesday 1st March 2022, 14:15-15:00.

The project is co-funded by the BEIS funded REFINE project on radical decarbonisation of social housing through whole house energy retrofits, and by the National Energy Foundation. The REFINE project is one of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrators led by Warwick District Council and Oxford Brookes University with Enhabit and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.

For more information about the Overheating in Retrofit Homes project, please contact Julie Godefroy – or Susie Diamond –

New SME Developer Network to be launched

Following a two-year Vanguard Campaign and events roadshow, in November 2019 the Good Homes Alliance (GHA) formed a new Vanguard Network for progressive local authorities, now totaling over 20 members including London boroughs and councils in major growth areas such as the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

One of the main aims of the network is to share resources and conduct research to facilitate local authorities in adopting enhanced sustainability, quality, health and performance standards for new housing developments.

In February 2021, the GHA launched a second network for forward-thinking housing associations – the Pathfinder Network, which includes some of the largest HAs in the UK such as Sovereign, Vivid, Aster and Abri. As with the Vanguard Network, the focus is on sharing learning and best practice, creating new resources and guidance, and conducting original research and pilot projects.

Combined, the networks total over 30 members from across the UK, representing 350,000 existing homes and 120,000 new build homes to be developed in the next 10 years.

Building upon the successes of the Vanguard and Pathfinder networks, GHA will launch a new network for progressive developers and housebuilders that are striving to deliver quality, net zero housing.

Interested? Please get in touch with Julian Brooks, Programmes Director, Good Homes Alliance –

Housing Design Awards 2022 open for entries!

Good Homes Alliance is pleased to support the UK’s longest-running housing awards, set up by government in 1948, which are now open for entry. We’re pleased that GHA Chair Lynne Sullivan OBE is once again part of a select group of judges, made up of industry experts, government officials and enthusiasts.

The Housing Design Awards send a cross-disciplinary panel of 20 judges from key industry stakeholders, including DLUCH, Homes England, Good Homes Alliance, GLA, UDL, RIBA and RTPI, to visit typically 50 schemes shortlisted from about 150 entries each year. Rochester Riverside won the Building for a Healthy Life award and the supreme national Winner of Winners in 2020.

Last year, Good Homes Alliance supported a new ‘Towards Net Zero’ award which was won by Boughton Heath, a retirement village development in Chester by RCKa.

Whilst the Housing Design Awards continues to recognise schemes that deliver great residential architecture, we are now in a period where progressive architects must also be reducing the carbon required to build their clients’ buildings and the carbon those buildings produce in use. From 2022 the Awards requires entrants to demonstrate how their schemes address both of these key aims for carbon reduction by stating:

  • How the scheme is enabling a low-carbon lifestyle.
  • Which of these assessment tools are being used in the project, i.e. Building for a Healthy Life, Up Front Carbon Assessment, Circular Economy Assessment Plan, Community Impact (Social Value) and Post Occupancy Evaluation.
Entrance to the awards closes on 8th March. Enter here.

GHA welcomes 2 new leader members

The Good Homes Alliance is delighted to welcome both the Active Building Centre and SNRG to its ever-growing network as a Leader members. Leader members are at the forefront of the GHA and help shape our agenda, receiving a number of additional membership benefits.

The Active Building Centre and SNRG join over 80 members and partners at the Good Homes Alliance, including architects, planners, developers, academia, local authorities, housing associations, product manufacturers, building professionals and more, who share a common goal to aim for higher quality sustainable housing and standards. This is achieved via the sharing of learning and best practice; hosting events and workshops; the creation of new resources and guidance; and by conducting original research and demonstration projects.

In addition to this, Leader members are able to benefit from enhanced opportunities to support the Alliance’s agenda and workstreams, free tickets to all GHA events including the annual GHA conference, and priority opportunities to present at events and working group meetings, amongst a number of other benefits.

For more information about GHA membership and to get involved, please contact Larry Tate, Communications Coordinator –

GHA's 2021 in review

News from the Vanguard Network

About the Vanguard Network

Following a successful two-year Vanguard Campaign, the Good Homes Alliance formed a Local Authority Vanguard membership network. One of the main aims of the network is to share resources and conduct further research to facilitate local authorities (LAs) and LAs with new housing delivery arms in adopting enhanced sustainability, quality, health and performance standards for new housing developments.

A number of significant events have further bolstered the need for this research and resource, most importantly the 2018 IPCC Climate Change report, proposed UK Government targets for zero carbon and ‘Future Homes’ standards and over 250 local authorities having declared climate and/or ecological emergencies.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
Brighton and Hove City Council
Cornwall Council
Enfield Council
Essex County Council
Gravesham Borough Council
North West Leicestershire District Council
Oxford City Council
Somerset Council
South Cambridgeshire District Council
Southampton City Council
Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Warwick District Council
Wiltshire Council
Winchester City Council

East Hampshire District Council’s Pinewood Hall Pods pioneer way to help homeless

Image credits: Reach PLC

A village hall in Whitehill & Bordon will be converted into homes for the homeless in a scheme that is thought to be a first in the UK.

East Hampshire District Council, plans to construct individual studios inside Pinewood Village Halland the temporary structures, called pods, will provide much-needed accommodation for the district’s homeless

Ten dwellings are planned overall, with seven contained in the existing building and three more in the garden. The design incorporates a number of low carbon technologies including sensors to monitor the health of the building fabric.

Once it is up and running the site will be managed by the homelessness charity Two Saints, for an initial five-year period. Two Saints will provide management, support and maintenance services of the building.

Material exchange scheme adopted by Enfield Council

Enfield London Borough Council is taking part in EME (Excess Materials Exchange), a digital matching platform finding new high-value reuse options for materials/waste products.

EME’s aim it to accelerate the global transition to a circular economy by showing the financial and ecological value of materials. By challenging companies to design and produce their goods in a more efficient and circular manner.

The initial materials listed by Enfield Council are from their Meridian Water project, with a range of materials available, from metal sheeting, to bricks, to an entire service lift.

Meridian Water is a major £6bn, 25-year London generation programme led by Enfield Council, bringing 10,000 homes and 6,000 jobs to Enfield, north London, next door to the beautiful Lee Valley Regional Park.

Find out more about Meridian Water at
Visit the Excess Materials Exchange Platform

Ambitious project from Somerset and West Taunton Council to go on site

Image credit: Somserset West and Taunton

Seaward Way, A scheme of 54 new zero carbon in operation homes, all with affordable rent for Somerset West & Taunton Council, is going on site.

The project, which featured as a GHA case study, has ambitious energy performance targets, working towards the LETI definition of net zero. Low carbon technologies including PV panels, thermal storage with smart controllers and air source heat pumps will be installed with 100% of predicted total operational energy generated on site.

See the Seaward Way case study here.

Air source hear pumps specified in St Albans first for two new social rent homes

Two new social-rent homes have been built with eco-friendly air source heat pumps to cut carbon emissions. This is the first time St Albans City and District Council has equipped new properties with the pumps rather than with gas boilers and marks a milestone in their journey to net zero.

The Council is committed to tackling climate change and reducing emissions across the District to net zero by 2030 and is undertaking more than 100 actions to do so including making its homes and buildings more energy efficient.

The new two-bedroom properties were built on an unused garage site in Holyrood Crescent, Sopwell, St Albans. And both properties have been made available for social rent and allocated to families on the Council’s housing register.

The houses were built by construction firm London Dream Building and are part funded by a Homes England grant of £120,000.

The Council has been redeveloping a number of garage sites across the District which will provide more than 100 new social-rent homes.

GHA Pathfinder Network

Following on from the success of the Vanguard Campaign and Network, the GHA and the National Energy Foundation (NEF) last year launched a new Pathfinder membership network for progressive housing associations.

The main aim of the network is to facilitate housing associations in adopting enhanced sustainability, quality, health and performance standards for new housing developments. As with the GHA Vanguard Network, this will be achieved via the sharing of learning and best practice, creation of new resources and guidance, and by conducting original research and demonstration projects.

The network was launched with the kind support of our six founder members – Abri, Aster Group, Greenoak, LiveWest, Raven Housing Trust and Vivid, who between them represent over 150,000 existing homes with 50,000 new homes to be developed in the next 10 years, with Sovereign joining the network later in the year.

For more information about the GHA Pathfinder Network and to get involved, please contact Julian Brooks, Programmes Director –

Greenoak Housing Association
Raven Housing Trust
Sovereign Network Group

News from GHA members

M&G invests in sustainable housebuilder and GHA member Greencore Construction

Global investment firm M&G plc has acquired a majority stake in sustainable housebuilder and GHA member Greencore Construction.

The investment will help Greencore to significantly expand its capacity and increase its impact across the UK. M&G also plans to invest up to half a billion pounds over the next three to five years in sustainable new developments of private and affordable housing, in partnership with Greencore.

Ian Pritchett, Managing Director of Greencore Construction, said:

“With this investment, Greencore can scale to have a transformational impact on sustainable housebuilding standards in this country. The built environment is one of the biggest emitters of carbon, both in construction and occupation, but we’ve shown it doesn’t have to be this way. Our homes are sustainable to build and sustainable to live in, which is becoming more important than ever as energy prices continue to spiral.”

GHA member BuildEco named as one of 7 winners of £1bn sustainable housing framework

Oxford City Housing, owned by GHA Vanguard Member Oxford City Council, has picked the firms to help it build more than 2,000 low-carbon homes across Oxfordshire over the next decade.

In total, seven companies have won places on the two-lot framework, including offsite specialists and GHA member Buildeco.

OCHL wants to build 2,245 homes on sites across the county and to either achieve 40% carbon reduction from the Future Buildings Standard or build to Passivhaus standards.

Major new Council Passivhaus scheme in Winchester breaks ground

Image credit: T2 Architects

Winchester based T2 Architects’ scheme for Winchester City Council, has just started on site, with completion planned for 2023. T2 Architects are a GHA member and Winchester City Council is a member of the GHA Vanguard Network. The new flats, which will be accredited to Passivhaus low energy building standard will provide a total of 73 new flats in two new blocks and three new houses, and will make an important contribution to making the activities of the Council carbon neutral by 2024 and for the District as a whole to be carbon neutral by 2030.

TOWN and URBED win National Urban Design Award

Image credit: TOWN

GHA members TOWN and URBED have won a coveted National Urban Design Awards 2021 with their project Love Wolverton, which has taken first place in the Framework + Masterplans Midscale category.

The project reinstates the former street grid lost under the Agora and provides new car-free streets, a pocket park and a sustainability mobility hub and incorporates a renewable energy microgrid. The project obtained planning permission in August 2021 and will commence construction in summer 2022.

The project, which was submitted for planning at the end of 2020 by TOWN working with architects Mikhail Riches and Mole and landscape architects URBED, was recognised in July with a prestigious Festival of Place / Design Council award for the UK’s best ‘future place’.

Love Wolverton featured as a GHA case study, See it here.

Net zero and low energy housing case studies

In October 2021 GHA published 14 new net zero and ultra-low energy new build housing case studies, developed thanks to funding from MCS Charitable Foundation. The exemplar projects will help to share best practice and learning within the GHA membership network and wider industry, in the lead up to COP26 and beyond.

The case studies can be viewed on our Knowledge Base and showcase a range of construction methodologies and low energy building approaches, including net zero targets as defined by the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) and RIBA in their 2030 Climate Challenge.

As stated in our Manifesto, we believe a holistic approach to sustainable housing development is required to build homes ‘fit for the future’. This is reflected in the case studies which showcase a range of sustainability issues including energy efficiency targets, embodied carbon data, material specifications and health & wellbeing aspects such as mitigating overheating and indoor air quality.

Building performance monitoring data has been sought to prove that the case studies perform as their design intended. If data is not currently available, we aim to periodically contact project teams to collect this information and update case studies accordingly.

In addition to the case studies, funding from MCS has contributed towards the development of model clauses for Employer’s Requirements that will allow clients to set progressive targets for net zero housing, building performance and health & wellbeing outcomes. These new resources will be vital in supporting the work of our fast-growing local authority Vanguard and housing association Pathfinder networks, totaling over 25 members that are set to build 120,000+ new homes over the next 10 years.

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GHA Futurebuild 2022 newsletter

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