Modern Methods of Construction – Road to Zero Carbon Homes

The current demands on the residential sector have never been tougher.  We are a time where material costs are rising, climate change has become a key issue and Government guidelines are tightening.  The emphasis on low carbon is key to the future survival of the world and with this journey comes a change in thinking and attitude.  The future of housing is to go green, and this entails changing how we build and the products we use.  A combination of acute housing demand and market failures in terms of cost, quantity and quality are forcing the industry and the Government to look at MMC as a solution.

The reason for such faith being placed on MMC can be attributed to three key elements reflecting the principles driving the sector, which are namely: Digitisation, Manufacturing and Performance.

The utilisation of pre manufacturing technologies brings construction into the modern age by transferring production to the factory. With greater quality control and more efficient use of materials and labour along with more environmentally friendly materials and waste management. New homes can be built quicker, easier and be more energy efficient to meet our current and future carbon reduction targets. This is achieved by building the majority of the product under a factory controlled environment, which sends no waste to land fill, maximises recycling opportunities and using energy efficient materials which enhance the rating of the product and provides running cost savings for future residents.

Digitisation promotes consumer, investment, insurers, surveyors, manufacturers and builder’s confidence in the product and its performance.

BuildSmart, CHIC’s new build service, has teamed up with a number of key MMC providers based nationwide to provide low energy, carbon efficient homes either on a turnkey or supply only basis. The long-term contracts with these partners ensures costs are kept low and if procured on a turnkey basis, offers Members a “one stop shop” which ensures continuity and quality.

The low carbon drive is a journey not an end product. It’s about future proofing housing stock to reduce fuel poverty for the users and provide more energy efficient housing. MMC also provides a better build environment for existing residents by reducing time and disruption on site.

Low carbon can be achieved by increasing insulation, making small changes such as changing a gas boiler for an air source heat pump and by adding PV solar panels, ensuring energy bills are kept low. Other end of the spectrum is net zero carbon which is a construction journey from the design of the end product, to the materials used and waste minimisation in the manufacturing process, to the end user and their lifestyle changes as a consequence of that journey.