We have committed to publishing our route map to net zero in autumn 2023. It will set out how we will achieve carbon savings across our operations and identify milestones to ensure we are net zero carbon before 2045.
Fabric First for healthy, energy efficient homes
The Springfield approach to building a home is ‘fabric first’. We believe that opting for thick, quality insulation first and foremost is key to achieving energy efficiency and provides the most direct benefit to the customer, providing a comfortable temperature, reducing energy costs, and lowering impact on the environment.
Across the Springfield Group we achieved an average SAP rating of nearly 85 for all the homes we built last year. SAP stands for Standard Assessment Procedure, and it is the methodology used by the government to assess and compare the energy and environmental performance of dwellings. A SAP of 85 is well in excess of what is required to achieve an Energy Performance Certificate rating of B. New research from the Home Builders Federation, based on EPC data, found that buyers of a new build house will save on average around £2,600 a year in energy bills and that new build homes emit a third of the carbon of an older property.
Last year 100% of Springfield homes were built using Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) approved timber with kits produced in Scotland. Springfield’s first timber kit factory opened over twenty years ago in Elgin in the north of Scotland. In 2022, we acquired a second timber kit factory in Glasgow. The addition of a second timber kit factory secures supply and further reduces our carbon footprint as we reduce the transport distances of the kits produced. You can learn more about Springfield Timber Kit Systems here.
We use a durable quality, thermally efficient external fabric to retain heat within the home. Scottish Building Standards are amongst the highest in Europe and Springfield has gone beyond current regulations in our homes to ensure we are delivering the best for our customers now and into the future. For example, we received recognition recently for building beyond regulatory standards relating to daylight, sound insulation, ventilation and inclusivity.
A head start on air source technology
With fossil fuelled heating in new build homes due to be outlawed in Scotland from 2024, we were keen to gain early experience and put in place supply chain partners for non-gas alternatives as soon as we could and we opted for air source technology.
Air source heat pumps effectively do the opposite of a refrigerator, drawing warm air into the home from outside. By making the switch to heat pump technology, customers enjoy a warm home and save money, all while reducing their carbon emissions. The heat pumps that we fit operate almost silently, with a sleek, modern design making them the perfect fit for the quality homes we deliver.
To date we have successfully delivered over 60 developments with homes heated by full air source. Last year alone this resulted in over 30% of our homes built being delivered without gas.
Research and development in this space continues to be a priority for Springfield to ensure we are delivering the most efficient homes for our customers. Indeed, we set a specific objective within our 2022 ESG Strategy to research the full potential of alternative technologies for all new build homes to be fossil fuel free to understand the impact of capital cost, running cost and carbon reduction of the life of the property.
Each of our developments are designed to create sustainable communities which will remain attractive and popular for years to come. We use a registered architect and urban designer in each of our designs to add value for our customers and communities.
We support the aspiration for 20-minute neighbourhoods and each of our developments, even within our more rural areas, have a means of public transport within 400 metres to allow residents to access bus or rail travel locally. The generous provision of greenspace and landscaping within our developments is designed with community wellbeing and the promotion of biodiversity in mind. We are proud that many of our larger developments include facilities that help communities thrive including schools and shops. Our Village Developments at Bertha Park in Perth and Dykes of Gray in Dundee provide established examples of this.
Environmental Management System
Springfield has an ISO:14001 certified Environmental Management System which is externally audited and certified by a UKAS accredited organisation. Current reporting includes waste, carbon, prosecutions and fines, audit and inspection findings and trends. Planned and random audits are undertaken internally by our SHEQ team.
We also have an Environmental Policy in place which includes the protection and enhancement of biodiversity. The current ESG strategy, as published, requires the development of a standalone biodiversity strategy with a focus on biodiversity net gain and we will report on progress with this in the autumn. We are pleased to confirm that we do not have any sites identified as areas of nutrient stress.
We are pleased to note that we have had no environmental prosecutions in the past 5 years.
EV charging for our customers' homes
The Scottish Government pledged that by 2030, new petrol and diesel cars and vans would be phased out. With EV infrastructure still in its infancy at the time of the announcement, the lack of home charging was perceived as a barrier for making the switch. In January 2018, well ahead of regulations, to make it as easy as possible for customers to go electric we committed to including cabling for all Springfield houses with a driveway or garage for private sale.
Installed to the most practical point of the home, typically the garage or the driveway, the 240v cabling makes the installation of a charging point less intrusive for the customer. We have already delivered over 2,000 homes with EV cabling.
Company electric vehicles
To reduce our impact on the environment and encourage a behavioural change, in September 2021, we launched a Company Electric Car scheme for eligible employees. Since the scheme was launched, we have been pleased with the take up with 123 electric cars already in use by employees.
Adding to our support, in September 2021, we introduced our first electric van, which is used by staff at our off-site kit factory in Elgin. The use of electric vans is an important part of our sustainability strategy, and we are in the process of transitioning our fleet. With an estimated saving of 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per vehicle, this initiative will drive a noticeable decrease in our carbon footprint across the company. We also introduced two fully electric Minibuses which offers workers sustainable travel to the out-of-town kit factory.
We have recently reviewed our waste data collection in tracking waste across the Springfield Group. Our data methodology exceeds industry standards because we include all waste - construction, demolition and excavation waste. In 2021/22 we calculate that we diverted 91% waste from landfill.