Living elements, part of sustainable housing
Living elements must be part of sustainable affordable housing programme
As the General Election approaches and political parties make their statements about how they intend to address the affordable housing crisis in the UK, living systems developer and supplier Mobilane is calling for living plant elements to be a key consideration in planning and design.
“The affordable housing debate will always focus on costing a nationwide programme of housebuilding,” explains Paul Garlick, National Sales Manager for Mobilane UK. “But for any programme to be truly sustainable and effective it must also consider quality of life for occupants and the best ways of getting value for money.
“It is widely accepted that issues such as energy efficiency are key to ensuring housing projects deliver true ongoing affordability for occupants and there has been excellent work done on ensuring modern affordable house designs incorporate the highest levels of energy efficiency. However, green space will be at a premium on affordable housing developments and this will have a negative impact on both quality of life and health. So the challenge is to find ways to incorporate living plant elements into house designs that do not demand too much space and which are both cheap and easy for occupants to maintain.
“The National Health Service is under a lot of pressure and there is increased focus on how lifestyles are having an impact on the nation’s health and both GP and hospital waiting times. Ensuring affordable housing does not contribute to ill health is vital if any national investment in affordable housing is to deliver true value. That’s why we are calling on all Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to push for increased focus on incorporating plants into house designs and to remember that energy efficiency is not the be-all and end-all of affordable housing.”
Mobilane has developed a range of living plant systems that are already incorporated into many affordable and social housing programmes, including the Green Screen fencing system that replaces traditional wooden fencing with a low maintenance robust ivy-covered wire mesh system that takes up very little space and is easy and quick to install. The company has recently introduced a new LivePicture system that features plants in a picture frame. As well as use in office spaces, Mobilane believes LivePicture to be an ideal solution for incorporating living plants into affordable home developments.