Committed To Providing Energy Positive Buildings By 2025

Posted 15 February 2021 by Lizzie Leigh

We talk to Sean Ruane, sales director of Joseph Homes, about building and delivering 'better homes for a better world'...

We hear from Sean Ruane about how our homes have become more important than ever, and how the spaces we occupy can affect our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Sean, tell us a bit about your role as sales director at Joseph Homes?

I joined Joseph Homes in 2018, driven by the prospect of helping customers Live Well®. I was also keen to be part of Joseph Homes’ mission of turning an industry rhetoric of building sustainable homes at scale, into reality. My day-to-day role involves implementing a people-first approach in our sales and marketing strategy across our developments, which mirrors the ethos that goes into the build of our homes in and around London. At Joseph Homes, we understand that buying a home is a big decision, and we take the time to understand and appreciate what our customers need.

At the moment, I’m focused on the sales programmes at our award-winning development, The Tramyard in Balham, and No.1 Millbrook Park in Mill Hill, which has proven to be extremely popular following its launch, with all townhouses now sold out and over 50% of apartments sold.

Joseph Homes is the first UK housebuilder to be awarded B Corp certification for its dedication to environmental and social impact, among other things – tell us more.

Achieving our B Corp Certification was a landmark moment for all of us at Joseph Homes and reflects our dedication to accelerating change in the built environment. As a business, we are motivated to deliver a more honest, responsible, sustainable and compassionate approach to building and delivering better homes for a better world, and our B Corp Certification acts as a tangible and globally recognised endorsement of this. We have also pledged to deliver a portfolio of entirely energy positive buildings by 2025 spanning both new homes and occupied offices. This is important and something we hope to see more of across the industry, so that we can all continue to lead fuller and healthier lives.

No.1 Millbrook ParkNo.1 Millbrook Park

Your schemes around London focus on health and wellbeing, how do you work to achieve this in new build homes?

Covid-19 and events of 2020 made everyone realise that we have been living with our heads down for far too long. It has been a wide-eyed awakening for society, and demonstrated just how much our homes and the spaces we occupy can affect our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

At Joseph Homes, we are progressive thinkers who prefer to lead by action and example, and we have been building homes to prioritise the health and wellbeing of our buyers, for many years. We achieve this through a range of methods including reducing toxins and improving indoor air quality, something that is a relatively unknown to many in comparison with outdoor air pollution. At both of our available developments, we use Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, which supplies fresh, filtered air to every room, along with air filters which removes dust and pollutants from the home, improving indoor air quality, and helps alleviate breathing related symptoms. We also only use low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint in our homes, with gas-free kitchens, which reduce the levels of toxicity.

We also consider the health of our planet as being just as important, so we have fitted photovoltaic solar panels the roof of our developments. By absorbing sunlight to generate electricity, the solar panels provide all the common areas with electricity, reducing the need for and strain on the earth’s fossil fuels. Further to this we have fitted low energy lighting throughout the buildings, saving on electricity and reducing CO2 emissions by up to 500kg per lightbulb. Externally, we have installed an electric car charging point, making sure it is as easy as possible for our homeowners to join the revolution and go electric.

Has the current pandemic impacted buyer trends, in terms of demand for access to outside space or dedicated workspaces within the home?

Covid-19 has certainly accelerated buyer demand for access to outdoor spaces, as well created an increased demand for spacious homes to accommodate working from home. As part of our Live Well® proposition, all of our homes have a dedicated outdoor space, as well as communal courtyards - this has always been a high priority to ensure our buyers’ wellbeing. Our homes are also designed to maximise natural light with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows, creating bright and airy spaces, suitable for homeworking.

Have you noted any less enthusiasm for London city living since the various lockdowns we’ve been experiencing?

Our two London sites, The Tramyard in Balham and No.1 Millbrook Park in Mill Hill, have both defied the ‘great London exodus’, maintaining high levels of sales and interest throughout the national lockdowns. From speaking to our buyers, this has had a lot to do with imagining life through and beyond the shadows of Covid-19, and seeing the benefits of living in a home, designed principally to promote better health and wellbeing, without compromising on high quality finishes. The response to our homes throughout the pandemic has been validation of our unwavering commitment towards changing the face of the property development industry forever, as guided by our own Live Well® principles.

210215 Joseph Homes The Tramyard in BalhamThe Tramyard in Balham

Do you believe that the design of housing can have positive – and negative – impacts on mental and physical wellbeing?

There have been many noteworthy studies, which have proved that poor housing design and landscape planning can negatively affect social lives, relationships and have a significant impact on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of occupiers. In recent years, anti-stigma campaigns have rightly given mental health and wellbeing increased visibility, meaning more businesses are being educated on how to prioritise this. This has always been engrained in the founding principles of Joseph Homes, but it is encouraging to see how different industries are responding and evolving.

My hope for the built environment would be, to see more housebuilders following the lead of Joseph Homes, and make a leap towards developing more healthy and happy spaces for communities to thrive.

You offer the Live Well® service, which seeks to make life better for Joseph Homes’ customers, neighbourhoods and the planet – how does this work in practice?

Our Live Well® modus is a brave, industry-defining set of founding principles that drives everything that the company does. Live Well® seeks to make life better for Joseph Homes’ employees, customers, neighbourhoods and the planet. This encompasses every element of the business from the inside out; beautiful design that considers both physical and mental wellbeing, use of sustainable building techniques and non-toxic materials, clean air filtration which is proven to reduce respiratory conditions, as well as cutting-edge technology and an ‘always on’ attitude to advancement.

What are some of the more notable leading-edge technological and sustainable advances you employ in your builds?

The business vision is to innovate, learn, test and push boundaries, until we are creating and building the best possible places for people to live, work and enjoy in. With this in mind, one of our main priorities is how we can provide real value for our homebuyers, beyond thinking about the monetary reward.

For us, this comes down to knowing our occupiers are living in healthier spaces, for themselves and for the planet. In our current schemes, we have some fantastic health boosting elements, such as our MVHR systems, and all of our external energy saving features as discussed. We are also really looking forward to some of the exceptional technologies we will be putting into our future schemes, which will take energy positive buildings to the next level.

What are the particular schemes you’re focusing on at the moment?

My focus at the moment is primarily on our two active sites, No.1 Millbrook Park in Mill Hill and also The Tramyard in Balham. The homes at Balham are now 90% sold, with only 8 homes remaining, and with the upcoming Stamp Duty holiday deadline, we are expecting quite a rush as buyers mobilise to complete before the end of March.

And finally, what are your hopes and aspirations for Joseph Homes throughout the rest of 2021?

2021 is going to be a fascinating landscape for the property market, and we are predicting interesting consumer trends, which differ from previous years. There are many exciting projects in the pipeline for Joseph Homes, and we are well primed to support these trends, so I look forward to being able to take more of our customers through the exciting process of buying their home – and beginning their Live Well® journey.


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