As imagined, the future of affordable, sustainable homes is truly in reach and due to a collaborative effort by manufacturers, builders and partners all focusing on the same goal.

As openers go, it’s a bold one, but not quite as outlandish as it sounds. The housebuilder who successfully cracks the code to building sustainably – and affordably – would be solving a large part of the planet-warming puzzle.

As things currently stand, energy from fossil fuels consumed in the construction and operation of buildings accounts for about half of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions; housing alone generates 29 per cent of UK emissions, according to figures from ‘Sustainability: Simple steps to better homes’, a report published last month by global real estate advisors CBRE Residential.

As terrible as this sounds, it used to be worse. Since we swapped hot water tanks for efficient boilers, rattley windows for double glazed ones, and draughty breeze blocks for cavity wall insulation, energy consumption has steadily declined per capita in the UK since the 1970s.

Even though the population has increased by 16 per cent, our energy consumption has only gone up by 7.4 per cent. The figures from the last decade are even more encouraging; since 2008, our domestic energy consumption has gone down 186 per cent.

So what went right? Most analysts point to a number of factors, from manufacturers making more efficient appliances to a public that’s better educated about its ecological impact. Predictably, though, the main motivating factor seems to be money. Lower energy to most people simply means cheaper bills. CBRE’s report says “by some estimates, the cost of fuel bills are the motivation behind 95 per cent of people’s support for lower carbon housing.”

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