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Housing association to build ‘plastic-free’ homes

Words: Laura Edgar
Accord's plastic-free homes / Sccord Housing Association

Accord Housing Association has committed to building ‘virtually plastic-free’ housing as it attempts to reduce the amount of plastic used during construction.

The West Midlands organisation plans to build 12 homes using alternatives to fit kitchens, bathrooms and windows, as well as reducing the amount of plastic used in building materials.

It notes that the building sector is responsible for more than 60 per cent of resource use in Europe and that more than 30-50 per cent of material use is taking place in the housing construction section.

Accord believes that its project is the first of its kind in the UK. It is part of the CHARM partnership (Circular Housing Asset Renovation & Management) funded by Interreg European Funding.

CHARM is part of a partnership that is made up of representatives from four nations – Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the UK. Each country has been given a different project to lead on, the aim being to promote a circular economy in the housing construction sector.

Carl Taylor, assistant director of new businesses at Accord, said: “We particularly want to remove the plastic from the kitchens and the bathrooms, because even though a house can last for a hundred years or more, the average kitchen and bathroom is changed every few years and we are keen to avoid generating plastic waste. This trans-European project will enable us to work with our European partners to identify plastic-free building products. We haven’t yet got a plastic-free solution to the electrics, for instance, but we will be challenging people in the building products manufacturing industry to help us find solutions.”

The homes will be built by the housing association’s offsite manufacturing facility LoCal Homes, using the latest modern methods of construction.

Alan Yates, deputy chief executive at Accord, added that the organisation has started design work, which it aims to finish in January 2020. “Our closed timber framed houses have allowed us to build on low-carbon housing development and we have developed technology to build low-carbon houses – now it is about taking that technology a step forward to reduce the use of materials that are not good for the environment both during manufacture and construction and for years to come. This project will change how we manufacture our homes forever,” he said.

Image credit | Accord Housing Association