By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.


Green property - talking Passivhaus, net-zero and the affordability of eco-homes

In recent years, the interest in and coverage of green homes has grown significantly, in direct correlation with the emergence of the climate crisis and greater awareness of sustainability issues. 

Here at PIT, we have run regular stories in our Green Property column, focusing on everything from the world's first plastic-free homes to major eco alliances

In this Q&A, we chat to Caroline Clarke, the co-founder and director at Nufuture Developments, about Passivhaus, COP26 and the affordability of green homes.


Can you tell us a bit more about Nufuture Developments?

It was set up by myself and Saran Sarai in 2020. We have both worked in property for over 25 years. We decided that we needed to disrupt the construction industry by offering a manufacturing and developing business that provided Passivhaus standard eco-homes to everyone. The country needs energy-efficient homes if it is going to come anywhere near to hitting its climate change pledges.

What you have to remember is that Passivhaus builds are not new. Europe has been building them for years. The UK has a need for eco homes and we, at Nufuture Developments, hope to be able to provide these quick build, off-site homes to everyone in the country.

Our vision is to build ecovillages around the South West and then open that up to the rest of the UK in time. Not only will these villages be practically off-grid, but they will provide healthy and comfortable homes to as many people as possible. Eco homes are for everyone, not just the wealthy!

FutureBuild takes place at London ExCeL at the beginning of March - what is the event all about and what will Nufuture Developments be exhibiting?

Futurebuild has been running for the past 16 years, previously named Ecobuild. They focus on sustainability and driving towards net zero within the construction industry.

The exhibition allows manufacturers and suppliers to show off their most innovative technology, products and services from the built environment and they have talks from influential thought leaders and pioneering thinkers. It showcases modern methods of construction (MMC), innovationin design and construction using green materials and energy efficiency systems and new builds.

We will be displaying our three different build systems for clients. We will be highlighting the benefits of building to Passivhaus standards. We will be offering our Design and Build Consultancy Services to all clients. If you are thinking of visiting, come and have a chat. We are on stand J44.

Do you think there's been an irreversible shift towards homes that are more eco-friendly and green, or are there still challenges to overcome?

Yes, definitely. We are finding more people are interested in what we are doing and asking more questions about eco-homes. The climate crisis is focusing people’s minds on the planet’s issues, and they want to do something about it. Unfortunately, most of the eco-homes being built in the UK are expensive, Grand Design-style homes. We want to show people that even first-time buyers can afford one of our kits.

Climate change has definitely focused the thinking in a lot of younger people towards more eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes. There are still loads of challenges ahead on affordability, though, so help from mortgage companies, etc, would be required.

Another challenge is the planning system who need to realign their processes and move forward with eco builders, offering faster turnarounds so more homes can be built.

Some have suggested that Boris Johnson will water down the government's net-zero policies as part of his plan to survive partygate - are you concerned by these rumours?

We are concerned about the rumours that the government will not follow through on their pledges made at the COP26 summit. This is a post Saran put on Linkedin recently

“Cop 26 or Cop out. As the planet struggles and the extremes of climate change take effect #climatechange Things are NOT going to get any better! The world’s leaders have this meeting every year and whilst for many their intentions are for the better the reality is not much gets done. Time is running out and the planet cannot take anymore hence the rush for space #space. Individually we need to change #change how we look after the planet. The only way is education #education The race to get back to nature and let it thrive is on. I would be interested in your views/ideas/solution's If we don't change now Climate change will change us!”

I think the pandemic has increased the awareness to live in open spaces, where we can grow our own food and live a healthy lifestyle. Should it happen again, someone living in a Passivhaus will benefit from the clean air and ventilation systems in place.

Can green homes be affordable? Currently, they seem to come with quite a price-tag - or is that not a fair reflection?

We see more eco-homes being built in the UK with hefty price tags, however, this doesn’t have to be the case. However, it will all depend on the government following the needs of the people. There are supply chain problems at present with material prices increasing, which cause problems and pressure which slows the pace of change.

Green finance mortgages are coming into play. Locally sourced materials and supply chains need bolstering and local councils/parish's need to contribute more to local eco builds. We need to take the lead on building energy-efficient homes, building green and being more affordable.

Exeter City Council has built a terrace of Passivhaus homes for their tenants to live in. We hope to follow suit with our kit homes. Not only are they energy efficient and cut utility bills to a minimum, but they are also sustainable and provide comfortable living.

Where do you see the housing market in five years' time?

The housing market is just going to get stronger and stronger. This country is crying out for more properties to house families and the homeless, not only to purchase but also to rent. The rental sector will grow for the next 10 years and this is where we see our self-build clients coming from. Private landlords and investment companies will keep on growing as the government struggles with cash flow.

We have too many people living on the streets and in temporary accommodation. With more people coming into the country as well, this crisis is only going to get worse unless we, as an industry, can pull our fingers out and build more homes. The problem we have is the construction industry is still building standard boxes as homes. More thought needs to go into the life cycle of our homes and how we can provide, with a little more thought, sustainable, comfortable and zero-carbon places for people to live.

The drive for more energy-efficient homes is on.

For more information on Passivhaus kit homes, contact Caroline on 07525589446 or on caroline@nufuturedevelopments.co.uk

  • icon

    It's a good question about price as these homes seem generally expensive up front which deters many who want to live a more environmentally friendly life.


    Thanks for your comment Paul. Unfortunately this is most people's perception of an eco home, that it is not in their budget. Programmes like Grand Designs have focussed on only the expensive builds, but really, eco homes and Passivhaus is for everyone. They come in all shapes and sizes and can accommodate any budget. And the investment you make to build will come back to you as there is a 90% reduction in energy needed for heating which equals savings from year one, which add up over the life of the building. I hope this helps all the best Caroline


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up