On the road to net zero: Hastoe Housing Association takes a step closer to Passivhaus principles as it sets out its New-Build Standard

Ulrike Maccariello, 21 April 2021

Hastoe specialises in affordable, rural and sustainable developments. And it makes us experts in managing the fine line between delivering comfortable, energy-efficient homes and keeping building costs at an acceptable level.

Launching our Hastoe New-Build Standard now, we’re setting minimum build requirements for our new homes above current building regulations, in terms of energy efficiency, sustainability, beautiful design and environmental impact. Our New-Build Standard consolidates our approach and also sets us on the road to meeting the government’s targets for net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as well as the Future Building Standard in 2025.

However, our focus as a social landlord is on long term investment. That is why our Standard has adopted a fabric first approach, investing in the fabric of our homes through improved insulation and high performing windows and doors. We combine this with good airtightness levels, reduction in cold bridging and a stringent quality control strategy that starts with the design of our homes and continues through to completion. And getting the right consultants on board at the right stage of the development is also key to our Standard, ensuring a Hastoe development is a success and is keeping costs at an acceptable level.

Our residents want homes that are a good size, comfortable and affordable for them to live in. And it’s our job to come up with smart solutions to deliver what they need.

Hastoe has a track record of being invited by rural communities to develop bespoke affordable and sustainable rural housing schemes. Ten years ago we delivered our first, rural certified Passivhaus scheme in Essex. Passivhaus homes are built to meticulous standards and use very little energy for heating, without compromising the comfort of householders. Although our residents in Wimbish in Essex were initially sceptical about the lack of radiators in their new homes, they were soon converted when the first gas bills landed on their doormats at a fraction of the anticipated cost. 


We aim to continue to develop at least one scheme to this standard every year, where a village wants to invest in this approach. However, the specialist materials and technologies required to do this can be costly. Our Hastoe New-Build Standard takes the best of Passivhaus and adapts it to allow us to deliver affordable homes within current financial constraints. We focus on traditional, and therefore more cost-effective, building methods that help achieve a similar standard of energy-efficiency. We aim to finely balance energy efficiency against cost and we feel strongly that reducing energy demand for space heating plays a part in Hastoe’s journey to net zero carbon. 

The New-Build Standard is a great start point on this journey, although we expect we will need to evolve it over time as we monitor and adapt to new thinking about environmental challenges, carbon emissions targets and developments in the building industry.

Our Standard also covers beautiful design, sustainability, water efficiency, property size and adaptability and accessibility – with the ultimate ambition of homes having minimal impact on the environment.

You can find the Hastoe New-Build Standard here.

To support housing associations on the journey to net zero, the NHF has begun a major new project on decarbonisation.