Sustainable Buildings Policy

Last updated:
November 23, 2022

Nightingale Housing
Sustainable Buildings Policy 2022

Prepared by Breathe in collaboration with Nightingale Housing

This policy has been prepared to collate sustainable initiatives in our built work, and identify areas for growth. To clarify our priorities for decision making and design expectations. Our business operates with a holistic view toward sustainability, however the focus of this policy is the design and delivery of our buildings.

1 Values

Building optimism, authenticity and accountability.

Our small footprint homes empower and inspire positive change for people and the planet. Our sustainability leadership, innovation and authenticity is what differentiates us and broadens our impact, across all facets of our business and our work.

It is therefore critical to our purpose and reputation that we remain optimistic, forward thinking, and accountable in our response to climate change.

2 Carbon Trumps

We balance every decision against its environmental, social and financial impacts. However imperfect, the greatest weight will be given to the lowest carbon outcome.

3 Commitments

From carbon neutral to net zero carbon, climate positive and regenerative design.

Acknowledging the substantial impact the construction industry contributes to the climate and biodiversity crisis, all Nightingale projects adhere to a series of evolving sustainable design Principles. Most notably, all of our new projects will be Certified Carbon Neutral in operation and strive to reduce material impact by optimising building performance, dematerialisation and considered material specification. In line with the WGBC Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, all our buildings are powered by renewables and new projects will source high quality abatement for residual upfront emissions.

Beyond neutrality, our buildings offer restorative benefit to the resources that fuel them: using rain and storm water on site, producing electricity and subscribing to GreenPower, designing for biodiversity and heat island reduction, waste avoidance and recovery, and generally consuming less.

4 Dematerialisation

Build less... to give more.

Reduce cost and carbon by questioning anything inessential to the construction of our comfortable, healthy homes. Our buildings provide generosity and material quality as co-benefits of exceptional functionality, rather than ornament. Private spaces like laundries, bath houses, bicycle garages, waste rooms and gardens will be combined where practical and appropriate. Superfluous finishes, building elements and systems give way to imperfect, robust, liveable spaces.

5 Building Blocks

Materiality matters.

Our projects are to be comprised of materials that are ethically sourced, non-toxic (Red List Free), easily maintained, and detailed for disassembly. We prioritise carbon neutral, renewable, reusable, recyclable, repurpose-able and biodegradable materials, and have our own internal guideline that affirms our material decision making processes (NGH Material Specification Guidelines).

6 Alliances

Who we work with matters.

Our buildings are an active endorsement of the products and partners we work with. Demonstrated values alignment is therefore key to our ability to influence and inspire change in the broader industry, and supply chain. With the help of our allies, we can interrogate and improve the design and delivery of our buildings. Make them smarter, more efficient, lessen lifecycle impacts, and adopt circular building practices.

7 Baseline

With every project, we evolve.

Our projects adopt a series of minimum standards and sustainability initiatives that have evolved with us. These initiatives are detailed in our project checklist, to be tracked and submitted by the design team at each documentation stage.

The commitments are grouped into areas of effort, including:

  1. Carbon & Comfort
  2. Resources & Circularity
  3. Services & Equipment
  4. Transport
  5. Ecology & Resilience
  6. Community

8 New Challenges

To remain at the leading edge, we must continue to evolve and innovate.

Nightingale is an industry leader delivering fossil fuel-free communities at cost. For all projects commencing in 2022, we will adopt the following new challenges:

  • Certified Life Cycle Analysis
  • Certified Net Zero in construction
  • Minimum 7.6 stars NatHERS
  • Battery storage to manage peak electricity demand, to aid grid stabilisation and to capitalise on spot pricing
  • Net zero emissions cooling to all apartments. GWP limits and design standards apply, with offsets as required
  • Balanced ventilation to all apartments for improved air quality, linked to C02 and humidity
  • Low carbon construction. Limit concrete to structural applications only where lower carbon alternatives cannot be accommodated.
  • All car spaces provided with provision for EV charging
  • eBike charging provision at rate of 1:5
  • Develop high level resilience framework to capture various climate shocks and weather stressors
  • Explore standardised, readymade and modular cabinetry
  • Standardised detailing and materiality

Stretch targets (2023 onwards):

  • Regenerative Construction by 2030 - Zero Carbon Buildings
  • Green Steel and Responsible Steel stewardship
  • Zero stormwater
  • Biogas from organic waste
  • Purple pipe / grey water strategies
  • Future proofing for growing families and evolving households
  • Role of the elderly in the housing community and multi-generational living