Brampton Rural Housing Society has shown that small associations can achieve great deeds in the field of sustainability. Last year it completed the first home to achieve an Excellent Eco Homes rating. The three-bedroom demonstration house sought to raise environmental awareness in the building industry. The building is clad with reclaimed bricks and low maintenance, sustainable Larch. The process has shown that the greatest environmental savings can be made in the building???s basic structure, rather than the services or technology.

It will highlight areas where it is relatively easy to achieve a good gre score and those where it is more difficult. A central part of the EcoHomes Club is to encourage housing associations to work together, sharing problems and solutions. A series of standardised environmental measures is being prepared which could be adopted as part of the EcoHomes assessment. Timber from sustainable sources has been used and treated only where absolutely necessary. However, this only works if householders are interested in gardening or want to wash their car.

Club members are not obliged to adopt the measures, but a part of the final survey of members will include feedback on reaction to the specification. reasons for deciding to exclude or include the measures and identified cost where available. Heat loss was reduced to a rate similar to a standard cavity wall with a SAP rating as good as some new homes. A sustainable approach is possible, whatever the size of the association. Web Application Development Gas bills have been cut by almost ??6 a week for families living in 50 houses built in Reading as a part of a European project to promote solar design in housing.

Total cost of the control house refurbishment was ??10,500. A small, but important, scheme demonstrating what can be achieved in older homes. Furthermore, they are helping the government and local communities meet the objectives of Local Agenda 21 and the 1992 Rio Summit. We can help the meet the sustainability challenge without re-inventing the wheel. It is not a complex task, but we have seen that continued success depends largely on a sustained commitment among senior staff and committee members.