Sustainability Meets Design- Tesni Homes
Large scale developers still see sustainability as an optional extra. As such there’s a misconception that all housebuilders are solely focused on churning out standardised brick boxes with no thought for the environment or communities they build in. Tesni, an award-winning eco-conscious developer buck the 'it’s not easy being green' trend. Trailblazer sat down with James Hennie, MD at Tesni Homes, to talk eco-builds, the future and ‘Canal Walks’, Tesni's latest luxury development in rural Cheshire.
Why is eco-friendly construction so important?
One of the most important things Tesni does is to create homes that are sustainable in terms of energy consumption. Though the industry as a whole has been rather slow to recognise that pollution is a serious threat to the planet, our developments have always had an eco-friendly focus. I don’t think it's too dramatic to say we are on the brink of a climate catastrophe. We may all find ourselves underwater if we don’t take responsibility and make the necessary changes as soon as possible. Housebuilders must use green materials and practices if we as an industry hope to tackle climate change. As such, all Tesni homes are A-rated, and all are fitted with MVHR ventilation systems. Those systems provide a constant supply of fresh filtered air while retaining up to 95% of the energy that is used to heat our homes. Tesni homes are fitted with solar panels, a clean and renewable alternative to fossil fuels which reduce your carbon footprint and in turn reduce greenhouse gases. Our homes are fitted with log burners wood is after all a carbon-neutral fuel. The extra insulation, barriers and membranes we use to keep our buildings airtight are another cost-effective way to conserve energy. Tesni properties also come with electric car charging points and are wired for full automation and integration, which is all part and parcel of the Tesni infrastructure. Ultimately eco-friendly developments such as ours help reduce the pace of climate change, aside from that the greener you are the more economically efficient.
Does sustainability come at the cost of design?
Tesni developments are anything but cookie-cutter. Each of our developments has its own bespoke design to keep them individual. Our buyers are of course interested in sustainability, but they are also interested in location, design and architecture. A Tesni homes aesthetic is in no way limited by being environmentally sound. Tesni’s blueprint is one of floor to ceiling windows, large open spaces, vaulted ceilings and plenty of natural materials. There’s an argument that large scale developers produce homes with no personality. As a smaller family-run developer, we're able to be far more flexible when it comes to design. We’re an eco-conscious company that create beautiful homes for people to put roots down in. Our latest development ‘Canal Walks’ located just outside the historic market town of Nantwich, is made up of 19 ecologically innovative houses and they are as vibrant as they are sustainable. As with all our developments, ‘Canal Walks’ puts paid to the ‘eco-houses are ugly’ myth.
What brought you to eco-friendly construction? And what skills do you bring to Tesni’s table?
I wasn’t always in construction, I’m actually an engineer. I studied mechatronic engineering at Lancaster University from there I entered the energy sector. I worked in renewable energy development and power station engineering and operations for many years. The skills I honed at that time made my move from engineering to construction easy. I find construction and engineering have a great deal in common. The two deal with CAD, heavy machinery, transport, and logistics, and both require an aptitude for problem-solving. Though not on the same scale I use those skills daily.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, spoke to Trailblazer about homelessness and the need for more affordable housing. What are your thoughts?
Tesni is sensitive to the need for affordable housing. People should know that for developers building affordable housing is incredibly challenging. The increasing cost of construction makes it even more so. I do believe there’s a moral obligation to build affordable housing. However, I do feel the government sometimes shirk their responsibility and apply unfair pressure to housebuilders in the hopes they will fill the gap. There's a supply and demand issue which will take a joint effort to solve. Current government policy on affordable housing, how it’s delivered and accommodated for within developments has to be improved if it’s to benefit all involved. Tesni make sure that at least 30% of our developments are either affordable or social housing. To often locals are priced out of areas they’ve lived in all their lives. We aim to attract buyers from within the communities we build in and deliver houses that meet local demand.
Tesni Homes has won awards for building excellence, sustainability, and design. What’s next?
As eco-conscious developers, the dream has to be building a Passive House. To build an ultra-low energy consumption home with low-volume heat recovery ventilation systems, superinsulation, and tightly controlled rates of air infiltration. To completely bypass conventional heating methods and build something with the smallest carbon footprint possible is something Tesni will look to do. In the meantime, we’ll remain individual, improve, and evolve. We’ll continue to build eco-friendly future proof homes that appeal to people’s aspirations. Homes that not only take care of the environment, but themselves, homes people enjoy living in.
For more information, contact Tesni Properties, on 01352 748320, or e-mail email@example.com.