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Sustainability in construction – why biochar matters

Sponsored feature | Brenda Kibblewhite, head of sales and marketing, This Land

Here at This Land, we take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously. We are constantly looking for ways to become a more sustainable developer, mitigating the impact of construction on the environment and exploring methods that promote sustainability.

Constructing with an eco-friendly mindset doesn’t simply mean using sustainable materials or modern technology to increase energy efficiency. It is also about adopting agricultural practices that enhance biodiversity and ‘give back’ to the land.

One of the many ways that we are looking to add to our green practices will be the use of biochar in the soil of our developments. But what is biochar and how does it benefit the environment?

Biochar is a type of charcoal made up of organic materials that produces a kind of ‘super soil’ making it easier for vegetation to grow.
Biochar is a type of charcoal made up of organic materials that produces a kind of ‘super soil’ making it easier for vegetation to grow.

Brenda Kibblewhite from This Land tells us more.

“We want the land surrounding our developments to promote biodiversity and a healthy ecosystem, as we create green spaces for our communities. Using biochar is one really effective method in doing this.

“Biochar is a type of charcoal that is made up of lots of different organic materials like crop waste and wood. It produces a kind of ‘super soil’ making it more fertile and easier for plants and vegetation to grow.

“It is not just the short-term impact of biochar that makes its use important. Here at This Land, we are really committed to a long-term, sustainable approach. Biochar can store carbon for many years meaning it can offset carbon emissions which is key in the fight against climate change.

“Like-minded innovators within our sector have shared similar benefits with the introduction of biochar, such as Josephine Harkins from sustainable architecture experts SPD. She said: ‘We have found biochar extremely useful when there has been an issue with soil neutrality. A recent project for SPD in Norwich benefitted hugely from using a layer of biochar to supercharge the soil to enable us to grow trees. Retaining moisture and nutrients is key for growth potential which is one of the many benefits of biochar. In my opinion, we have to begin using biochar more regularly especially as it can promote growth in drier conditions.’

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“There are lots of other ways to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly practices within our sector and at This Land we see ourselves as forward thinking in this regard. We use high-quality materials that reduce waste and have long life cycles, reducing environmental impact. We are increasingly introducing the use of recycled materials wherever possible - our new headquarters will feature wood and tiles that have been repurposed from old buildings.

“On our developments we are committed to utilising new technology to ensure our homes are as energy efficient as possible. Air source heat pumps come as standard as we reduce reliance on gas boilers, while many of our plots benefit from underfloor heating.”

Air source heat pumps come as standard at the four remaining properties on This Land’s Spiregrass Square development in Over. Expert training on how to get the full benefit from the pumps is provided to our customers. To find out more about Spiregrass Square, call 07388 673364 or email spiregrass@this-land.co.uk. Visit our website at This-Land.co.uk.

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