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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester housebuilder ditches diesel for vegetable oil in construction machinery

Barnwood-based housebuilder Newland Homes has switched all its site machinery to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) instead of diesel, as part of the company's drive to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2024.

HVO is a biofuel derived from waste vegetable oils and fats, transformed into biofuel by hydrogenation. It is 100 per cent renewable and sustainable, as the materials used to create HVO can be quickly and easily replenished.

HVO is interchangeable with diesel, the usage of which last year equated to 35 per cent of Newland Homes' overall carbon emissions for 2020.

Whilst the fuel costs more than red diesel, Newland Homes said it reduces carbon emissions by up to 90 per cent and helps minimise the impact on local air quality, with a significant reduction in particulate matter emitted via exhaust gases.

The firm said it is steadfast in its commitment to sustainability. It was the first traditional housebuilder in the UK to sign up to the United Nations' Climate Neutral Now pledge in 2021; an international scheme which encourages and supports organisations to voluntarily act against climate change. This initiative recognises those companies who assess their carbon impact and take positive steps to reduce it by awarding bronze, silver and gold status to participating businesses.

Newland Homes was recently conferred 'silver' status by Climate Neutral Now for the steps it has taken so far to reduce carbon emissions. Amongst other initiatives, the company has redesigned the way its homes are powered to eliminate the reliance on fossil fuels. New homeowners benefit from carbon reductions pre-installed in the properties they purchase, such as air source heat pumps, an array of solar panels with battery storage options, as well as considerable insulation.

Newland Homes also received 'bronze' awards for its initiatives to measure carbon emission and the contribution it makes via offsetting.

Ian Hughes, associate construction director for Newland Homes, said: "Moving all our site vehicles to HVO is another tangible marker that our company's transition to a low carbon world is well underway.

"Sometimes these changes are simple yet extremely impactful, like the use of HVO, others are more challenging. Nevertheless, we refuse to rest on our laurels and will continue to question the status quo and take advantage of new technologies as they advance."

As well as transitioning to HVO, Newland Homes has undertaken the following initiatives so far to reduce carbon emissions:

  • Electricity for Newland Homes' offices and development sites is now sourced entirely from renewable providers.
  • The company car fleet has started the transition to electric vehicles.
  • All new zero carbon homes will have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) assessment of over 100, placing them well above the highest energy efficiency rating of A. According to Government data, only 2 per cent of new homes built in 2021 achieved an A rating.
  • Fossil fuel heating in new homes is being replaced with renewable energy sources, such as air source heat pumps and solar panels with battery storage, enabling the phase-out of gas.
  • Homes are equipped with white goods that are A-rated or above as standard.
  • An increased level of insulation is being provided within the homes.

The company is also creating two special 30th anniversary woodlands at its developments in North Somerset and Wiltshire.

For further information about current availability and Newland Homes' climate considerate approach, please visit or call 01452 623000.

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