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THE PRINCIPLES WHICH GUIDE US


W We would like to share with you how the design

concepts which inspire Environ guide the creation of our unique homes. This booklet is intended to provide an overview of the quality you can expect from an Environ home, and the care we take to provide our customers with a space which promotes personal well being. Size, volume, dimensions and style are terms often used to describe a house, yet it is the relationship between space and light which shape our experience of the building and ultimately turn a house into a home.

A Pattern Language In the 1970s Professor Christopher Alexander of the Centre for Environmental Structure at


Berkeley University suggested that certain

is enjoying the warmth of the sun on a spring day, a

patterns exist in the natural environment which

swim in the sea, or a walk amongst trees, connecting

we as humans have an innate physiological

with nature inspires, revives and rejuvenates us in

recognition of and positive response to.

ways we cannot explain. It dissolves daily tensions

Alexander proposed that if these natural patterns

that occupy our lives and bodies, to make way for a

can be mimicked within buildings their inhabitants

more vibrant state of well being.

will feel a greater sense of connection to the space and their well-being will be enhanced.

Biophilia, when expressed in the built environment, is referred to as Biophilic Design. This is an architectural celebration of natural

Biophilic Design

forms, processes, patterns, qualities and materials, which leads to dwellings that support productivity

Christopher Alexander provides great insight into

and joyful living through their positive impact on

the understanding of built form, but it is Frank

physical, mental and emotional health. Buildings

Lloyd Wright, the architect of Falling Water - a

based upon Biophilic Design feature both visual

house emerging out of a rock face above a

and physical connections to the outdoors.

waterfall - who truly demonstrated the importance

Ample natural lighting, ventilation from fresh air,

of nature in home design. Lloyd Wright’s

views over landscaped grounds or water and easy

structures could be thought of as the precursor to

access to outdoor space are all hallmarks of Biophilic

what is now known as Biophilic Design.

Design, and serve to effectively bring the ‘outside in’.

The concept of Biophilia is centred around the

The need to be connected to nature, and

premise that because humans have evolved from

the benefits this brings, are certainly not new

the natural world, the desire for places and spaces

concepts. Environ has for many years used

which allow us to connect with nature is deeply

Christopher Alexander’s principles, and those of

rooted within our DNA. It is now well documented

Biophilia to achieve a host of awards for designs

that humans benefit from direct interaction with the

and developments which connect people to

natural world, including our beloved pets. Whether it

green space and daylight.


Freshford Mill, Freshford


A

Carbon Dioxide emissions by fifteen million tonnes every year in Europe. Allowing daylight to illuminate rooms is beneficial not only for the planet but also for human well being, since exposure to natural light is linked to improved mood, enhanced morale, lowered fatigue and reduced eye strain. The colour spectrum in natural light helps our bodies to maintain sleep/wake rhythms in synchronisation with day and night, since the blue light of morning helps us to become

A key feature of Environ homes is the provision

alert and focussed, while the red and orange light

of large windows. In years gone by, glazing was

of the afternoon and evening triggers the process

limited since it led to heat loss, however this

of slowing down and eventually sleeping. Contact

lack of focus on fenestration was not generally a

with ample daylight is also believed to have an

problem since past generations spent more time

especially positive impact on those in their mature

outdoors. Our society now spends approximately

years and people who suffer from conditions such

ninety percent of its time indoors, which can lead

as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

to adverse impacts on health associated with lack of contact with natural surroundings.

In an Environ home, extensive double or triple glazed fenestration allows you to enjoy the effects of natural light and the sense of being connected

Let There Be Light!

to the outdoors without the fear of heat loss. Environmentally-sound LED lighting provides

On a clear day, sunlight is five hundred to a

additional illumination both indoors and out.

thousand times greater than artificial light. It is

Pendant lights are featured over kitchen islands

estimated that by replacing buildings’ electric

and tables, floor lights are installed on stairs and

lighting with daylight it is possible to reduce

down lighters are carefully positioned over basins.


Orientation

are of paramount consideration in the design

lack of privacy through windows at home to

process. Internal feature windows create a

increased stress levels. As Environ houses are built

Whenever possible, Environ homes are

sense of space within our houses and add to

with the aim of enhancing well-being, solutions

positioned so that the main living areas enjoy a

the light, open feel. Each dwelling is constructed

to maintain privacy are an important feature. For

South-facing aspect in order to maximise natural

with the aim of maximising views onto the

example, some homes are fitted with switchable

light availability. Every resident of our schemes

carefully landscaped garden, grounds and

glass that can be changed from transparent to

has easy access to outdoor spaces where they

local environment.

opaque depending on the occupants’ desire for

can enjoy the warmth of the sun, the cool of the shade and the ambience of the setting.

privacy. A number of our residences also enable

Privacy

the owners to choose the degree to which they interact with the surrounding community by

Views The views through and out of Environ homes

Our belief in the benefits of extensive glazing is

providing ‘transitional’ living spaces that are open

balanced by a careful consideration for the privacy

to public view, such as a front porch, as well as

of our residents. Studies have linked a perceived

those that are more secluded and personal.


Sails, Dartmouth

Energy Efficiency

to poor indoor air quality that can adversely

Climate Control

affect health. At Environ, we think that sustainable living,

By contrast, one of the key features of an

Our consultants have shown that the most economic

energy efficiency and well-being go hand in

Environ home is the comparatively extensive

and efficient method to heat a house is through

hand. Many new-build home schemes have

use of double or treble glazed windows, which

modern gas technology. When designing a home

gained their energy conservation credentials

conserve heat when shut and allow natural

it is also important to consider how the building

by virtue of airtight construction measures,

ventilation when open. Our homes are heated

is to be cooled, especially when large areas of

however super airtight homes may not

by state of the art gas technology and insulated

fenestration are a feature of the space, as these can

necessarily contribute to either sustainability

to an extremely high specification, in line with

cause significant solar gain during summer. Environ

or well-being. The lack of fresh air in these

current regulations. We believe this combination

homes make use of exterior shading methods to

buildings not only necessitates mechanical

will mean that your Environ home will be

filter incoming solar radiation, and windows are built

ventilation and heat recovery, which increases

economic to run, simple to heat and cool and

to offer the desired degree of ventilation, through

energy usage, but may also inadvertently lead

good for both you and the planet.

manual and sensor-controlled opening.


Underfloor heating is a very comfortable choice

equipment, paper and household cleaning

exchanger/cleaner system. An average family of

to heat a house being a radiant heat rather than

products emit gasses and other particles, known

four generates about ten litres of water as a result

a convected heat, particularly when each room

as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), into the

of their daily activities, and, if allowed to build

has individual climatic controls allowing a different

air within a building. Studies have shown that air

up inside the home, this can cause substantial

temperature in different zones.

inside can be five times as polluted as air outside,

problems including mould, mildew and increased

Gas and electric technologies — especially in

with VOC concentrations in winter being three

dust mite allergies. Environ’s focus on ventilation

the form of a fireplace in the main living spaces —

to four times higher than those in summer. High

and air circulation within the property works to

allow for rapid warming which can be combined

temperature and humidity levels inside a home

address these issues before they develop into

with window-based ventilation, to achieve a home

can also increase the occurrence and potency of

problems for home owners.

environment which is appropriate to you.

some pollutants. New buildings often contain the highest levels of VOC.

Indoor Air Quality

Electro Smog

The effects of VOC on human health is difficult to monitor since they are not regarded as acutely

The increased use of devices which employ

Another factor which contributes to Environ’s

toxic, but thought to impact on well-being over an

wireless technology and mains electricity

belief in the importance of adequate ventilation

extended time period, during which exposure to

in the home can lead to the presence of

within the home is the issue of indoor air quality.

pollutants in other circumstances no doubt affects

electro smog inside buildings. Electro smog

an individual. VOC have been linked to nausea,

results from the invisible electromagnetic

square meters of fresh air per hour to support

dizziness, eye, nose and throat irritations, asthma,

radiation given off by devices such as cordless

healthy functioning. In many modern homes, the

headaches, loss of co-ordination, damage to the

phones and baby monitors, wireless routers,

level of air-tightness decreases the volume and

liver, kidneys, cardiovascular, reproductive and

mobile phones, laptops, games consoles and

quality of clean air that is available to occupants.

central nervous systems, and possibly even cancer.

microwaves, and is responsible for the condition

The average person needs approximately thirty

A well-ventilated home provides an

The risk to children from VOC is believed to

knowns as Electromagnetic Sensitivity (ES) or

oxygenated environment, which helps maintain

be higher. Whenever possible Environ chooses

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS). Again,

good blood circulation and keeps the mind fresh

products that avoid Volatile Organic Compounds.

there are few regulations governing electro smog

and active and skin clear and supple. Ventilation also aids in the removal of dust, dust mites

in the UK, however in Europe, this matter is taken

Humidity

and condensation. Allergies to dust mites are

very seriously, especially with regard to house design. For example, in Sweden, 285,000 people,

significantly reduced when the relative humidity

Although no regulations exist in the UK

approximately three percent of the population,

inside a building is under 45%.

concerning humidity levels within homes, it is

are registered as ES and are awarded a disability

recommended that relative humidity be kept

benefit from the government.

Ventilation is also key in the removal of pollutants from the home. Construction materials

below fifty percent and bathrooms, kitchens and

ES symptoms may be manifested over a short

such as MDF, paints, furniture, carpets, office

tumble driers be vented to outside or via a heat

or long time period, and can include headaches,


sleep disruption, chronic fatigue, skin complaints, depression, hypersensitivity and altered behaviour patterns in children. Research shows that between three and five percent of the general population in the UK could be affected by ES. Environ seeks to mitigate electro smog through the installation of CAT-6 wiring for internet connections, which prevent radio waves from being emitted outside of the cabling system.

Intelligent House Environ endeavours to integrate the latest home technologies as they change and become available. Increasingly, building management systems will allow many tasks around the home to be controlled remotely — security can be monitored from a beach in the Seychelles using a smart phone and lighting can be set using a digital pad to achieve a certain mood without having to get off the sofa. Environ homes feature plenty of wellplaced electrical sockets in each room, so your appliances can go where you do.

Safety & Mobility As we age, balance can start to be adversely affected. It is estimated that around thirty percent of people aged over sixty-five lose balance and fall each year, with many of these

Lacuna, Kings Hill


Freshford Mill, Freshford

Kings Hill Park, Kings Hill


Stonegate, Wye

Lacuna, Kings Hill

The Manor, Kings Hill


Keepers Court, Kings Hill

Conyer Quay, Sittingbourne


accidents occurring in the home. Environ’s houses are designed to minimise the occurrence of falls in a number of ways. Slippery or highly polished floor surfaces are

intercoms, which enable a visitor to be identified before opening the door, and outdoor lights are on sensors. In some cases, garage doors and gates to the property will be automatic.

avoided, with non-slip tiles preferred. Where floor surfaces transition between materials, such as

Ease of Maintenance

wood and carpet, we seek to ensure that these are at the same level. This applies to thresholds both inside and

Although no Environ home is the same, maintenance considerations are always high on

outside the house. We also endeavour to provide

our list of priorities. Some houses are designed to

sufficient storage areas to decrease the incidence

be almost totally maintenance-free, with powder-

of clutter which can be a trip hazard.

coated aluminium windows, brick, composite

With age, it can take longer for eyes to adjust to

cladding and galvanised gutters. Other homes

differences in light levels between spaces, which

feature natural materials to achieve a particular

can lead to problems when walking into or through

character, and therefore need a slightly higher

a house at night. Poor depth perception can also

degree of maintenance. These properties are

be an issue if an area is not well lit. Stairs are an

created with safe and easy maintenance in mind.

especially problematic location in this respect, and Environ seeks to mitigate risk by installing low

Noise

level lighting to each stair tread and introducing wherever possible a roof light, and a wider than

Care is always taken to ensure that our homes are

normal stair case or half-landing between floors.

a peaceful retreat. Noise transference from outside

Bathrooms are another notorious place for falls

is blocked by the double or treble glazed windows

to happen — our designs implement a number of

and the density of the building. Similarly, the floor

innovative and subtle features to combat this.

structure is designed to prevent noise from being conducted inside, and wall insulation and dense

Security

internal doors help to ensure quiet, private spaces.

Security is of the utmost importance to Environ.

Functionality

Exterior doors normally have a treble bolt security system and all houses are fitted with a burglar

The ideal home maintains the versatility to adapt to

alarm. Most scheme specifications include

the changing needs of its’ occupants. Sometimes


Keepers Court, Kings Hill

we need big, open spaces to host a party, while

rooms as possible into a small space. Houses

provides a space for family and friends to gather

on other occasions, we seek a cosy nook in which

are often believed to be better value when they

and enjoy life.

to curl up and read a book. Environ homes allow

contain more rooms, however this can come at

flexible use of space through the installation of

the price of a reduced standard of living. Environ

ceiling pocket doors, which disappear into the wall

believes that the quality of the space inside a

when open space is called for, and easily slide shut

home is more important than the number of

Environ houses are fitted with a range of storage

when more privacy is required.

rooms it contains. Space considerations are

solutions to decrease clutter and increase the

especially pertinent for those downsizing, since

efficiency and enjoyment of your space. Built-in

these people generally desire less bedrooms

closets and wardrobes feature floor to ceiling

but still expect sufficient living space. In the

doors which enable the full interior to be furnished

Homes should be comfortable, spacious and

USA, downsizing is seen as a positive move,

with rails, shelves and drawers, allowing maximum

functional. Often such parameters are ignored in

an opportunity to create a home to a higher

storage with minimum mess. Storage walls,

the UK, with the focus being on fitting as many

specification but in a smaller package which

bookcases, bathroom cabinets, a utility room and

Space Standards

Storage


a carport with storage pod for bicycles and garden equipment are all standard features of our homes.

Bathrooms Environ bathrooms provide a luxurious environment in which to relax and pamper oneself. Italian tiles and ample mirrors ensure that our bathrooms are light and airy, and double basins, walk-in showers and free-standing bath tubs invite you to slow down and indulge. The provision of storage spaces such as cupboards and ladder towel rails means that your bathroom will remain a calm, uncluttered space.

Kitchens Environ kitchens are designed to be at the heart of the home; an area in which to gather, relax and create. Our Cordon Bleu advisor ensures that the kitchen is highly functional, with the most efficient use of space possible. The room is split into zones such as consumable storage, nonconsumable storage, food preparation, cooking and cleaning. Features can include quartz worktops, double bowl sink, hot tap, pop-up sockets, wine rack, bookshelves, tray space, recycling bins and a coffee making area which can be hidden out of sight. Appliances may include a French or American style fridge/freezer or integrated fridge/freezer unit, induction hob, electric ovens, microwave or steam oven and a wine cooler. In the majority of cases,

Sails, Dartmouth


seating is provided around the main island unit, providing the perfect opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine while discussing the day’s activities.

Work Area It is now common for us to bring our business home, and many people choose to work from home for at least part of the week. Even those who are retired often continue to act as consultants. If space allows, a dedicated study will be provided, however if this is not possible, the design will identify a work area which serves the same purpose. For instance, a space under the stairs can be fitted out as an office with doors to hide from view when not in use.

Interior Decor Environ works hard to craft a stunning light and airy interior in our homes. Key features include white Shaker-style doors with matching architraves and skirtings, Italian door furniture and radius hinges in polished chrome and crisp white walls and ceilings. Oak flooring is fitted to many of the living areas, with soft-shaded carpeting to bedrooms and Italian tiles to bathrooms. Some feature walls are panelled and staircases vary between solid and open tread. We always carefully co-ordinate the colours of flooring, tiles and kitchen areas to ensure a seamless appearance.

Keepers Court, Kings Hill


Turn-Key Our homes are designed fully ready for you to move in and unpack. Bathroom cabinets, mirrors, soap dishes, coat hooks, door mats, racking and shelving in wardrobes, bookcases, shaker peg rails and cutlery inserts are all provided to make you instantly feel at home. Oaks Hamlet, Kings Hill

Outside Space All our homes maximise on exterior views, using large windows to frame the landscape which allows residents to experience the outdoors inside, enjoy the changing seasons and benefit from the enhanced well-being associated with natural elements and light. Environ’s landscape designer creates gardens which are complementary to their setting, be they formal or informal, wild flower or parterre. Communal spaces between buildings may include vegetable

Oaks Hamlet, Kings Hill

gardens, orchards, butterfly gardens, ponds, lakes, bog and water gardens, woodlands and prairie planting. Wildlife is encouraged and celebrated through the provision of habitats, and we like to think that our homes become part of a much wider ecosystem.

The Room Outside At Environ, we truly believe that the garden is an extra room, forming part of the home.

Veranda

Built-in garden seating


Our gardens are lovingly crafted to provide a

waste recycling area, and a clothes drying

functional, low-maintenance and sustainable

facility. Plantings are selected to thrive in the

space in which to unwind, play and appreciate the

increasingly unpredictable British climate, with

beauty of nature.

drought-resistant species favoured, as they

In order to invite maximum use of the garden,

perform well even in times of water restriction.

Environ homes are designed to have easy

Gravel and paving are often selected in place of

access to the outside, with beautiful Domus

large expanses of lawn, in order to minimise the

tiles flowing from interior to exterior, and a

need for watering in the garden, and cut down

series of transitional spaces such as porches,

on the use of costly and unsustainable fossil fuels

verandahs and balconies which tempt residents

to mow the grass. Less lawn area also means

out of doors.

less mud when heavy rain is forecast. In some

As we see at Chelsea Flower Show every year, small gardens are often very beautiful, and in the

gardens, vertical planters are installed, which hold summer salads and herbs.

UK, space is often at a premium. We believe in

The best thing about an Environ garden is

creating highly functional small gardens which

that they are very low maintenance. With your

allow ample room for beauty. Environ gardens

own individual pruning guide provided on

feature lush planting and splashes of colour

handover, all you need is some secateurs to

throughout the year, raised beds, comfy seating,

convince your envious friends that you have

a tap, lighting, electrical sockets and storage

green fingers! We believe our gardens provide

solutions for toys, games and seat cushions. Our

a delightfully therapeutic space to enjoy nature

gardens can be customised to your requirements,

with a glass in hand.

Freshford Mill, Freshford

with a wide range of options to choose from including outdoor sculptures, mirrors, shade sails,

Bespoke Options

barbecues and fire pits. The room outside is always created with children in mind, and provides

Environ homes are designed to have their own

a safe, fun environment for the next generation to

individual character, however purchasers have

play and learn. Environ’s gardens are equally well-

the ability to further customise their dwelling

equipped to provide a sophisticated entertainment

through choosing from a range of options, some

and outdoor dining space.

of which are included in the house price, while

Environ is committed to sustainability and

others are extra. Options available will vary by

gardens are often furnished with water butts

scheme dependent on the standard specification

to collect rainwater for irrigation, a screened

of that particular scheme.

Lacuna, Kings Hill


Oaks Hamlet, Kings Hill


01225 864429 | info@environcommunities.com

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