Making it a better place to live


Green Coffee members have now created a list of sustainable features for new buildings and this is already being used by local groups taking action for sustainability in the borough.

Sustainable Merton and Wimbledon East Hillside Residents’ Association have submitted this list to the Plough Lane consultation. The aim is to encourage the developer to make the proposed 20,000 seat football stadium, retail unit, fitness club and 602 apartments as sustainable as possible.

Find out more:


Sustainability Checklist for Buildings:



1. Where possible, buildings should be built as a ‘fully insulated box’ to a grade exceeding the present building code, to ensure minimum costs for heating/cooling. Consider building to Passivhaus standards as this would mean that central heating/cooling systems are not needed, thus offsetting any additional building costs and creating more living space.

2. Put solar water heating panels on roof areas to provide hot water.

3. Put solar PV panels on roof areas to generate electricity.

4. Is there a nearby source of free heat? e.g. from industrial processes. If not, consider a low carbon-fuelled combined heat and power unit to provide electricity and district heating.

5. Appliance sharing e.g. vacuums, washer/dryers, carpet steam cleaner, ladders, outdoor furniture.


6. Large and state-of-the-art recycling facilities (e.g. recycling chutes in each floor, to send mixed recycling to a receptacle in basement).

7. Each new building and each separate unit kitted out to facilitate 85% recycling of waste (for example, built in spaces in all rooms/flats with tubs for all recycling).

8. Rainwater harvesting from roofs into tanks on upper floors to supply toilets and the remainder into an underground tank, to ensure future health of trees and shrubs.

9. Sustainable Drainage System standards to take account of water quantity, quality and amenity issues, so that water drainage is managed properly. This is not yet a requirement by Merton Council but developments should adhere to this standard now.


10. Loads of bike storage for building/users. A large number of bike storage/parking facilities – secure and covered.

11. Safe mini-bus/vehicular drop off point.

12. Space for car sharing vehicles on a road outside flats, for use of residents and neighbours.


13. Surround the development with carbon-reducing trees and shrubbery, kept vibrant via a maintenance contract. Landscape designer employed to plant bird and bee friendly trees and low-maintenance shrubs.

14. Positive space and shelter for outdoor smoking (a civilised area, ideally not right on the main road; include ash trays – with maintenance contract).

15. Small-scale community space(s) for hire by local people for various community needs, e.g. toy exchange, toddler groups, support groups etc.

16. Provision of gardens, including community growing areas and a living roof, where feasible.

17. Provision of swift boxes – hollow tiles on high buildings to provide a nesting site for swifts. (There has been a serious decline in swift populations in the UK, attributed to the loss of nest sites as a result of modern building practices. Many councils now incorporate nest sites in new and existing buildings as a standard procedure, including Edinburgh, Brighton, Westminster, Camden, Tayside and Liverpool.)