Octavia works hard to minimise environmental impact across all areas of our business, from the way we build new homes to the way we run our offices. In recent years we have become well known for our award-winning work in building and retro-fitting some of our homes to Passivhaus standards -  most comprehensive energy performance standards for buildings.

Our green ethos is inspired by our founder Octavia Hill. She was one of the first to campaign for clean air in London, she laid the foundations for the 1956 Clean Air Act and was a co-founder of the National Trust. 

We are recognised by the SHIFT criteria as being one of the most environmentally friendly housing providers in the country and were awarded Sustainable Housing Provider of the Year in 2017 and achieved a second SHIFT Gold accreditation for sustainability in 2019.

To us, sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; in other words, managing our resources and not using them at a faster rate than the earth can replenish them.

Some of our most sustainable projects and practices include:

  • Octavia completed the UK's first ever certified Passivhaus retrofit project, 100 Princedale Road which involved converting an 1860s Victorian terrace home into a very low energy home. This award-winning project delivered an 83% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 94% reduction in energy use, as well as fuel bill savings for tenants of £910 a year.
  • In 2013 we completed London's largest mixed tenure development built using Passivhaus principles at the time. The Greenhauses at Sulgrave Gardens provides 30 stunning homes built with super insulation, highly efficient energy transfer and triple glazing, which work together to cut heating bills by up to 90%.
  • In 2016 Octavia embarked on our Retrofit Programme, with the target to raise all our existing properties up to a C rated EPC by 2023. We do this through a mix of measures including; insulating solid external walls, replacing single glazing with double glazing where possible and fitting draught proofing to windows and external doors. This reflects continues our long term commitment to environmental sustainability and ensures we stay ahead of the Government’s Clean Green Growth Strategy target of EPC C by 2030 for all housing.
  • Our Head Office is powered using a solar electricity system, which reduces our CO2 emissions by almost 20 tonnes a year.
  • Since 2011, all of the homes we have built have met Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. From 2015 our new build developments will meet the Code’s highest level 6 requirements.
  • We are proud members of Shift and the Passivhaus Trust.

It’s especially good to see that the concept is useful for a mixed tenure project - it's an application which is really promising and really necessary, to avoid fuel poverty and guarantee a decent quality of life. There is a real need for more developers to take steer from Octavia in this case.


Dr Wolfgang Feist, developer of the Passivhaus standard.