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Renewable construction

The Government’s UK Low Carbon Transition Plan was announced on 15 July 2009, and has invested £6.3m in England under the £405m Low Carbon Investment Fund which initially aimed to build 60 or more low-carbon, affordable homes using innovative, highly insulating, renewable materials. The new scheme aims to demonstrate the viability of these materials and act as a spur for the renewable construction materials industry. It is also helping to engage the affordable housing sector in the low-carbon agenda.

Context

This partnership has been established to make use of the lessons learned from the construction of the NNFCC Renewable House that was funded by DECC and supported by the HCA. The Renewable House was built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and made compliant with NAHP standards, using renewable materials such as hemcrete, hemp insulation and timber frames at a construction cost of £75,000. More on the Renewable House, situated at the BRE Innovation Park.

Criteria

The funding has been allocated through the HCA to housing schemes that achieve Level 4 or above of the Code for Sustainable Homes and use a very high proportion of construction materials from renewable sources such as timber frame, natural insulation and timber windows.  Developers will also be required to install smart meters to track energy use and monitoring will continue once residents have moved in to the homes.

Schemes

All the funding has now been allocated to construct new homes at the following locations using a mix of renewable materials which will help educate developers, contractors and RPs on the use of these new products:

  • £3m for Denmark Lane, Diss in Norfolk – a rural site being developed by Czero with Flagship Housing as the RP partner. The scheme will include 114 homes built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, 102 of which will be affordable, which started on site in late 2009. Housing will be constructed using timber frame and hemcrete as the principle renewable materials.
  • £840k for The Triangle in Swindon - to deliver 42 affordable homes built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Kevin McCloud’s development company, Hab Oakus, and Greensquare Group is the RP partner. Work started on site in early 2010 and the main renewable materials are timber frame and hemcrete .
  • £320k for Blackditch, Oxfordshire - a rural scheme including 16 affordable homes built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which started on site in March 2010. The RP is Cottsway Housing.
  • £160k for Dormary Court, Huntingdon Road, York – a part brownfield site being developed by Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust. The scheme will comprise six homes built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes using timber frame and hemcrete and started on site in March 2010.
  • £920k for Tomorrow’s Garden City, Letchworth – 46 affordable homes on a scheme of 60 homes being delivered by North Hertfordshire Homes, testing a mix of units using both timber frame with hemcrete and pavatherm systems as the main renewable materials and started on site in spring 2010.
  • £420k for LILAC, Leeds, Yorkshire – a co-operative working with Synergy Housing to deliver 20 homes to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes using the Modcell straw bale system demonstrated in the Balehaus which is due to start on site in the summer.
  • £320k for Reed Street, South Shields – to deliver 21 affordable homes being built by Four Housing Group to Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The scheme uses the Pavatherm system which utilises 98% waste wood from sustainable sources which started on site in spring 2010.
  • £320k for Callowland, Watford – to deliver 16 affordable homes from Network Housing Group using the timber frame and hemcrete building solution as the main renewable materials which is due to start on site in summer 2010.

Progress on the schemes will be disseminated to the wider construction industry through case studies and site visits.
 

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