Work is underway building some of the UK’s most energy efficient homes

Nicola Clayton

31. 10. 2023

Work is underway on the construction of some of the UK’s most energy efficient homes – the first of their kind in the North West and for any local authority in the country.

Modern methods of construction company Etopia is providing a panelised building system to create four new EPC ‘A’ rated homes for Lancaster City Council.

The new homes provided for residents at the council’s sheltered housing scheme at Alder Grove in Lancaster will drastically reduce heating costs for those residents moving in and meet the 2025 Future Homes Standard, avoiding retrofitting costs when the new building regulations come into force.

Under architects Mason Gillibrand and local contractor Baldwin Building Services, the project has seen the demolition of a structurally unsafe house to make way for four one-bed flats, a manager’s office, and community room.

To ensure an EPC ‘A’ is achieved, the maximum number of solar panels possible have been incorporated into the design and the electricity generated will be divided by the four dwellings.

Electric vehicle charging points will be provided, along with high efficient storage heaters to maximise efficiency for the tenants.

Nicola Clayton, Head of Business Development at Etopia said: “We’re delighted that Lancaster City Council is the first in the North West to use our structural insulated panels that go beyond current regulations. It will allow them to deliver zero-carbon homes that are not only sustainable but are also affordable, warm, and great places to live.

“We’re driven by a mission to revolutionise the delivery of future proof homes across the UK. We’re in the midst of a climate, housing, and cost-of-living crisis. There aren’t enough homes and modern methods of construction like ours can help build affordable homes that people, like those in sheltered housing, can rent and afford to heat and live in.”

Using the insulated panels made in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, a 3-bed home can typically be built in under four days, saving at least 20 per cent water and embodied carbon during construction.

Councillor Caroline Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for housing at Lancaster City Council, said: “I’m delighted to see that work has started on these much-needed new properties.

“The council is committed to improving the energy efficiency of its council housing stock and this is just one example of where we are taking action to do so.

“Residents benefit from homes that are warmer and with lower their energy bills, while at the same time helping to tackle the climate emergency as the council continues its journey to becoming net zero carbon by 2030.”

In 2019 Lancaster City Council declared a climate emergency and has set a target of making all of its activities net zero carbon by 2030. Through its housing strategy it is aiming to bring of its properties up to at least EPC Band C by 2030, which is well underway and has already completed two major projects at The Greaves and Beech Avenue and conversions at four other sites.

Lee Donner, Director of Mason Gillibrand Architects, added: “We are delighted to be working with Lancaster City Council, Etopia, and BBS to bring about this development of new energy efficient homes, the first of their kind in the area.

“The sustainability credentials are a big part of unlocking this site for much needed affordable housing on a site with the added challenge of flood risk. We adapted the design to mitigate the flood risk as well as ensuring that these new homes will exceed current energy standards. This exciting project represents another positive step on tackling climate change and fuel poverty.”

Jack Baldwin, Director of Baldwin Building Services (BBS) said: “We are dedicated to revolutionising the concept of home construction. Our mission is to create sustainable buildings that harmonise with the environment while remaining affordable for all.

“Through innovative design, cutting-edge technologies, and a commitment to eco-friendly practices, we’re reshaping the way homes are built. We look forward to bringing this innovative project to fruition with Mason Gillibrand, Lancaster City Council and Etopia.”

The project is due for completion by June 2024.

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