State of the art sustainable housing scheme gets ready for take off

Catalyst Housing has launched a ground-breaking sustainable scheme of new ‘Zero Carbon’ affordable homes in Hounslow: The Greenway. Behind the Astroturf hoardings, these homes are among the first in the country to be built to the toughest requirements for sustainable homes and will be ready for occupation later in the year.

Working with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Hounslow Council and Willmott Dixon, which is building the properties, Catalyst are developing 18 new homes for affordable rent that are a pointer to the sustainable future of new housing. Other partners in the project include MEPK Architects & Philip Pank Partnership.

Key features of this unique project include:

  • 18 new affordable homes being built to the highest level of the Code for Sustainable Homes ahead of the 2016 “Zero carbon” deadline, which has been made possible thanks to funding from the HCA;
  • The first new homes in London to be completed to the latest version of the Mayor of London’s Housing Design guide;
  • Regeneration of a difficult brownfield site to demonstrate the viability of these standards in very challenging conditions
  • 12 allotment plots on site as well as a mini orchard of dwarf fruit trees for use by the residents
  • Detailed monitoring after occupation to better inform future sustainable developments

Heating and hot water is provided to all homes through a communal bio-mass boiler. This scheme also allows for a passive cooling system using a network of pipes supplying water from the ground beneath the allotments. As overheating homes may become a problem in the years to come, these homes have been future-proofed against further climate change.

A vital part of this project will be the monitoring that takes place after the new residents move in. Catalyst will be monitoring the performance of the completed buildings for 2 years after occupation. This will show how the homes are really used by occupiers. The essential data and knowledge obtained from the monitoring will be used by Catalyst and made freely available to the wider industry to inform how future developments are delivered. It will also inform and shape potential training requirements for occupiers to ensure they are “Zero carbon ready”.

Catalyst Housing Chief Executive Rod Cahill commented: ‘With fuel poverty becoming an increasing problem, we’re committed to building homes to help tackle this. We know that rising energy bills are a massive concern and we believe that affordable homes need to remain affordable after you’ve moved in. Schemes like this, which include detailed monitoring, underline our commitment to building sustainable, affordable communities”.

Local MP Seema Malhotra said: “I’m delighted this innovative new affordable homes scheme is being launched in Hounslow. Catalyst Housing are leading the way with their zero carbon scheme which will make a real difference to the lives of residents, keeping down fuel bills and encouraging sustainable living”

Marcus Nelson, MEPK Architects said: “This project has been designed to be forward looking. It goes beyond the latest design criteria for London, using less energy to heat in winter, providing both passive and active cooling in summer, consequently ‘future proofing’ against the uncertainties of climate change.”

Tim Carpenter, managing director at Willmott Dixon, said, “The team have worked tirelessly for many years now to get this zero carbon scheme to this exciting stage where we are starting to see the culmination of our hard work. The learning and knowledge we’re gaining from such a unique project for London is immense and will allow us to build more such sustainable homes in the future to alleviate the dangers of people slipping into fuel poverty.”