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Pilot scheme to deliver seven highly efficient and all-affordable homes in Hertfordshire

Four vacant and timeworn bungalows in East Hertfordshire are being redeveloped this year to make way for a landmark pilot scheme of seven highly efficient and affordable new homes.
2023-06-20 Peascroft proposed perspective

Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest social landlord, is working with architect Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE) and contractor LIFE Build to deliver seven terraced houses and bungalows in the village of Cottered in East Herfordshire. The two property types will feature different technologies, air tightness and energy performance.

The two housebuilding approaches are in line with the upcoming 2025 Future Homes Standard (FHS), to which Clarion is already building ahead of legislation through its Cottered trial. Using its pilot scheme, Clarion is exploring the process and costs to achieve FHS performance in the seven homes and will report its findings back to Government.

New residents of the highly energy efficient houses and bungalows – which will all be for affordable rent – will have warmer homes and cheaper energy bills than most older-built properties.

The five houses are being built using a ‘fabric-led’ approach and will feature a mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system and improved thermal performance. They will feature Mixergy smart hot water tanks, and a mix of electric radiators or infrared panels for heating.

The two bungalows will adopt a ‘technology-led’ approach using a mechanical extract ventilation (MEV) system to continuously extract air from the properties. Wet radiator systems will be powered by an air-source heat pump, which will provide hot water via a linked cylinder.

All seven homes – which will complete in February 2024 – will include photovoltaic solar panels.

Once residents have moved into the finished homes, Clarion and PTE will run post-occupancy testing for one year to monitor the comfort and performance of the two property types – including temperature and humidity levels, ventilation and energy consumption.

The testing will also focus heavily on the resident experience, assessing if residents are maximising the performance of the homes and whether the technology is suited to their needs.

Richard Cook, group development director at Clarion Housing Group, said: “This landmark affordable housing project demonstrates our commitment to innovating and working ahead of the curve. Not only will the seven new homes at Cottered provide warmer and cheaper affordable homes to residents, they will provide valuable learning for our sector as we work towards meeting new legislation and futureproofing our homes for residents.”

Clarion will report the post-occupancy performance data at Cottered to Government, which will publish its new Future Homes Standard in 2024. The new building standard is set to come into force in 2025, when all new housing is required to be ‘zero carbon’ ready.

Clarion has made a firm commitment to providing and building energy efficient homes as part of its wider sustainability strategy. It is already building fossil fuel-free new homes and aims for all its existing homes to be a minimum of EPC D-rated by 2025.

Its 212-home Richmond College project in Twickenham will be one of the first new residential housing developments in the borough with ‘net zero carbon homes. All homes will be built with high levels of insulation and ventilation efficiency, with any carbon emissions offset by energy generated by photovoltaic solar panels.

Proposals for the Richmond scheme will ensure that any loss of habitat will be replaced or enhanced to care for local protected species. Biodiversity will be boosted through wildlife-friendly landscaping, rain gardens and an ecological corridor of new trees and shrubs.

In 2022, the Group’s development arm – Latimer – was named the most sustainable not-for-profit housebuilder in the UK in the Next Generation Benchmark.


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