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Raven completes first construction phase of zero carbon homes

The first phase of construction on housing provider Raven Housing Trust’s latest net zero carbon development in East Sussex is complete.

Contractor and manufacturer Boutique Modern has laid foundations and completed other preparatory works for 32 new affordable one, two and three bedroom homes, split into 18 maisonettes for affordable rent and a further 14 properties available for shared ownership.

The new homes have been designed to be carbon efficient. In fact, when it comes to heating, hot water and lighting, they will have a zero-carbon footprint. Raven is fitting each home with energy saving technologies such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps, which means they will be better for the environment, as well as warm, comfortable and affordable to heat for residents.

Raven is also using the latest modern methods of construction (MMC) from local, Newhaven-based company Boutique Modern, which factory-produces homes off-site. Workers will assemble the modules using cranes, then add roofs and building facades.

This approach reduces construction waste and the number of deliveries to site. As Boutique Modern’s factory is just 10 miles away, carbon emissions associated with transporting the homes will be kept to a minimum too.

Even the foundations, which are known as helical pile foundations, are made from steel, which means they have minimal environmental impact compared to traditional concrete footings. They require less excavation and can often be removed and reused if necessary.

Built on the former Pells Church of England School site, Raven’s new Lewes development is due for completion in Spring 2025. The first two properties will be show homes and open for viewings this summer.

Lewes District Council will allocate the 18 homes available for affordable rent, and Raven will market the 14 properties available for shared ownership.

Ali Bennett, executive director of homes at Raven, said: “This latest development in Lewes is testament to Raven’s commitment to net zero carbon and sustainable development. With funding from Homes England and South Downs National Park Authority, this is a great example of partnership working to deliver much needed affordable homes.

“By using Modern Methods of Construction, as well as integrating sustainable technologies such as solar panels, ground source heat pumps and electric vehicle charging points into every property in our new Lewes development, we’re making great strides towards our goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and setting a benchmark for future projects.

“The development aligns with our growth strategy; we’re on course to deliver our first two net zero carbon sites in the next year, which underscores our unwavering dedication to addressing the urgent need for affordable housing in Lewes and beyond.

“We’re delighted to announce completion of the first construction phase and look forward to fulfilling the aspirations of 32 families awaiting the opportunity to call Lewes home.”

Lucas Shone, projects director at Boutique Modern, added: “We’re thrilled to begin delivering our modular homes, which is a pivotal milestone in the site’s evolution. It marks a shift from initial works and highlights our commitment to sustainable practices. We can’t wait to see 32 new families move in and begin their new lives.”

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