City councillors made a special visit to Mile Cross this week to the development site of what is hoped will be the city’s most energy efficient homes.
Norfolk firm EN Suiter & Sons Ltd are currently constructing 10 flats to Passivhaus standard on the site of the former area housing office in Hansard Close, Norwich.
Passivhaus requires building to the highest certifiable standard of energy efficiency, resulting in ultra-low energy buildings that need very little fuel for heating or cooling.
Councillors were given a tour of the site, learning about the building techniques involved and how the future tenants will benefit from greatly reduced utility bills.
The Hansard Close development comprises eight one-bedroom flats and two fully wheelchair accessible two-bedroom flats on the ground floor. And while relatively modest in scale, the February completion date means it is likely to become the city’s first residential Passivhaus development.
Available homes will be allocated later this year through Norwich Home Options, the council’s choice based lettings system.
Hamson Barron Smith designed the homes and are responsible for project managing the scheme, which is one of the first projects to use the council’s new ‘Fabric First Framework’. Due to the specialist nature of Passivhaus construction and design, the framework brings together a group of small, medium and large contractors with the expertise necessary to carry out this type of work and assist the development of a number of Passivhaus projects.
The framework is being managed by Hamson Barron Smith and can also be used by other local authorities and housing associations wishing to carry out similar projects.
Further council-owned homes built to Passivhaus standards are already planned at Goldsmith Street in Norwich and at the Threescore development site in Bowthorpe.
Councillor Gail Harris, deputy leader of Norwich City Council and cabinet member for council housing, said: “The city council has a strong tradition of housebuilding and we’re delighted to be building new homes again.
“We are very proud to be leading the development of homes with such outstanding eco credentials, which have real benefits for both the environment and our tenants, and it’s fantastic to see Norwich emerging as a leader in this field.
“Not only are we delivering new homes, but we are finding innovative ways to finance them and protect frontline services through the formation of the Norwich Regeneration Company.”
Daniel Hughes, associate director of Hamson Barron Smith, said: “We are delighted to see Hansard Close taking shape. It’s an exciting project to be involved with and one which we hope will set the benchmark for future Passivhaus projects in the region.”
Hamson Barron Smith (part of the NPS Group) are a multi-disciplinary organisation providing architectural, principle design, structural and project management services, working on behalf of NPS Norwich, for Norwich City Council.