A ground breaking ceremony was held at Goldsmith Street on Thursday (19 January) at a site that is set to be one of the largest collections of energy efficient homes ever built in the city.
Council leaders joined council staff and contractors to mark the official start of the construction of 105 new homes which will all be built to Passivhaus standard.
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.
The properties at Goldsmith Street will feature extra thick insulation, triple glazed windows and doors, and a mechanical vent heat recovery system. This allows clean air into the home, whilst ensuring that heat generated through day-to-day activities does not escape.
For the inhabitants this means that by making simple lifestyle and behavioural changes, heat generated within the home can be utilised to dramatically reduce energy bills.
Residents will soon be moving into the council’s first Passivhaus homes at Hansard Close, Mile Cross, and this second, much larger development, looks set to put Norwich City Council at the forefront sustainable housing building in the region.
All of the homes built at both sites will be available for social rent through Norwich Home Options, the council’s choice based lettings scheme.
As part of the wider development of the area improvement works have already been carried out to the Midland Street green space. These include new paths for walking and cycling, new seating, planting and the installation of wooden play equipment.
Councillor Harris, Norwich City Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for council housing said: “We are delighted to start work on-site to deliver these much needed affordable homes for the city.
“Our first Passivhaus homes are due for completion at Hansard Close, Mile Cross, in Spring 2017. This is paving the way for Goldsmith Street, which we hope will be one of the largest collections of eco-friendly homes ever built in the city.
This will help realise our ambitions to make Norwich a low carbon city with good housing for all”.
Due for completion in Summer 2018, the site features a mix of one, two, three and four bedroomed properties, set within an award winning design from Mikhail Riches architects, that seeks to recreate the terraced streets of Norwich.
David Mikhail, Director, Mikhail Riches said: “Goldsmith Street is exciting for us, it offers the opportunity to work with Norwich City Council to deliver sustainable housing, in all senses of the word. The 105 new homes will deliver very low energy bills for their occupants throughout their lifespan. We were also inspired by the Edwardian streets of the Golden and Silver Triangles of Norwich, and the scheme seeks to re-introduce streets of houses in an area that was previously dominated by post war blocks of flats”.
R G Carter Ltd is building the homes on behalf of the city council, with project management provided by Hamson Barron and Smith (part of NPS group), who are also responsible for managing the council’s ‘Fabric First Framework’.
The framework brings together contractors with the necessary expertise to carry out this type of specialist building work and can be utilised by other local authorities and housing associations wishing to carry out similar projects.
Grant Keys Regional Director for R G Carter commented: "Passivhaus construction requires the highest standards of quality control and craftsmanship. Having already established a track record of delivery in this specialist sector, this exciting project is a perfect opportunity for RG Carter to develop a reputation as one of the country's leading Passivhaus contractors."