Norwich is being put at the forefront of the development of energy efficient homes thanks to the city council’s ambitious building programme
The creation of what is hoped will be the city’s first Passivhaus homes moved a step closer this week when the council’s cabinet awarded the building contract for a development in Mile Cross.
Norfolk firm EN Suiter & Sons Ltd has been appointed to build 10 flats constructed to Passivhaus standard on the site of the authority’s former area housing office in Hansard Close.
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 Hansard Close development comprises eight one-bedroom flats and two two-bedroom flats. And while relatively modest in scale, the October completion date means it is likely to become the city’s first residential Passivhaus development, with tenants potentially moving in before Christmas.
This was 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 Barron and Smith and can also be used by other local authorities and housing associations wishing to carry out similar projects.
RG Carter has been appointed to build 172 homes for the city council at the Three Score development, of which 112 will be built to Passivhaus standards. This makes it one of the largest Passivhaus schemes in the UK and the scheme is being developed by a newly-formed Regeneration Company, which is wholly owned by the council.
A further 105 Passivhaus properties are already planned at Goldsmith Street, off Dereham Road and are currently being procured through the framework.
The three council schemes alone are comparable with the total number of certified Pasivhaus dwellings built in the UK to date. Combined with other planned schemes at various stages of development across the city, Norwich more than doubles the UK total, and the new framework has the potential to push that figure even higher.
Councillor Gail Harris, deputy leader of Norwich City Council and cabinet member for housing and wellbeing, 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 a 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 our new Regeneration Company.”
Benedict Binns, associate director of Barron and Smith, said: “These are ground-breaking schemes that combine architectural flair and the highest standards of sustainability, increasing both private and social housing in the city and making Norwich a centre of sustainable construction in the UK.”
A spokesperson for the Passivhaus Trust, said: “We are really excited to see such grand Passivhaus plans in Norwich supported by fabric-first frameworks, which means the race really is on to claim the title for ‘the first Passivhaus homes in Norwich.”