A £14m HOUSING scheme in Darlington, containing the town’s first houses built to Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, has won the Best New Affordable Scheme Award at the Housing Excellence Awards held in Manchester recently.
Six of the new two, three and four bedroom properties have been specifically designed by the scheme’s award-winning architects, Newcastle-based practice, Jane Darbyshire & David Kendall (JDDK) Ltd, to Level 5 of the code so that their energy performance can be closely monitored.
The 106-home scheme has been built on the site of the former Beaumont Hill School by national construction and development specialist Southdale for Tees Valley Housing, part of Fabrick Housing Group.
Project architect and JDDK director, Mura Mullan, explained: “All of the scheme’s homes are designed to comply with the Lifetime Homes Standard, the HCA (Homes and Communities Agency) Standards and score highly against the HQI (Housing Quality Indicator) standards.
“While all the other new homes on the scheme are designed to Level 3 of the Code, itself a vast improvement for tenants in terms of reduced heating costs, our brief was to adapt the house designs on six of the plots so that the homes could comply with the more stringent specifications of Level 5 which stipulates, amongst other standards, a substantial improvement in energy efficiency.
“So while all the homes are oriented to maximise sunlight and are of timber frame construction with brick and block work, these six have additional insulation, heating from air source heat pumps, under-floor heating and additional photo-voltaic panels.
“Their energy performance will be closely monitored to ascertain the savings achieved against the cost of the new technology. Once Tees Valley Housing has this information, it can make informed decisions on the specifications of future developments.”
Martin Hawthorne, group director of development and regeneration at Fabrick, the parent company of Tees Valley Housing, said: “We wanted to do something genuinely different and innovative – and this will be a real step up. Smart metering will enable us to monitor energy use and carbon emissions, and see how much residents are saving on their bills. That will be a real help to us in planning greener homes.”