Developers opt for low carbon buildings

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Government cuts have not held back the push to develop affordable, zero carbon quality homes…

2015 was a bad year for low carbon building. Cuts to government funding and the scrapping of schemes such as the Green Deal left a sense of uncertainty within the field.

The Zero Carbon Homes policy (which would have ensured more affordable low carbon homes were built) was scrapped last year after the government refused to support it further.

However, it is becoming clear that even though the government might not be committed to green building the sector certainly is.

Both British and Chinese companies have put forward major investment in affordable, zero carbon homes. British Solar Renewables, working alongside WElink Energy Ltd and China National Building Materials (CNBM) have announced they plan to develop major solar and energy storage projects in 8,000 initial energy efficient, affordable, pre-engineered homes in England.

The partnership will see CNBM work with WElink Energy to install what is called a “Barcelona Housing System” (BHS). This state-of-the-art project was designed by one of Europe’s longest established architectural firms, Cesar Martinell & Associates.

BHS is a zero carbon building, constructed with zero water usage and zero waste. British Solar Renewables will deliver solar and energy storage components on the project, which aims to utilise a number of low carbon technologies.

Initially, CNBM and WElink will commit to over £800m investment to build the first 8,000 housing units for the UK market. It is expected between 2016-18, 4,000 units will be built, while the remaining 4,000 units will follow soon after that. It is hoped more units can be built in the future.

In a statement, chief executive of WElink Barry O’Neill said: “Given the scalability of our BHS solution and the near-zero energy buildings that are constructed in combination with the engineering, financial and strategic support of our Chinese partners, we believe we can expand rapidly to fulfil the appetite for the development of affordable housing in the UK.”

The project, according to the Renewable Energy Association (REA), highlights the demand for solar and storage technology in new developments, despite government support falling away.

Dr. Nina Skorupska, CEO of REA, said: “[The] announcement proves that low carbon homes are commercially viable and are attractive to new home owners.

“Installing solar and storage on new developments is not a play-thing of the rich, in fact these are affordable family homes.

“Britain requires a tremendous level of investment and political commitment to build over 200,000 homes needed a year.

“[The] announcement demonstrates an excellent model for how to move forwards; these homes will have very low energy bills over their lives and owners will live more independently than ever before.”

Skorupska called on the government to reinstate the Zero Carbon Homes initiative to ensure more green homes are produced.

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