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The much anticipated opening of the most sustainable and ecological homes ever built in Southampton took place at Stoneham Green in Mansbridge, Southampton, this week. Grand Designs presenter and passionate sustainable development advocate, Kevin McCloud, officially opened the development and welcomed the new residents into their ‘homes of the future’.
The eleven family homes, all for affordable rent, are designed to maximise the use of renewable energy sources and encompass the latest building technology and innovative designs, to reduce the impact on the environment and save residents money. Each of the houses has been certified as Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the highest level of sustainability currently available.
Kevin McCloud opened the homes by congratulating Radian for “producing such fine buildings. I know how difficult it is to deliver such high levels of sustainability, and this place has got a real energy and presence about it.” Addressing the residents, he continued: “What you’re living in is a scheme where all these brilliant technologies already in existence have been brought together. You are living in a slice of the future; a template for what’s to come.”
Radian continues to lead the way for housing providers in the South, with this scheme being the first in Southampton to achieve true zero carbon status, whereby all CO2 emissions are offset on site. The homes also meet current Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) standards and are designed to be fully Lifetime Homes compliant, allowing for changes in lifestyle or needs of families in the future.
Kevin McCloud stated: “What is great about Radian’s Stoneham Green development, is to see a Code 6 scheme that isn’t just an exemplar, but a template for future developments to replicate. Ultimately, the test is if people can change the way they live and get joy from their homes. In this case the answer clearly is yes.”
Having won last year’s Ashden UK Gold Award for its impressive retrofit programmes, Radian has continued its acclaimed delivery of the finest sustainable development with this community of eco-homes for affordable rent. Simon Brammer from Ashden and The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts said: “In essence, what Radian has done with this impressive development is prove that we are now beyond the age of the ‘demonstration home’: They have taken the once niche eco-home right into the mainstream and thrown down the gauntlet for other housing developers to follow.”
In addition to the many key ecological features and construction techniques that enable the highest possible level of energy saving and adaptability, is the inclusion of a Building Energy Management System. This interactive touch screen allows residents to assess and monitor energy savings and provides information on how best to utilise their electricity and heating to meet their personal savings targets. This innovation will help to overcome one of the main unknowns in the successful delivery of the government’s Green Deal: resident behaviour. It is hoped these user-friendly visual guides to the technologies installed will ensure that all future residents of eco-homes everywhere, will be able to remain out of fuel poverty.
Andrea Smith, Radian’s Director of Development and New Business, said: “We are demonstrating technologies at Stoneham that are replicable for our future new-build developments. We are also excited by the opportunities that the use of the Building Energy Management System provides and believe that it has the potential to transform the way in which we provide services to our customers in the future.”
The residents of Stoneham Green, many of whom had moved from bigger houses in the area, are delighted with their new homes. Tracy Bath has lived in Mansbridge for 28 years and never wanted to move out of the area, however Radian offered her the option of moving to Stoneham Green in order to make her old house available for another family, who needed the extra bedroom that Tracy and her family weren’t using.
“This opportunity was perfect for us”, Tracy said. “We’ve got a beautifully designed new house with bigger rooms that are all light and airy, in a quiet street with a view of greenery. We have had one energy bill so far, which was less than half of what we used to pay at the old house.”
Indeed, fellow resident Sue Jennings confirmed that she had only paid £17 for her heating bill which covered the first two months. Her neighbour, Brenda, confirmed that hers was £13, despite the cold weather experienced over the last few months.
Part funded by the HCA and in partnership with Southampton City Council, newly elected Council Leader, Councillor Richard Williams, addressed the crowd assembled for the opening: “What we see in front of us is the future of eco-communities. What we need to do is to make developments like these ‘the norm’, to generate a sustainable Southampton.”
The scheme has engaged the local community and widely promoted the benefits of a greener lifestyle and ‘social sustainability’ by creating allotment plots belonging to each home. Radian’s Ground Maintenance and Community Development Teams have run gardening surgeries; its contractors, Drew Smith, donated allotment starter kits and tools; and residents’ entered a scarecrow design competition, with each entrant receiving plants and great encouragement from Kevin McCloud.
Radian’s Chairman, Richard Hastilow CBE, added: “These fine homes represent Radian’s commitment to innovation. They are designed and built, not only to give comfort and enjoyment to residents and to keep energy costs down to the lowest possible levels, but also to ensure carbon emissions are removed completely. All of this pulled together with the very latest interactive technology.”
You may be interested in our PDF presentation, Leading a greener lifestyle, in partnership with Kaldien.