The homes have been built using sustainably sourced materials, avoiding toxic chemicals commonly found in new houses and incorporating reclaimed and recycled construction materials. The homes are designed for mixed use; residential, business and community, and include a range of sizes of residential units. Broadband is available for home working. There is good access to public transport and schools.
The following sustainable materials have been used:
- TJI joists (timber version of the I-beam).
- Blocks with high recycled aggregate content.
- Lindab galvanised steel guttering, (not PVC)
- Reclaimed bricks from local demolition site.
- Waste pipes generally ABS plastic or clay.
- VOC free paint.
- No chipboard or MDF (to reduce presence of formaldehyde)
- Decking treatment free of CCA (Chromated Copper Arsenate) – Tanalith E used instead.
The homes are insulated far above normal standards for UK construction and incorporate renewable energy technology and energy-saving devices. Insulation is Warmcel (recycled newspaper) and Jablite (CFC-free), plus there are highly efficient double-glazed, argon-filled timber frame windows. The super insulated timber frame brings U-values* down to 0.10, far exceeding current building regulations. Timber comes from accredited and local sources – all certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Pan European Forest Council (PEFC).
*A U value is a measure of heat loss. The lower the u value, the better the insulation provided by the material. As a comparison, the u value of a straw-bale wall is 0.13, and a solid 225mm (9”) brick wall (without wall linings) is 2.0.
Natural daylight and warmth from the sun are used to maximum effect, for example PV panels and orientation to exploit warmth from the sun to heat sunspaces and solar thermal panels.
The design includes low water-use showers and taps and dual flush toilets, whilst rainwater is used to flush toilets in some properties. Rainwater butts are provided for patio plants. A Sustainable Urban Drainage System is also a feature.