New eco-friendly homes in an Oxfordshire village have been recognised by Bioregional for their ‘national leadership in implementing One Planet Living’
The One Planet Living framework was created by international sustainability charity Bioregional as a system for planning sustainable developments and keeping them on track to achieve their goals.
The 15 new homes in the Kings Farm Close development will have near zero-carbon footprints thanks to their use of timber, wood fibre and hemp-lime in the construction process. Emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide gas caused by their construction are about 90% lower than for a conventional brick-built new home.
In addition, due to their excellent thermal performance, future emissions of carbon dioxide will also be much lower than normal houses as heating requirements will be very low.
Their developer, Oxford Advanced Living, also aims to enhance the variety of animal and wildflower species on the land in and around the development which had been used for pasture. A fifth of the site’s total area will be shared green space, planted and managed with native trees to support wildlife.
At Kings Farm Close six of the 15 homes – 40% – are designated as affordable, in one of the most expensive regions of Britain. Four of the homes will be let to tenants at below-market rents by Sovereign Housing Association, and two are for shared home ownership, helping people get on the first rung of the property ladder. The other nine homes are for sale on the open market.
The developer and its builders, Greencore Construction, have drawn up a One Planet Living action plan for the new homes covering all aspects of sustainability – social, economic and environmental. This ambitious plan is based on ten easy-to-grasp One Planet Living principles covering issues such as water, energy, wildlife, waste and contribution to the local economy. National Leadership status was granted after Bioregional reviewed the plan.
- Using timber panels for the walls containing a thick insulation layer made from hemp grown in Yorkshire and lime. Using these panels for construction radically reduces emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide compared to conventional brick and concrete block walls – these panels lock up carbon within the homes.
- The panels are manufactured offsite in Greencore’s own nearby factory in Worminghall near Oxford, benefitting the local economy.
- The high levels of insulation cut the demand for heating, reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
- Using natural materials, combined with a ventilation system which recovers heat, helps to improve indoor air quality while cutting energy consumption and carbon emission still further.
- A management company will be created to look after the shared parts of the development after the homes are completed; it will be handed over to residents. The company will be run by residents and they will be encouraged to continue implementing the One Planet Action Plan, and to regularly review their progress.
Martin Pike, Director of Oxford Advanced Living, says: “This was our first project where we also put a real focus on how we could support the creation of a sustainable community.
“We’re committed to delivering the Action Plan and will continue to evolve the actions as the project develops. We believe that residents will be able to, and will in fact be encouraged to, lead sustainable lifestyles at Kings Farm Close, and we look forward to their feedback to help us with future projects.”
Nicole Lazarus, head of Bioregional Oxfordshire, said: “The Kings Farm Close team richly deserve this One Planet Living recognition for their leadership in creating the kind of sustainable new housing we need so badly. We particularly love the natural materials used in the build system and the high-quality indoor environment that they make possible.”
Alex Brooks, a Development Manager at Sovereign, said: “As we strive to build more much-needed homes, we need to take care to build them sustainably – both for our future residents and our environment. The Kings Farm Close project is a leading example of building truly sustainable, quality places to live and we’re really looking forward to welcoming residents when they pick up the keys to their new homes.”
Image credit: © Greencore Construction