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Kings Farm Close, Longcot, Oxfordshire

Fifteen new homes in an Oxfordshire village are ultra-low carbon and highly sustainable, using the One Planet Living framework.

The Kings Farm Close development at Longcot in Oxfordshire comprises 15 new homes. These new homes will have near zero carbon footprints, thanks to their use of an innovative construction system called Biond, which uses timber, wood fibre and hemp in the manufacturing 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.

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 previously 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 under a biodiversity plan.

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 the builder, Greencore Construction, drew up a One Planet Action Plan covering all aspects of sustainability – social, economic and environmental, based on the ten One Planet Living principles.

In 2018, Bioregional awarded the development’s One Planet Action Plan ‘national leadership’ status in implementing One Planet Living.

Highlights include:

  • Using timber panels for the walls containing a thick insulation layer made from Yorkshire-grown hemp-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 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 emissions still further.
  • A management company will be created to look after the shared parts of the development including the green spaces after the homes are completed. This company will be run by the residents and they will be encouraged to continue implementing the One Planet Action Plan, and to regularly review their progress.

Bioregional Homes

We deliver sustainable, affordable ‘One Planet Communities’ working with community groups and landowners

At Bioregional Homes we build One Planet Communities. These are schemes that use the ten principles of One Planet Living® in design, construction and facilities management to achieve sustainable development – genuinely affordable homes that are zero-carbon, built from sustainable materials, that encourage recycling, food growing and biodiversity, and communities that are great places to live and work. Bioregional Homes is a wholly owned subsidiary of environmental charity Bioregional.

One Planet Living is a vision of the world where everyone, everywhere can enjoy happy, healthy lives within the limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness.

We build One Planet Communities in two ways:

  • Working with development partners on urban, mixed-use communities of 50-250 homes such as BedZED in London and One Brighton in the centre of Brighton.
  • Working with community groups on smaller schemes of 20-50 homes, where we can tailor the design and cost of the homes to the people who will live in them, responding to local needs.

To see the details of our scheme in Chobham please visit our dedicated website.

Case studies

BedZED in south London is an award-winning 100-unit eco-village with mixed use and mixed tenure. It was completed in 2001 by Peabody Trust in partnership with Bioregional, and designed by Bill Dunster Architects.

One Brighton was completed in 2007 by Crest Nicholson and Bioregional Quintain. This 172-unit car-free development was the world’s first endorsed One Planet Community.

“There’s a real sense of shared values as well as a strong community feel at BedZED. This, combined with the green space nearby and the layout of our streets, makes it a special place to live, and quite unique to London living.” – Dave Tchilingirian, resident of BedZED

The team

From left to right: Sue Riddlestone OBE, Nicole Lazarus, Anthony Probert, Douglas Drewniak, Ronan Leyden, Lewis Knight and Russell Tame.

Get in touch

If you are a landowner, developer or community group interested in partnering with us to create One Planet Communities in the UK, do get in touch:

Russell Tame, Managing Director
Ronan Leyden, Senior Development Manager
info@bioregionalhomes.com | +44 (0)20 8404 4880

Development vision for Mincing Lane, Chobham in Surrey Heath

Our development vision is to create a One Planet Community that encompasses:

  • Affordable homes – community governance means reduced house prices are protected permanently
  • Custom build – occupants and community actively engaged in the design process
  • Community living – communal gardens and facilities
  • Intergenerational – range of sizes to provide for young people, families to retirees
  • Living in nature – maintaining the mature trees and enhancing biodiversity
  • Offsite manufacture – UK-sourced low impact construction method and reduced building works on-site
  • Net zero carbon – powered using on and offsite renewable energy
  • Low impact lifestyles – easy and convenient to make sustainable choices

Image by Edson Yabiku and AIR Architects

Request to join Sustaining Chobham Community Interest Company (CIC): If you are interested in potentially moving into the scheme at Mincing Lane, Chobham and/or taking an active and positive role in its design, governance and management, you can request to join the Sustaining Chobham CIC.
 

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NW Bicester

Bioregional Oxfordshire supported the development of the UK’s first eco-town North West Bicester, from 2010 to 2017, through a long-term partnership with lead developer, A2Dominion, and the local authority, Cherwell District Council

The UK’s first eco-town

NW Bicester eco-town is a 6,000-home extension to the market town of Bicester, with highly sustainable, true zero-carbon homes plus workplaces, schools, community facilities and abundant green space.

It is the only development to be built to the original high sustainability standards outlined in the UK’s official government Eco Towns Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 2009. The policy was scrapped in 2015.

Bioregional got involved with the eco-town process in 2008 when our CEO Sue Riddlestone OBE sat on its advisory panel, helping to define the standards for the PPS.

Following this work , Bioregional started working with NW Bicester’s lead developer A2Dominion and the planning authority, Cherwell District Council to help deliver the eco-town.

Working across the traditional planning divide, we took a collaborative approach to understanding the PPS standards and developing the strategies to deliver them.  We provided advice on energy, waste, water, landscape, transport, green space and nature, and employment strategies.

We have also helped deliver sustainability benefits across the wider town by working with the local authority and other organisations. Read more.

What makes a One Planet Community?

Elmsbrook is the first phase of the eco-town, a 393-home One Planet Community. Bioregional helped A2Dominion to prepare an ambitious sustainability action plan using the One Planet Living framework. This action plan was then endorsed by Bioregional in 2012.

Construction of Elmsbrook began in the spring of 2014, with the first residents moving in mid-2016.

With a local office nearby in Bicester, Bioregional Oxfordshire worked with A2Dominion during the  first phase to ensure it fulfils its sustainability promises.

The 393-home One Planet Community includes a primary school, community centre, an eco-business centre and local neighbourhood shops, creating a village feel.

  • All homes are built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 incorporating triple glazing, rainwater harvesting and water recycling.
  • Electricity is generated from PV solar panels on every home (34 square metres per property on average) which, when complete, will make this the UK’s largest residential solar array.
  • Heat and hot water come from the community’s own combined heat and power plant. The ambition is to eventually use waste heat from the existing Ardley energy-from-waste facility nearby.
  • With cycle and pedestrian routes, a bus stop within 400 metres of every home, live timetable updates in each home, charging points for electric vehicles and an electric car club, residents are being encouraged to adopt sustainable modes of travel.

B&Q

We’ve worked closely with B&Q, a leading UK retailer and the first One Planet Company, over the last ten years to help it use One Planet Living to drive its sustainability efforts

Greening a DIY giant

In 2007 we helped B&Q develop and launch its One Planet Action Plan,  an ambitious strategy which marked the beginning of its sustainability programme – One Planet Home. This partnership has become one of Bioregional’s longest-running and most important collaborations. 

Each year we review B&Q’s progress against its sustainability targets set out in this plan, and tell the story of its progress. 

Sustainability is now embedded into many of B&Q’s core functions ensuring that its energy use and transport, for example, continue to become more efficient. Ongoing engagement with buyers ensures that supply chain risks are minimised and innovative new products and services are continually sought.

B&Q’s One Planet achievements

Cumulatively these efforts have had a huge impact in reducing B&Q’s impacts and improving its bottom line since 2006/7 including:

  • A saving of 762,546 tonnes CO2e through a 41% reduction in its absolute carbon footprint
  • Reducing costs by £164m through better energy, transport and waste management
  • 40% of sales from products with sustainability credentials

Developing a better understanding of its footprint has allowed B&Q to focus on specific initiatives to reduce its environmental impacts, while saving money. Like many other retailers B&Q has achieved high levels of diversion from landfill (now 99%) but it is also striving to ensure that wherever possible waste is prevented or recycled.

With over three million customers a week there is a huge opportunity for B&Q to make the nation’s homes greener. 40% of its sales are now from products with sustainability credentials.

You can download our latest 2015/16  sustainability review using the link on the right.

The Nature of Gardens

We have also worked with B&Q on a number of specific initiatives and projects to support its move towards a One Planet future. In 2017, B&Q commissioned us to research and write an in-depth report on the value of UK gardens to nature.

After reviewing over 100 reports, the Nature of Gardens report  concluded that:

  • Gardens are vital for Britain’s declining wildlife
  • Wildlife and nature are good for people’s mental and
    physical health, and our gardens are one of the most
    important places where this happens.

Our findings were combined with the results from extensive B&Q commissioned consumer research into people’s attitudes towards wildlife in their gardens, plus a list of top ten tips for less experienced gardeners on how to support wildlife. Check these out

Launched in Spring 2017, The Nature of Gardens was endorsed by leading wildlife and gardening organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society and the RSPB.

Alongside, B&Q announced that to help protect our bees, it will stop using neonicotinoid pesticides from 2018 for all the flowering plants it sells.

About our partner

B&Q is the leading home improvement and garden retailer in the UK and the third largest in the world. It has more than 300 stores in the UK and Ireland and sales in 2014/15 of £3.8 billion.

Project LEMUR (Local energy mapping for urban retrofit)

Working with several partners, Bioregional won funding from Innovate UK to develop a solution to the challenges of tackling urban retrofit in the UK.

The challenge

In the UK, we urgently need to make our homes more energy efficient. Yet retrofitting homes in towns and cities has proved difficult due to a lack of adequate, up to date information about which homes could benefit most from particular retrofit measures. Lack of incentives and awareness of the benefits for homeowners, on top of high installation costs, compound the problem.

Bioregional, Oxford Brookes University, Cherwell District Council and Future Cities Catapult developed LEMUR to explore how to overcome the challenges to:

  • conduct large-scale retrofitting of carbon reduction measures in homes;
  • facilitate warmer, healthier homes and reduce fuel poverty;
  • support thriving local economies and nurture community groups.

The solution

The project partners brought together two existing data-driven models – Oxford Brookes University’s Geographic Information System based DECoRuM model and Bioregional’s Community Energy Manager – into an innovative new service called LEMUR (Local energy mapping for urban retrofit).

These two models combine estimates of energy-related carbon emissions (at a street, suburb or city level) with social information collected by Community Energy Manager. LEMUR takes this integrated data to provide a service that helps design targeted retrofit programmes that will work for a specific local area.

The ability to efficiently target areas in need of retrofit will not only help local authorities but also energy companies and retrofit suppliers. It will also give local community groups the tools to manage, survey and deliver community energy projects on the ground, in their local area.

Testing in Bicester

In spring 2016, the LEMUR service was tested with a small pilot project conducted in Highfield, Bicester (Oxfordshire). Volunteers spoke with over 50 householders about their energy use and the efficiency of their houses and possible indicators of fuel poverty.

The data was then mapped using Community Energy Manager and DECoRuM to identify key clusters of houses with the potential for retrofit. In partnership with the Affordable Warmth Network’s local boiler scheme, four households were also identified as being eligible for a free boiler. Further methods of engagement were  trialled including school and community events.

The service

The project’s main outcome is the development of a bespoke and flexible digital service for retrofit programmes, which community groups can use at very low cost, and more bespoke services available to local authorities, housing associations, researchers and retrofit providers alike.

In 2018, as part of the ERDF-funded OxFutures programme, Bioregional and Oxford Brookes University are performing LEMUR analyses on all five Oxfordshire local authority areas. After using local and national open datasets to perform an initial rapid assessment, one neighbourhood in each area is chosen for a deeper analysis involving data collection via local community organisations.

We aim to use the findings from LEMUR analyses to help shape new retrofit schemes and secure funding for installing energy efficiency measures.

If you would like to know more about LEMUR, please contact Matt Wood (matt.wood@bioregional.com).

Community Energy Manager

With funding from innovation charity Nesta, Bioregional and SpiralEdge have created an online tool to help community groups manage energy data for local households and deliver community energy-saving and green energy projects.

Community energy groups in the UK have had great success over the last few years. Groups including Bristol Energy Co-op, Low Carbon Hub and Repowering London have raised millions of pounds to invest in a low-carbon future by saving energy and investing in renewable energy sources for Britain’s homes.

These groups also often provide local people with much-needed energy advice and access to energy-efficiency schemes to tackle problems such as fuel poverty and cold, draughty houses.

But dealing with potentially thousands of households means that effective data management can be an issue. Resources are often tight and many groups are mainly run by volunteers, which means it can be difficult to gather and manage all the information needed to access new pots of funding or energy-efficiency schemes.

A solution

In response to this problem, Bioregional teamed up with SpiralEdge, a web development company, and secured funding from Nesta to develop Community Energy Manager. This free online tool is designed to help community groups manage their data effectively.

For example, a group may want to record data from householders in its local area about household energy-efficiency measures. Community Energy Manager can be used to efficiently store, aggregate and map this data and identify trends, opportunities and key areas in their neighbourhood with common issues. This simplified output can then be used for groups to develop their own energy schemes or engage with larger schemes run by a local authority or energy company.

Community Energy Manager can also show the impact that community-based programmes are having, helping to demonstrate their effectiveness to investors, other community groups or for future funding bids.

Community Energy Manager is powered by EnergyMap, which allows open data such as neighbourhood-level gas and electricity consumption estimates and census information to be mapped. This helps people visualise and analyse energy use to better understand what local needs are and what measures might be most effective.

Next steps

There is an advanced trial version of the tool available and we need your help to test it. Community groups can use Community Energy Manager for free and it’s really easy to use, so if you’re a community energy group, do sign up or invite your members to join.

Community Energy Manager also has great potential to help deliver high-impact projects of varying scales on the ground. We are looking for councils, energy companies and other organisations that want to deliver energy efficiency, energy advice and renewable energy projects in communities to use our new tool. Contact Matt Wood (matt.wood@bioregional.com) for more information.

One Planet Affordable Living

Bioregional has joined forces with Transition by Design to develop a new approach to building truly affordable, truly sustainable housing.

A multiple crisis in housing

The UK is facing an affordable housing crisis, with the prospect of buying a first home increasingly out of reach, compounded by increasing in-work and fuel poverty.

Linked to this is a crisis of sustainability: buildings account for 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions, and yet our homes are among the leakiest in Europe. At the same time, most new homes aren’t designed to encourage more sustainable lifestyles.

Working in partnership with Oxford-based architecture and design collective Transition by Design, Bioregional is running a two-year action research project to develop a community-led approach to housing delivery that brings together One Planet Living – our framework to achieve true sustainability – and affordable tenure models.

The project, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, builds on existing research we carried out with Transition by Design to develop an alternative housing approach.

Creating a replicable approach to achieving affordable, sustainable housing

Over the course of the project, which started in the summer of 2016, we’ll be focusing on two different strands of work:

  • Learning from existing community-led housing projects to understand the variables and components within our approach and how they interact
  • Building alliances with organisations and networks to create the policy environment needed to support the delivery of alternative housing approaches.

At the end of the project, we aim to have a replicable approach to housing delivery that can be achieved at scale across the UK.

To learn why this is project is important to Bioregional and how you can be involved contact Emily Auckland.

Image Credit: One Brighton

WGV – White Gum Valley

WGV, led by land development agency LandCorp, is Australia’s second One Planet Community. Over 80 homes, from single houses to apartments and an artist’s cooperative, will create a vibrant community just 3km from the centre of Fremantle and 22km from Perth’s central business district.

Innovation and Community

WGV is a LandCorp Innovation through Demonstration project designed to create a community with a diverse range of sustainable housing types, living options and green space in an existing suburban area. The site was formally home to a school. The project includes single lots (already on sale) for self-build detached dwellings, maisonettes, apartment buildings, a demonstration housing project aimed at people in their twenties and thirties and an artist’s cooperative developed by Access Housing (Western Australia’s leading not for profit housing provider).

As the buildings will be delivered by private developers and individuals, the development requires a highly innovative approach to ensure sustainability standards are met. WGV’s One Planet Action Plan, drawn up with Bioregional, helped overcome this challenge by making the way that our zero carbon principle is applied relatively straightforward for all housing types. The plan also includes an integrated water strategy that aims to reduce potable water use by 70%.

WGV will have a pedestrian friendly layout with high-quality green space, centered on a revitalised stormwater sump that will become a biodiverse nature play area while retaining its stormwater function – a first for Perth.

Ongoing engagement and monitoring is always a challenge in new-build communities, but WGV has been selected as a CRC Low-Carbon Living Laboratory. This means that Curtin University in Perth will be monitoring energy and water consumption for four years and engaging with the residents on sustainable living. The project is also in Australia’s first One Planet City, Fremantle, and the city council will be supporting sustainable living through their community engagement programme. To date two of the developers for the apartment sites have been selected and have embraced the One Planet Living methodology, with a clear commitment to delivering on their part of the site’s overall One Planet Action Plan.

Highlights of the Action Plan

  • Free ‘Sustainable Upgrade’ package for single lots to ensure zero carbon buildings, provision of a rainwater tank and a mature deciduous tree for shading
  • Private public partnership funding for battery storage of solar-generated electricity being progressed for 50% of all dwellings
  • Multi-residential car parking to average less than one space per unit (very low in car-dependant Perth)
  • Water efficiency measures including a site-wide community borehole for irrigation, dual plumbing (one pipe of mains water, one of recycled water) to all houses, rainwater harvesting for toilets and irrigation and efficient appliances and fittings – targeting a 70% reduction in potable water consumption compared average Perth consumption
  • Tree canopy returned to 30% of site and 30% of trees in the public domain to have edible fruits
  • Resident engagement programme driven by the Low Carbon Living CRC programme and City of Fremantle
  • Attractive to a diverse range of people, including the creation of an artist’s cooperative, to create a vibrant community.

About the Partner

LandCorp is Western Australian (WA) Government’s land and development agency. They aim to realise the potential of land and infrastructure developments across the State by developing land for living and working to build WA’s social and economic prosperity.

One Planet Fremantle

The City of Fremantle (Perth, Australia) is the second One Planet City. With its comprehensive Action Plan, it aims to achieve a ‘One Planet’ lifestyle for the council, residents and business community by 2025.

An ongoing commitment to sustainable development

Awarded national recognition by Bioregional Australia for its application of the One Planet Living  in September 2014, Fremantle has been a leader in sustainability for many years.

With a commitment to innovation, efficiency and planet stewardship, the City identified the One Planet Living framework as the most effective tool to reduce its environmental impact, deliver a higher quality of life for residents and create new business opportunities.

Fremantle’s internal sustainability person was trained in using the framework and developed the City’s One Planet Strategy and One Planet Action Plan. With these in place, and a commitment to ongoing sustainable development across all of its operations, Fremantle met the criteria needed to achieve endorsement in October 2015.

The plan outlines the City’s targets across the ten One Planet Principles for their internal operations, their vision and aspirations as a whole and the actions to be taken. It will act as a living document to be reviewed annually so that it responds effectively to emerging changes.

Read Fremantle’s One Planet Annual Review for 2017, and check out Bioregional’s One Planet Progress Report 2017 and One Planet Progress Report 2016 for the City. Fremantle’s Action Plan, strategy and all other annual reviews are available on its One Planet webpage.

Ambitious targets

  • All new commercial, mixed use and multi-residential developments to be designed and constructed to achieve a rating of no less than 4 Star Green Star (Australian environmental construction accreditation)
  • Reduce council water consumption by 25% against a 2005 baseline by 2015 and 50% by 2020
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from council travel and haulage by at least 30% by 2020 (from 2010)
  • All product suppliers and service providers for the council will meet best practice for sustainable and ethical sourcing by 2020
  • The development a One Planet Community Champions group working towards the One Planet Principles on behalf of all residents.

About the partner

The City of Fremantle is a local government authority and city near Perth, Western Australia with approximately 30,000 residents. Priding themselves on responsible social, economic and environmental management, Fremantle became Western Australia’s first carbon neutral city in 2009. The City also has a strong focus on arts and culture and holds world-renowned festivals including Australia’s oldest festival, the Fremantle Festival. In 2015, it hosted the One Planet Fest-a-Con, a three-week celebration of local sustainable culture and achievements.

Zibi

This One Planet Community is a highly sustainable mixed-use development of some 2,500 homes, shops and office space in the heart of Canada’s capital city

A major urban regeneration project with high green ambitions

Zibi, which means ‘river’ in the Algonquin language, is a waterfront area located next to downtown Ottawa and its neighbouring city of Gatineau, overlooking both the Ottawa River and Chaudière Falls.

Redeveloped from industrial brownfield land once dominated by a paper mill, the 37-acre site will include commercial and retail properties, condominium developments, a hotel, waterfront parks and open spaces and a network of pedestrian and cycling paths.

Over three million square feet of development is planned on a site which covers two river islands between Ottawa and Gatineau and land in Gatineau.

Developers Windmill Development Group and Dream Unlimited Corp, working with Bioregional, have used the 10 principles of the One Planet Living framework to help guide sustainability and eco-friendly planning for Zibi. A sustainability action plan based on the principles was endorsed in May 2015.

The first residents are due to move in at the end of 2018. 

Highlights of Zibi’s action plan include:

  • A district-wide energy system, which aims to provide Zibi with zero carbon energy by 2020. It will use waste heat from a nearby paper mill
  • Working together with the Algonquin-Anishinabe community in ways that generate lasting and tangible benefits to present and future generations; creating a new model for how private developers engage with First Nations in Canada.
  • A target for 2% or less of the waste generated by the completed development to go to landfill
  • 90% reduction in transport greenhouse gas emissions compared to the regional average, thanks to prioritising walking, cycling and charging points for electric vehicles. This will be a highly walkable area, with every home within 500 metres of workplaces
  • Cutting water use by more than half compared to the regional average – water-using appliances will be highly-efficient and non-potable water will be used for irrigation of green spaces and toilet flushing
  • Radically increasing biodiversity (by 400%) above existing levels on the site
  • Housing opportunities for a diverse range of renters and buyers, and preferential allocation in some of the commercial space to local and socially responsible businesses
  • Bringing new life to up to seven heritage buildings on the site

An Advisory Council on Integrity has been set up by the Algonquin-Anishinabe, to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of the Zibi development on issues of First Nations culture, heritage and socio-economics.

About the developers

Windmill Development Group is a Canadian property developer dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by using a triple bottom line approach to its projects. This ensures that strong ecological, social and financial returns are achieved.

Dream Unlimited Corp., founded in 1994, is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with over 1,000 employees and $15.0 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. The scope of the business includes residential land development, asset management and management services for four Toronto Stock Exchange-listed funds, investments in and management of Canadian renewable energy infrastructure and commercial property ownership.