Brentwood Borough Council starts zero carbon scheme

By Chris Seeley · 10 March 2021

Brentwood Borough Council recently submitted planning application for an innovative development of 61 zero carbon homes, a fantastic achievement by the team including ARK Director, Ian Winslet delivering this ambitious programme.

We provided site assessment tools developed with the LGA and engaged with project partners Norse and Barton Wilmore to complete master planning, resident consultation, and to complete and submit planning application within a short six-month timescale.

The scheme is being delivered as “Zero Carbon in use” taking a ‘fabric first’ approach ensuring all energy is provided from renewable or low carbon sources, reducing energy consumption significantly (energy bills could be as low as £50-£100 per year). The scheme utilises ground source heat pumps to provide heating and captures heat from wastewater to be recycled back into energy. The small amount of energy consumed by homes will be offset by PV panels (all houses will be orientated to maximise gains from solar energy).

Provision of environmental infrastructure is integral to the development including green spaces and areas for residents to congregate, children’s play areas and allotments for residents to grow food to contribute to health and wellbeing.  The design of the buildings will improve air quality and health outcomes for residents with chronic conditions such as asthma.

The submission is part of the wider Small Sites Affordable Housing Programme to develop 185 new homes on council owned land which includes developing a “Landlord offer”. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive resident engagement process to engage, on a 1 to 1 basis, with all residents on estate to establish their future desires.

As well as delivering affordable homes, we will be measuring the wider impact that people living in the homes will have on their lives including financial, employment and health and wellbeing.

Ian Winslet, Director at ARK Consultancy said “We are incredibly proud to be a part of the team delivering the ambitious Affordable Housing Programme for Brentwood Borough Council.

In just under six months, we have worked with the Council and our partners to complete a masterplanning process, undertook resident consultation and submitted a planning application to deliver 61 innovative zero carbon homes.

We look forward to receiving a positive outcome from the planning process and supporting the council to deliver and learn from the developments so that all new homes have a really positive impact on the health, wellbeing and finances of the residents who live in them”.

Useful information

  • Of the total benefits associated with building retrofit programmes in Europe, 16–50% are in the form of improved health, thermal comfort, living conditions and productivity of residents, especially for residents of relatively lower socio-economic standing.
  • Up to 3 billion people rely on open fires for heating, cooking, and lighting, leading to 4 million deaths from indoor air pollution. When health benefits are considered, the benefits of adopting solar lighting and clean cook stoves in cities can be worth up to 60 times the investment needs.
  • Poor heating and ventilation contribute to chronic ill health. While the direct savings on energy bills are sufficient to generate an attractive return on investment, the monetised health benefits associated with improving indoor environmental quality can be more than 10 times the value of energy savings.
  • Poor heating and cooling systems, inadequate ventilation, and the use of certain building materials are contributing factors, to heat and cold stress, respiratory diseases, allergies, asthma, mental health problems, and an increased morbidity.
  • It is estimated that the cost of poor housing to the NHS in England is at least £1.4bn a year. Poor-quality homes – those that are in physical disrepair, are cold and damp, inaccessible, or not of appropriate size for the residents – are associated with negative health outcomes, including cardiovascular and respiratory conditions and a decline in general physical and mental health. The ‘home’ is more than the four walls of the house. The area we live in, stability of tenure and the affordability of housing have also been found to have a significant impact on health and wellbeing.

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