When Blyth Valley Borough Council commissioned the design and construction of two dwellings in Twentieth Avenue, the brief to the developer was to start from a clean sheet of paper and design low energy homes to Code Level 3 for the Code of Sustainable Homes (CSH) which would be attractive to the prospective residents.
Being an infill site within an existing housing estate, it was also important that the new homes blended with the existing development.
The finished homes not only created a long waiting list of prospective tenants but the performance exceeded CSH Level 3 and would comfortably achieve CSH Level 4 with the addition of a photo voltaic panel.
The contractor, South Close Developments Ltd, opted for developing a specification based on a high performance building fabric which would minimise energy losses and maintain reliable performance levels for the life of the building.
Use of BecoWallform for the insulated structure, coupled with solid ground and first floors and a warm roof, minimised energy losses and consequently reduced the size of the heating system for each dwelling.
Energy loss through the walls using the Wallform 313 system was only 0.18 W/m²K. The buildings tested for air tightness at 1.9 m³/hr, enabling the roof-mounted solar panels to provide hot water and contribute to the underfloor heating.
Now within the management of the new Homes for Northumberland, the design of these prototype dwellings may be further developed and revised to meet the varying requirements of different locations and communities in the region.