Energy-efficient new council houses to set new low carbon standards

A development of 16 new council houses featuring solar panels with battery storage, gas-free heating and a range of energy efficiency measures will showcase the future of low carbon housing.

Barnsley Council’s Cabinet has approved the development of 16 new houses at Billingley View, Bolton-upon-Dearne, as a pilot scheme for the new Barnsley Low Carbon Standard. The homes will be council-owned, managed by Berneslai Homes, and let to applicants from the council’s housing register.

The ten two-bedroom and six three-bedroom semi-detached homes have been designed to be highly energy efficient with fossil fuel-free heating and hot water. This supports the council’s Zero 40 and Zero 45 ambitions for the council to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, and for the whole borough to achieve net-zero by 2045.

The properties will include:

  • Solar PV electricity generation with battery back-up
  • Air source heat pumps for low carbon heating
  • Triple glazed windows
  • Wider wall cavities to allow extra insulation
  • Gigabit capable, full fibre broadband to every property

This scheme will set the blueprint for the standard of energy-efficient housing to be delivered by the council in future. It will also set an important precedent for housebuilding across the borough.

The council’s Housing Strategy and Growth Team have worked with the Leeds Sustainability Institute (LSI), part of Leeds Beckett University, in the design of the scheme. Experts from LSI will also help support the construction process to make sure the energy-efficient aspects of the properties are installed to the specification.

They will also complete testing and monitoring after completion to evaluate the energy efficiency of the properties to help shape future projects. Support will also be available to make sure tenants understand how to use the new technology in their homes. Dr Martin Fletcher from the LSI said: “We are excited to be involved with such an innovative housing scheme that sets high-efficiency targets alongside the practical challenges of sustainable construction.

“We cannot delay tackling the climate emergency and it’s great to see Barnsley Council are leading the way in this. Our involvement throughout the whole process, from design through to occupation, will ensure that the aspirations of the development are met and help to improve developments in the future.”

Cllr Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “This exciting project will provide affordable, well designed, spacious and secure homes which will help reduce fuel poverty and provide a shining example of the sort of homes we want for Barnsley.

“The government says we must provide more than 21,500 new homes by 2033, and we want to achieve this through sustainable, quality housing, so you can live in the right house for you.

“We know there is a demand for affordable housing in this area, and these high-quality new homes will directly contribute to the council’s 2030 vision of Barnsley as the Place of Possibilities, and its themes of Growing Barnsley, Healthy Barnsley and Sustainable Barnsley through providing safe, warm and sustainable homes.”

Torpoint Ltd has been appointed as the contractor following a tendering process and construction is due to start in February. Torpoint have also committed to delivering social value benefits including providing local employment, working with young people not in education, employment, or training, and signing up to the council’s Employer Promise initiative which supports the More and Better Jobs Plan.

Joshua Paterson, Director at Torpoint Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working with Barnsley Council to create a shining example of new low carbon emissions housing, and preparing for the future of construction.”

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