Housing built on council-owned land in Herefordshire set to be affordable and designed to net zero carbon standards

To address the shortage of housing to meet the needs of local communities, plans are being progressed by Herefordshire Council to build homes in the county that are not only affordable but also designed to net zero carbon standards.

The Herefordshire Future Homes Report sets out the environmental building design standards that will govern future housing developments on council-owned land and council retrofit schemes across the county.

Homes account for over 26% of carbon emissions (RIBA 2020). Herefordshire is amongst the first nationally to set such high environmental standards for housing on council-owned land, which reflects the council’s commitment to tackling climate change. The homes will be designed in a way that minimises energy use, have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, and are set in neighbourhoods with open spaces to enjoy and sustainable transport options.

Herefordshire Future Homes will have:

  • Excellent thermal insulation, so heating costs are greatly reduced
  • Carefully designed triple-glazed windows, benefitting from useful winter sunshine (solar heat gains), while avoiding summer overheating.
  • No gas boilers (which use polluting fossil fuels), but electric heat pumps for heating and hot water, which are highly efficient
  • Solar panels, generating green electricity
  • Heat recovery ventilation (MVHR), avoiding cold window draughts, saving energy and filtering the incoming air helping people with asthma, hay fever etc.

Cllr Ange Tyler, Cabinet member for Housing, regulatory services, and community safety, said:

“Herefordshire Council is a local authority leader in tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency. We are committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and these new building design standards will make a significant contribution to this.

“A key element of the standards is ‘Passivhaus Plus’, which certifies that homes generate as much renewable energy as they use, through a combination of energy efficiency measures and forms of renewable energy generation and storage, such as solar panels. Not only is this good for the environment, it also increases the value of a house, meaning a greater return on investment for the council, for developers, and for homeowners.

“Good design and high levels of energy efficiency from the council will also provide a blueprint to other developers in Herefordshire, helping to spread the best possible practice.”

Cllr Ellie Chowns, Cabinet member for environment and economy, said:

“The Herefordshire Future Homes standard is a great example of a triple-win policy – it’s good for people, the planet, and the economy!  These new homes will be warm, cosy and cheap to live in; they’re good for the climate and for nature; and they will create new high-skill construction jobs.  At a time when we’re worrying about climate change and about increasing fuel bills, these council houses are showing what all new homes could and should be like.”

To find out more please see the Herefordshire Future Homes report.

Published: 12th November 2021