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Oldham pioneers green homes for region

Friday 16th March 2012
Contour Homes, part of the Symphony Housing Group, recently laid the first bricks for what will be some of the region's 'greenest' homes on the St Mary's development in Oldham.

Contour Homes is developing 93 new homes on the 2.2 hectare flagship site and four homes will be built to the 'Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6', the highest level of sustainable construction which offers many benefits to residents and the environment.

In addition, Contour Homes is also developing two Passivhaus properties.

Louise Marsden, Project Coordinator at Contour Homes, said: "Developed in Germany in the early 1990's, the Passivhaus standard requires homes to be constructed using extremely thermally efficient building fabrics. This element, coupled with the excellent air-tightness and mechanical ventilation demanded by Passivhaus reduces the need for a traditional central heating system.

"The eventual tenants will benefit from considerably reduced heating bills, saving them hundreds of pounds a year."

Bramall Construction, part of the Keepmoat Group, is developing the homes on St Mary's, and Area Director Steve Parrington said the development of the green homes has presented opportunities for the site team to demonstrate their green credentials:

"Thanks to this flagship project, our team is building on Bramall's existing track record of incorporating renewable technologies into the build programme to deliver homes to Levels 3 and 6 (the 'zero carbon standard') of the Code for Sustainable Homes, as well as two Passivhaus properties.

"Bramall is delighted to be working with Contour Homes at St Mary's to deliver these sustainable homes to help tenants save energy and reduce their fuel bills, which helps to tackle fuel poverty."

St Mary's was previously home to deck access flats which were demolished over ten years ago. After several failed attempts to bring the site back to life, this ambitious proposal has been fully supported by Oldham Council which is particularly pleased to be piloting the Passivhaus properties.

Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet Member for Housing, Transport and Regeneration, said: "This project will provide more than 90 new homes, built to the highest specification and green standards. Once finished the houses will not only benefit the people living in them but also make a positive impact on the area.

"The building work has provided seven residents with employment and provided a boost to local firms who are connected with the construction industry.

"Job creation and the regeneration of Oldham are priorities for the Council and a strong local construction industry is a cornerstone of this."

It is anticipated that the new homes will be ready for occupation in October this year and the partners involved want to ensure that their energy efficiency is monitored for several years to come.

"This is a really important project for the region," said Louise Marsden.

"It has provided the partners with an excellent opportunity to explore more sustainable construction methods helping limit the effects of climate change for future generations. Our new tenants will be pioneers in that process."
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