BRE announces pilot scheme with regional developer to test net zero homes

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has announced a pilot scheme in partnership with regional residential developer, Croudace Homes, to evaluate the environmental and societal impact of homes, ahead of the Future Homes Standard.

The scheme will see Croudace design and construct 10 ‘net zero ready’ properties on its strategic site at Willowbrook Park in Didcot.

These new properties will be developed with a fabric-first approach and fitted with modern technologies including air source heat pumps and underfloor heating, making them suited to the Future Homes Standard – a proposed standard that will require new build homes built from 2025 to be future-proofed with high levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heating. The new homes will be part of a new community being developed by Croudace.

Once the homes are sold, and with the consent of the new owners, BRE will provide post-occupancy evaluation support to monitor the buildings’ performance in use, covering factors such as their internal environment and energy consumption and their effect on the residents’ lifestyles.

The build completion is scheduled for September 2022, with BRE’s post-occupancy evaluation support to commence for up to 18 months once the legal completion has been approved.

The partnership between BRE and Croudace will enable both bodies to determine how to meet current challenges without compromising the quality of new housing, and customer expectations and needs.

Adrian Watts, MD at Croudace Homes, commented: “With the introduction of the Future Homes Standard in 2025, Croudace is committed to building new homes that are future-proofed with low-carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency.”

Decarbonising the UK’s housing stock has a pivotal role to play in the country’s wider drive to net zero, and schemes that enable the housebuilding sector to better understand today’s built environment challenges, such as energy efficiency and carbon consumption, and how to address these issues effectively will be crucial in this regard.

Colin Sinclair, associate director, strategic advisory at BRE, said: “The Future Homes Standard is fast approaching and decarbonisation is the biggest challenge facing the housebuilding industry in a generation. Schemes like the one we are running with Croudace Homes will be paramount to tackling this challenge and building homes that are fit for the future.

“BRE’s expertise and research in the built environment will be essential in the evaluation phase of the project, and we are delighted to be working with Croudace to evaluate a selection of net-zero ready homes – the likes of which could make up the bulk of the UK’s housing stock over the long term.”


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