Bedminster’s newest ‘zero carbon’ homes

June 28 2019
Bedminster’s newest ‘zero carbon’ homes

Three super low-energy homes have been unveiled in Bedminster and the organisation behind the development hopes that it will be a ‘model for future social housing in Bristol’.

The timber frame homes in Philips Street were unveiled by Somewhere Cooperative Housing Association on June 6, and members of the public were invited to a special talk and a tour around the properties.

Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Paul Smith, also attended and cut the ribbon to the new development, launched in the year that the tenant-run co-op celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The three properties are now rented by co-op members – rent is affordable with low running costs. A 10-kW solar roof will power the homes and an air-sourced heat pump will provide hot water.

With the help of its residents, the development was designed by architect Taus Larsen, who specialises in low-energy housing, and built by Earthwise Construction. 

It has taken five years for the development to come to fruition, with work starting on the site last year.

The three residents will be sharing a communal bike store, laundry room, visitor’s bedroom and the heating and ventilation system.

The development adjoins 101 Philip Street, which, during the 1980s, received an eco-makeover to create ‘The Future City Home’ – a demonstration home run by the co-op that has since become the Centre for Sustainable Energy.

At the launch event, Trevor Houghton, a tenant of one of the new homes, said: “These homes have been a long-time in gestation – it’s remarkable to be standing here after all this time.”

Another tenant, Marian Connolly, said: “This is a demonstration of ordinary people working together to create truly affordable, decent homes for themselves.

“We have been involved in design and management of the project and even done some of the unskilled building work.

“This development is a model for the future of social housing in Bristol; housing that is low rent, cheap to run and controlled by the tenants.”

Taus commented: “By designing and building in such a way we have virtually eliminated the need for space heating to keep the homes comfortable. The PV roof should generate enough green electricity over the course of the year – meaning the building should effectively run as ‘zero carbon’.

“This not only contributes to the necessary decarbonising of our communities, but also provides energy security and very low energy bills for the residents.”

The tenants thanked Cllr Paul Smith, who has supported the co-op with securing a low-cost lease to build the homes.

The development has been financed through the co-op’s own reserves and a mortgage from Triodos Bank.

Somewhere Housing Coop has 14 housing units in South Bristol, providing homes for over 20 members, making it the oldest and largest housing co-op in Bristol.

Photo: Council cabinet member for housing Cllr Paul Smith cutting the ribbon to the new eco-homes, pictured with the property's new tenants, architect Taus Larsen and Ben East from Earthwise Construction