Guernsey Housing Association work on new Energy efficient homes – Steve Williams

April 6th, 2010 by Steve

For anyone interested the text below sets out how we approached investigating and setting a brief for our new energy efficient homes that are being completed at Victoria Avenue.  To date, people have moved into 36 properties with the last 22 homes completing in May.  I prepared the script below for the States Energy Policy group to which I did a short presentation recently.

I would like to highlight that we have been strongly supported by the States Housing Dept staff and Board to provide these new energy efficient homes with encouragement and grant funding.  GHA funds its new homes with one third States Housing grant and/ or land, and two thirds private finance (a Bank loan).

Energy efficient homes at Sir John Leale Avenue development, Victoria Avenue, St Sampson

Guernsey Housing Association requested by States Housing Department to provide higher energy efficiency standards than current Building Regulations.

We consulted the Building Research Establishment, in England, and we assessed:

–       High insulation (walls, windows, doors)

–       Air tightness, & heat recovery system

–       Renewables (solar, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, wind, photo voltaic)

–       Pay back periods

–       Water conservation

–       Community heating systems

–       Low energy appliances (lighting, white goods)

The aim at Victoria Avenue (58 new homes) was to reduce residents fuel costs by at least 50%.

We specified –    High insulation through Structurally Insulated Panels (Kingspan, through Norman Piette), air tightness of 2 (B.Reg is 10), mechanical ventilation heat recovery (85% efficient), solar panels providing hot water and heating through an Ecostor (DHS provided), triple glazed windows & doors (no letter flap).

–       First 17 households moved in during November 2009.  Fuel bills to date look low, between £8 and £10 a week.  This is one of the coldest periods and there will be limited benefit from the solar panels.

–       Our calculations show that residents should be saving annually at least 60% of the equivalent fuel cost of a standard Building Regulations new property.

–       We provided £25 Owl energy use monitors so that residents can see their instant energy use.

The Code for Sustainable Homes is used in England.  We think our homes are between Code Level 3 and 4 on energy use.  We intend to get a SAP test, to assess their exact energy efficiency.

We have not calculated emissions reduction, but inevitably they will be much lower than normal with such low energy use.

We are using the same specification on 2 new projects, 15 homes at Mont Arrive and 55 new homes at the Grand Bouet.  We have specifying an air tightness of 3, and are now using a high performance double glazed window on the grounds of cost and benefit.

Our principal driver is to reduce residents fuel costs but in turn it reduces environmental impact long term.  Incorporated into new homes it is much cheaper than retro-fitting later.  Our residents are lower income earners hence the lower fuel copsts are particularly beneficial.

We provide a water butt with every new home.

The use of SIP’s in the construction reduces waste on the construction site, and hence less tipping.

We have the permission of 5 our of our new residents to monitor their fuel costs which we will doing year round.

A further benefit is that we have used local companies to source materials:

DHS for solar panels, heat recovery system, and Ecostor boiler

Norman Piette – Kingspan Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPS) and local companies to fit them (Priaulx West plumbing, Rihoys own carpenters fitting the SIP’s).  This has spread the word and local skills.

I hope you find this useful.

Steve Williams

Guernsey Housing Association

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