Warwickshire Rural Housing Association’s (WRHA) groundbreaking development of ultra-low energy homes is now letting residents reap the rewards one year on.
In September 2018, HRH The Princess Royal (pictured above) officially opened Keyte Gardens, Warwickshire’s first Passivhaus development of affordable homes. The aim was to achieve space heating costs, which are 70% less than in standard house construction by using cutting edge technology and innovative eco features.
WRHA worked with heat pump manufacturer, Mitsubishi Electric to provide the 14 properties with the latest renewable air source heat pumps to fuel their heating and hot water, in place of a traditional boiler. And 12 months on, the figures speak for themselves.
At a time when money is tight for most people post-Christmas, Harry and Maureen Stevenson have been told that their energy payments can be substantially reduced thanks to the renewable heating technology in their two-bedroom bungalow.
“We’ve been surprised our heating bills have been so low,” says retired Maureen. “And we’ve now been told by our energy supplier that we can reduce our direct debit payments to £36 a month. When we were renting a two-bedroom house previously, we were paying £69 a month, so it’s a big saving.
“The bungalow stays lovely and warm during the day and night and we turn the heating right down. We manage as we are but it definitely helps to save money as it means you can have a little holiday or something.”
WRHA used the most up-to-date renewable technology, which involved siting a small air source heat pump outside each property instead of a large traditional boiler inside the property. This has helped to ensure running costs are kept to a minimum for residents, and also reduced the carbon footprint of the development as no pipelines needed to be laid to supply gas or oil to the properties.
Developed in Japan, the Ecodan QUHZ system has been designed specifically to address the heating needs of new-build homes, which have good insulation and need much less heating, but still require hot water whenever the homeowner needs it.
The heat pump works by extracting heat energy from the external air and upgrading it to heat up hot water for the homes. This can then be fed through the taps inside the property or used to heat radiators for domestic heating.
In addition to the air source heat pumps, the homes at Keyte Gardens also have perfect North – South orientation for maximum solar gain during the winter months, have superior levels of insulation and air tightness, and include innovative features such as a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system to provide constant filtered fresh air and recessed and shaded tripled glazed windows to reduce overheating during the summer.
Warwickshire Rural Housing Association Company Secretary, Richard Mugglestone, commented: “Our vision was that Keyte Gardens would bring ultra low energy affordable homes to local people, helping to tackle fuel poverty and protect our climate. We are delighted that residents are now reaping the benefits of these cutting edge homes.”