A British building contractor said it has completed the last 25 homes built from concrete slabs in one of the country’s largest sustainable housing development projects to date.
The homes are built using Biond, a system of pre-formed panels developed by Greencore Construction, an old green construction company in the UK.
Nine smaller homes and 16 larger homes in the development, Springfield Meadows in Southmore, Oxfordshire, have all been sold and occupied, according to Greencore. The homes range in size from 102 sq m to 383 sq m, with prices ranging from £550,000 to £1.3 million (about €630,000/$630,000 to €1.5 million/$1.5 million).
Springfield Meadows is developed with private funds and bank financing by Triodos Bank UK.
Sustainability is at its core
“We are very proud to build what we believe are the most sustainable homes in the country,” said James Pritchett, Director of Communications at Greencore Construction. “Springfield Meadows is a typical example of building beautiful homes with sustainability at its core.”
Homes meet performance under Passivhaus, a voluntary standard for buildings that require little energy to heat and cool, and have been certified under One Planet Living, an international initiative that develops building projects that generate more energy than they use and sequester more carbon than they emit.
New York-based WSP Engineering Services Consultants validated the project based on carbon footprint criteria by evaluating a single 300-square-meter home. WSP said the carbon footprint of a 100-square-meter home is -27.8 tons (better than carbon neutral) compared to +120 tons for a conventionally built house of the same size.
Greencore said some homes have storage batteries, and residents of the project could export excess power to the grid in the future. Sensors and monitors are deployed to record the sustainability performance of homes.
Greencore’s hemp and lime boards, which provide approximately four times the thermal inertia of mineral wool boards, contain hemp, lime, wood fiber and a proprietary material. The standard board is 2.4 x 2.6 m thick and 30 cm thick.
The combination of hemp wall panels and triple glazed windows provides high acoustic performance. The builder used sustainably sourced timber for framing, and low cement-based concrete for the foundations of the structures.
By engineering hemp panels and other essential structural parts off-site, buildings can be made weatherproof in a few days and completed within six months, according to Greencore. This means that projects can be kept on schedule and on budget.
Greencore extracts hemp from the East Yorkshire Hemp, which grows and processes up to 500 acres of cannabis annually, according to its website.
While all homes in Springfield Meadows include private gardens, the extensive development, designed to maximize biodiversity, also features shared outdoor spaces including a wildflower meadow, orchard, and pond designed in partnership with Berks, Bucks, and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), which will Monitors wildlife and biodiversity development over the next five years. All Springfield Meadows homeowners were given a free BBOWT membership when they moved into development.
Homes have solar collectors on the all-electric project, which includes an on-site electric car club and two Nissan Leafs that residents can rent.
“If we are to reach the UK’s goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 2050, we urgently need our new homes to have the highest standards of energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Paul Nicholl, regional team manager at Triodos Bank. “By supporting projects like Springfield Meadows, we help provide people with quality homes that focus on the community, while also working to decarbonize the housing sector.”
The Springfield Meadows project has received a number of awards, including the OxProp Best Residential Housing Development 2021 and the Property Development of the Year Awards 2021 Property Investor Awards.
Greencore . leads Ian PritchettManaging Director, with over 30 years of experience in historic building repair and eco-friendly construction. The company began building hemp-based buildings in 2014 and provided the panels used on the iconic Marks & Spencer Cheshire Oaks project, an early example of hemp being used in a large-scale project.