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Bicester homes chosen for building performance evaluation study

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Bicester homes chosen for building performance evaluation study

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Published by rtownsend for Sanctuary Housing Association in Housing and also in Communities, Environment

A property from Bryan House A property from Bryan House

Eco homes in Bicester are to be scrutinised in a Government-funded study which could change the way properties are built.

Sanctuary Green Technologies, part of leading UK housing provider Sanctuary Group, has secured £50,000 funding to carry out a six-month study on the actual performance of the energy efficient features on two properties at the Bryan House development on Chapel Street.

The properties, a three and a four-bedroom house, are built to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and incorporate features including solar photovoltaic panels, air source heat pumps, triple glazing and high levels of insulation.

Money for the research was awarded to Sanctuary and Oxford Brookes University through the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) Programme, an £8 million scheme to help identify the most effective features to make homes more energy efficient and   understand the performance of different building types.

Sanctuary is working in partnership with the Low Carbon Building Group of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) at Oxford Brookes University to monitor the energy and environmental performance of the buildings. Residents will play a key role in the programme, providing feedback on the use of the features and the living conditions they create.

The two homes in the study are part of a scheme of 23 properties which have been developed by Sanctuary Group in partnership with Cherwell District Council and contractors Mansell.

The exemplar sustainable housing scheme forms part of the wider Eco Bicester initiative, with all properties incorporating both modern and traditional materials in the design which is sympathetic with its conservation area location.

The study comes as Britain strives to meet tough targets to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and ensure all homes built from 2016 onwards are ‘zero carbon’.

Sanctuary plans to use the research results to ensure its homes are constructed to the highest eco standards as it embarks on a multi-million pound housing development plan.

Over the next three and a half years, the Group is to construct over 5,000 homes across the country, including in excess of 100 in Oxfordshire.

Sophie Atkinson, head of community investment and sustainability for Sanctuary Group, said: “As a leading housing provider, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and are committed to improving the condition of our housing stock to help reduce carbon emissions.

“This project will allow us to identify the most effective energy-saving technologies which can be used in new developments and to deliver improvements to our homes across the country.

“These energy efficiency improvements will ensure our housing stock is even more sustainable and will also help minimise fuel bills for our residents which will prevent them from falling into fuel poverty.”

Professor Rajat Gupta, director of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development and the Low Carbon Building Group at Oxford Brookes University, added: “We are delighted to work with Sanctuary on this project which will monitor and evaluate the actual performance of two sustainable homes at the Bryan House development, both from a technical and residents’ perspective.

“This work builds strongly on our ongoing research on building performance evaluation and post-occupancy feedback. The learning from the study will help Sanctuary and the housing sector as a whole to deliver more efficient, better performing dwellings.”

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