Hill launches first project to assess impact of zero carbon living

Hill, the UK top 20 housebuilder, is seeking a family to live in a sustainable concept home in Cambridge for one year in order to monitor the impact of zero carbon living on the family’s health and well-being. The aim is that the research collated will pave the way for the future of sustainable living and how it will fit in with the family life-style.

The house is the forerunner of Hill’s 208 unit Virido scheme, one of the largest sustainable developments in the UK. Built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, Virido will be delivered with the City Council in 2015 at Clay Farm and is currently being considered by the City’s planners. The development will be divided between council owned homes and private homes for sale.

The concept house and the properties at Virido will utilise the latest sustainable building methods including photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery system, triple glazing, high levels of insulation and green roofs. By monitoring the concept house and the case study family Hill will be able to gauge how the house performs and how the families use the technology and these results will be implemented in the design of the larger site.

Hill is partnering with Leeds Metropolitan University to recruit a student who will regularly interview the family about their experiences in the home, observe levels of well-being and conduct detailed questionnaires. The family will also communicate their own experiences through social and conventional media. The entire family will undergo health checks when they enter and leave the home to evaluate what impact, if any, carbon zero living has on individual health.

In order to immerse the family in a more sustainable lifestyle Hill will also pay for the family to use bicycles to get around the city. The progress of the study will be tracked in local publication the Cambridge News, which launched the competition to find the family. Readers will also be surveyed to see if the publicity around this study raises awareness of environmental issues in relation to housing.

Rob Hall, Deputy Managing Director at Hill, commented:

“This is one of the first projects of its kind in the UK to look in detail at the impact zero carbon living can have on health and well-being over a year and analyse how families use sustainable technology. Our aim is to find out how the average family can easily use sustainable technology and adopt a lifestyle which minimises their daily impact on the environment.”

“Virido will be yet another string to Cambridge’s bow in terms of innovation and, as the UK’s growing tech-epicentre, we could think of no better place to launch this project and to construct one of the largest carbon zero developments that the UK has seen.”

For further information on the project visit www.be-zero.co.uk or www.hill.co.uk.