£12m green estate to set high standards in zero carbon living

WORK is set to begin in Yorkshire on one of the country's most planet-friendly housing estates.

The 91-home Park Dale estate in Airedale, Castleford, West Yorkshire, will be one of the UK's largest "zero carbon" social housing developments.

Wakefield Council has granted permission for the development and work is due to start on site in less than two weeks, with a completion date set for the back end of next year.

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Tenants will be sent on a training course to give them tips on living a "greener" existence. Fewer radiators and restricted water flows from taps – designed to reduce water wastage – will take some getting used to.

A total of 12m is being spent on the 91 homes for social housing provider Wakefield District Housing, which operates the district's large stock of former council houses.

Part-funded by the Homes and Community Agency, each one of the 91 homes

will use a combination of energy saving features that will make the new estate one of the biggest "zero carbon" or "Code 6" social housing schemes in the country. Code 6 refers to the highest level of reduced carbon emissions that a home can achieve under the Government's Code for Sustainable Homes.

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An average of 130,000 is being spent on creating each home, which is considered to be a modest sum for a Code 6 home.

Every one of the two-, three- and four-bedroom homes will have a range of systems designed to save energy.

These will include photo- voltaic panels on roofs which convert light into electricity for everyday use.

It is expected to save the average householder several hundred pounds every year and landlord Wakefield District Housing will sell unused electricity to the National Grid.

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Water from showers and baths will be reused for toilet flushing.

The homes are being designed to be as close as possible to air tight, with a special ventilation system to expel "dirty air"

The windows will be triple glazed, with doors and walls made from the best in thermally-efficient materials.

Homes in the new neighbourhood will draw heat from its own "Eco

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Centre" – a biomass heating system that will be powered by renewable wood pellets produced in Yorkshire.

Residents of the scheme and in the local area will be invited to learn how to make these savings through sessions held at the specially designed "Eco Centre" which forms part of the scheme.

Ashley Jones, design and build co-ordinator at building contractor Keepmoat said: "The design has been carefully thought out to make the properties as energy efficient as possible. We're very proud that the scheme has got the go ahead and look forward to seeing work progress on site."

He said the homes were designed to be lived in "from cradle to the grave" and were built with joists that could be removed to enable a disabled lift to be easily installed. Each home will also include an office.

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Helen Wordsworth, of Wakefield District Housing, said: "Mainstreaming Code 6 like this means we can generate employment opportunities for our communities whilst reducing the costs of living for our tenants."

Coun Denise Jeffrey, of Wakefield Council, said: "The Park Dale development project represents an important step change in the provision of affordable housing.

"It demonstrates the way forward for large scale zero-carbon housing and will be the largest traditional eco-housing development in the country.

"Park Dale will show how green living can be made easily accessible to the public, enabling everyone to do their bit for the environment."