Innovative Passivhaus social housing development completes in Shropshire

A £2m exemplar Passivhaus residential scheme has now been handed over to residents in Shropshire.

A mix of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom homes have been handed over in Callaughtons Ash, Much Wenlock. These are comprised of 2 shared ownership and 10 homes for social rental. The highly sustainable development is an exemplar model for unlocking small green land sites and improving the quality of family living in rural areas of the West Midlands.

The Client, South Shropshire Housing Association’s commitment to sustainability, quality and eradicating fuel poverty for housing association residents was the driving force in commissioning this future-proofing Passivhaus scheme.

The Passivhaus standard is the most rigorous performance standard in Europe. Applied to housing; the fabric first approach requires very little primary energy to run. The standard offers residence a healthy and comfortable lifestyle with operational costs minimised to as little as under £100 per annum for average housing types. This is particularly advantageous and in line with the housing association’s values of affordable accommodation.

Architects, Architype, who are based in neighbouring Herefordshire and are well known for their promotion of sustainable architecture, have taken a holistic approach to the development. Re-thinking how people use domestic space in modern day families, Architype have reorganised the typical approach to standard home types.

Investigating the local vernaculars of Shropshire, the development aims to sit comfortably in its rural surroundings, complimented by a natural palette of UK sourced materials. This includes clay roof tiles that have been quarried and made within 25 miles of the site, lime render provided by local company Lime Green and UK grown thermally modified hardwood cladding, promoting the Housing Associations aims for a cohesive circular economy in Shropshire.

Design process began in 2015, with representatives sitting on a project board to help decide location, layout and type of construction. With the guidance of SSHA’s community led building consultancy, Marches Community Land Trust Services (CLTs), and adhering to the Much Wenlock Community Plan, representatives learned about construction methods, decided on landscaping and visited the local timber frame manufacturer to see the house frames in construction.

Children from Much Wenlock Primary School have also been involved by taking part in a site safety poster competition and making a visit to the site to learn about Passivhaus principles.

Christine Duggan, Director of Housing and Communities for Connexus, of which SSHA is a part of said;

“We have strived to be innovators in the affordable housing sector, whilst taking the concerns of our residents with regards to fuel poverty and other running cots in to consideration. We are delighted to welcome our new tenants to their new homes, and hope they will be happy in them for the years to come.”

David Turner, Shropshire Councillor for the Much Wenlock Division, speaking about Much Wenlock Neighbourhood Plan said;

“It was very clear from all the consultations that there was a strong need for affordable housing for local people. After further consultations supported by the Town Council, SSHA have built this small development of quality properties. They will, for the first in Much Wenlock, provide affordable homes for people with a local connection.”

Associate and Project Architect, Paul Neep said;

“It has been a great experience working with South Shropshire Housing Association and the local delivery team SJ Roberts on their first Passivhaus project. They truly embraced the standard and have proven that Passivhaus is easily achievable when you collaborate. We are delighted at the reaction of the tenants and look forward to seeing how well the homes are performing through occupation.”

Mark Philips, Director of SJ Roberts said;

“I would like to add that it’s been a pleasure to be working alongside the design team headed by Architype in a new form of building. Definitely the way forward in modern day building which sits right in conserving energy in our ever changing world.”