18 October 2022
The first residents are preparing to move into smart homes on a pioneering net zero carbon-emitting housing development in Cumbria.
Genesis Homes' EcoGen pilot project is constructing 16 homes fully powered by renewable energy sources and managed by smart technology.
Work on the homes in the village of Calthwaite as part of the Pennine View development is close to completion and the first EcoGen homeowners are preparing to move in by the end of October.
Nicky Gordon, managing director of Genesis Homes, said: “Thousands of hours of research, development, meetings and execution have gone into making the EcoGen project a reality. This is not tokenism - this is Genesis Homes going all out to create one of the UK’s most advanced and sustainable net zero living housing developments.
“We won’t stop here; this is a springboard for future development in this area for Genesis Homes and it was a pleasure to invite our specially selected guests ahead of the first families moving in.
“The first official completion on our EcoGen site comes at a time when energy costs and the climate crisis are front and centre of everyone’s minds.
“Receiving first-hand feedback about the homes and seeing people’s positive reactions has demonstrated to the entire team that this project will have a wide ranging impact on sustainable housing in the UK.”
Each property includes:
- Solar photovoltaic panels on the roof that will obtain energy from daylight to power the home
- A solar assisted heat pump, powered by a thermodynamic panel, which provides hot water storage for the dwelling
- A small, powerful battery unit that will be charged predominantly from the electricity grid, using 100% green tariff energy, during off-peak, low-cost hours
- Infrared heating panels which convert electricity into radiant heating will be installed in each room
- Electric vehicle charging points to encourage home buyers to switch to more environmentally friendly modes of transport
- A smart home system managed through an integrated app which allows the management of all parts of the house technology, from managing the multiple thermostats, to battery and energy usage, and scheduling of vehicle charging
Emico brought together the partners providing the different smart technology components to the home, and said it was thrilled to be part of such a nationally significant project.
John Currie, the company’s business director for the energy sector, said: “Working with Genesis Homes, this project presented an opportunity to use our expertise in electrical energy fields to reshape the way developers build their houses in a sustainable way and give homeowners a more sustainable way of living without compromising the way they live.
“It has been really refreshing to work with somebody as committed as Genesis Homes to providing energy efficient homes on a larger scale rather than just one or two trial homes as has been more common with housebuilders.
“It has been a really exciting project to work on and the positive reactions from people seeing how this home will work for the first time hasn’t surprised me in the slightest.”
Four of the 16 homes have been designated as affordable housing to help members of the local community get on the property ladder.
Eden District Council provided funding to ensure these homes would have the same sustainability levels as the other properties on the development.
The council’s housing and health portfolio holder, Councillor Judith Derbyshire, said: “The Eden Valley has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty due to it being rural, having older properties and an aging population, so anything that can be done to tackle this is a good thing.
“This project is particularly pleasing as it is making sure that newer properties are up to a good standard, energy bills aren’t as much as before and it’s helping to save the planet.”