Eco-homes built in a Yorkshire factory greenest houses ever built in UK

Posted on 15 Jul 2020 by Jonny Williamson

Modular housing company ilke Homes has worked with energy and regeneration specialist, ENGIE to complete Greenwich’s first zero-carbon homes – as the Royal Borough gears up to meet its dual pledges of delivering 750 new council homes and reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The four council eco-homes were craned into place and installed in Woolwich, following the enabling works by ENGIE which included demolition of existing site, substructure and utilities.

Because the homes were manufactured at ilke Homes’ 250,000 sqft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, minimal work was required when they arrived onsite.

This meant the homes were delivered in half the time than if traditional construction methods were used, and enabled work to be finished in line with government guidelines on social distancing at work.

Robert Street, Woolwich - ilke Homes and Engie FRONT

The eco-homes exceed zero-carbon standards in the UK and are reportedly the most efficient homes ilke Homes has produced to date. Each home is fitted with individual air source heat pumps and solar panels and capable of producing energy back to the grid.

By using precision-engineering techniques and digital design, all four homes have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating above the highest category of ‘A’. In the UK, only 1% of new builds are ‘A’ rated, while the average rating is ‘D’, according to ilke Homes.

The development comes as Royal Borough of Greenwich, which recently declared a local climate emergency, laid bare in February the huge task ahead in meeting its carbon reduction targets.

The council estimates that its 21,000 homes are responsible for 20% of emissions in the borough, with the cost of retrofitting buildings forecast to be around £1bn.

As such, using modern methods of construction (MMC) to manufacture and install homes will be crucial if the local council and built environment are to meet the Mayor of London’s zero-carbon homes standard, which supports the Mayor’s aspiration to make the capital carbon neutral by 2030.

By using the latest digital technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) – which allows manufacturers to create a digital copy of homes so that their energy performance can be modelled – ilke Homes is able to vastly improve the airtightness and quality of its homes.

This ensures all homes can be manufactured to net-zero carbon standards and allows residents to make significant savings on their energy bills.

Matthew Bench, executive director of partnerships at ilke Homes, commented: “These are some of the most energy-efficient homes on the market. Rather than using carbon offsetting schemes, which is a common occurrence when the industry talks about net-zero, all the carbon savings are achieved by the technologies of the homes themselves.

“Climate change is accelerating and unless we act soon it will run out of control. With more than 250 councils across the UK declaring an emergency, there has never been a more important time for central and local government to look towards innovative methods of housebuilding as a means of delivering new, energy-efficient homes.”

*Header image courtesy of  ElisaRiva from Pixabay