Hemcrete Projects starts work on new Swindon homes scheme

Specialist contractor Hemcrete Projects has started work on the creation of Swindon’s first new council home programme for a quarter of a century. The project will see the creation of 12 two and three bed houses and one five bedroom low carbon homes.

Designed to meet Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, the homes are being built using Tradical® Hemcrete® from Lime Technology. A hemp and lime wall thermal walling system, it absorbs CO2 in its manufacture and so has negative embodied CO2 offering a highly sustainable method of building homes.

The homes at Lyndhurst Crescent, Park North, Swindon have been part funded from a £778,000 grant from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) following a successful bid from Swindon Borough Council. The scheme has been funded through the Local Authority New Build programme, which is investing nearly £18 million in delivering 270 new council-owned homes across the South West.

The properties will feature a range of energy saving materials including photovoltaic panels for generating electricity, solar panels for pre-heating hot water and a hot water system designed to store water at lower temperatures than standard homes. Tradical® Hemcrete® is being used to create the walls of the homes.

Tradical® Hemcrete® is an innovative material that enables the creation of carbon negative, highly thermally efficient walls. Produced from renewable UK grown hemp based material, it has developed into one of the most popular materials for the creation of highly sustainable low cost housing. Hemcrete Projects is a contractor that specialises in the delivery of projects using Tradical® Hemcrete®, offering clients a full solution from design through to delivery.

Able to absorb CO2 in its manufacture and therefore having negative embodied CO2, a typical section of Tradical® Hemcrete® has 130kg CO2/m² less than traditional brick and block. Highly insulating, resulting in thin walls with a very low U value - ideal for meeting the higher levels of the Code for Sustainable Homes, Tradical® Hemcrete® also has thermal inertia similar to thermal mass. As such, houses built using the material change temperature very slowly, reducing heating loads to significantly below lighter weight buildings with the same U value.

Swindon Borough Council currently owns more than 10,000 properties in the borough, but the Lyndhurst Crescent development will see the first newly-built council homes since the mid 1980s due to changes in financial rules which made it difficult for local authorities to arrange finance to build council properties.

The funding from the HCA forms part of a £100m Local Authority New Build funding stream announced by the Government in last April’s budget aimed at allowing local authorities to build environmentally sustainable council housing.

Cllr Brian Mattock, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Community and Partnerships, said: “The building of these homes is a really exciting development for Swindon and the tenants who will eventually occupy them.

“Swindon is again leading the way by building these council houses to such a high environmentally friendly standard, which are the first of a number of planned new council housing developments.”

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