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Community solar and rainwater recycling  green eco homes | Upload Green Architecture

Solar And Rainwater Recycling: Green Eco-Homes

by: Moon Apple
solar and rainwater recycling  green eco homes | Upload

The first factory-built eco-homes at CITU’s Climate Innovation District in Leeds (UK) have been released for sale. With an aversion to what he refers to as 'Noddy houses,' Chris Thompson has always shunned a conventional property development approach. He is an explorer who enjoys bold, innovative ventures in unlikely locations.

Eco home facade Leeds with trees and a street

Solar Panels, Heat Pumps, And Rainwater Recycling

The Secret Garden is more than a square kilometer of open amenity land to encourage community cohesion. His company, Citu, embarked on its first big project in 2004 when he was just 26 years old. He and his young co-directors produced Greenhouse. The block of contemporary apartments and offices in Beeston, South Leeds, was the first to use ground source heat pumps, solar panels, and rainwater recycling. Next came Little Kelham in Sheffield, which has revitalized a former industrial site and turned it into a fashionable neighborhood with 241 contemporary low carbon homes. The latest and most ambitious scheme is the £125m Climate Innovation District at Leeds South Bank, on the city center's edge. Set to be the largest sustainable development in the UK, it will include 515 eco-friendly homes, offices, leisure facilities, and a pioneering home-building factory. The first 18 houses and apartments have just been released for sale. When complete, the development will feature two apartment blocks, 'The Hive' and 'The Honeycomb,' situated either side of the River Aire, along with a range of riverside houses named 'Wind in the Willows.'

These waterfront homes, constructed on top of an underground car park, will overlook 'The Secret Garden'- more than one square kilometer of open amenity land. Running through the heart of the development will be an urban promenade, 'Solar Avenue,' which will feature a timber-decked walkway with access to a shared central green, designed to foster a sense of community. A map showing the location of the Climate Innovation District and its proximity to Leeds city center. Chris spotted the development opportunity during the recession when he bought a brownfield land parcel by the river close to Leeds Dock. A company backed by another entrepreneur owned it, Sir Philip Green, forced into liquidation by the property slump. The Arcadia boss’s loss was Citu’s gain, and it quietly began buying surrounding plots to create a 15-acre site. "It has a fantastic river frontage, so it’s an amazing spot, and I knew that if we could connect to the city center and Leeds Dock, it would be incredible," says Chris.
Eco-homes on both sides of a street
Planning officials welcomed the idea of turning former industrial land into much-needed housing, along with a bridge across the river. The properties herald a fresh approach to construction and design and are billed as "A combination of German efficiency, Scandinavian design, and good old northern grit." Toyota and its "lean thinking” principles, which revolutionized the automotive industry with faster processes, better quality, and less waste, were also influencers. "We looked at design and delivery models in the automotive industry, and we also spent a lot of time visiting housing schemes in Stockholm and Copenhagen, where constructing off-site has been the norm for the past 30 years. It persuaded us to take what is a big, bold step," says Chris.

The new factory, City Works, will make Citu Homes' components, including the timber frames, roofs, floors, and insulated walls with rain-screen cladding and windows already fitted. Once on-site, the shell can be erected in two days, leaving an eight-strong assembly squad to fit the interiors within 12 weeks. "We don’t make modular homes as they can be difficult to transport. We make components that can be easily transported and quickly erected. We are using an assembly model instead of traditional building sites, which rely on hiring tradespeople who work in isolation and are hampered by the weather. In terms of productivity, the old method is about 40 percent efficient. Ours will be 85 percent efficient as we will reduce production times and costs," says Chris, who says that industrializing the process will enable Citu to make 750 homes each year.

The properties are based on Scandinavian concepts, and City worked with a Swedish architect, White Arkitekter, along with Manchester-based Ollier Smurthwaite to design them. The timber-framed housing system followed years of research by Leeds Beckett University. The homes feature green roofs, triple-glazed windows, and airtightness based on German Passivhaus principles. High energy efficiency, solar panels, and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems mean the properties will be cheap to run. Each resident will become a Community Interest Company member, which will take over when the development is fully sold. The CIC will own the landscape, infrastructure, and renewable energy systems within the development.

All energy produced from the solar panels will enter a community network, and the CIC will buy electricity from the National Grid through Good Energy to supplement it. The CIC will then bill each residence according to its energy usage, with excess energy sold back to the grid and the profits used to invest in the CIC. "The purpose of all this is to help the drive towards zero-carbon cities. The Climate Innovation District will be an exemplar model," says Chris, who is also keen to increase diversity. Most city center schemes in the regions are apartments populated by young professionals with a sprinkling of downsizers. The Climate Innovation District will have a 50/50 split of houses and apartments with between one and four bedrooms.

"Building a mixed community is really important, and we envisage a population of young people, families, and downsizers. They will be attracted by the natural assets of the river and the canal towpath and by the proximity to the city center and cafes and restaurants at Leeds Dock,” says Chris, who is relocating the Citu HQ from Greenhouse to the Leeds South Bank site. He believes that the development will be complete within five years thanks to the housing shortage and increasing urbanization, so he is already looking at more sites with an ambition to "keep improving our product and keep innovating." 

Source Sharon Dale

Before you go!

Recommended: Greenest Buildings In The World: Sustainable Highlights

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I'm interested in everything that has to do with sustainability. My house is solar powered and I have my own water supply and filtering system.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit. Most of the time I go on the road by bicycle and for long distances I use public transport.

I'm interested in everything that has to do with sustainability. My house is solar powered and I have my own water supply and filtering system.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit. Most of the time I go on the road by bicycle and for long distances I use public transport.

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Solar And Rainwater Recycling: Green Eco-Homes

The first factory-built eco-homes at CITU’s Climate Innovation District in Leeds (UK) have been released for sale. With an aversion to what he refers to as 'Noddy houses,' Chris Thompson has always shunned a conventional property development approach. He is an explorer who enjoys bold, innovative ventures in unlikely locations. Solar Panels, Heat Pumps, And Rainwater Recycling The Secret Garden is more than a square kilometer of open amenity land to encourage community cohesion. His company, Citu, embarked on its first big project in 2004 when he was just 26 years old. He and his young co-directors produced Greenhouse. The block of contemporary apartments and offices in Beeston, South Leeds, was the first to use ground source heat pumps, solar panels, and rainwater recycling. Next came Little Kelham in Sheffield, which has revitalized a former industrial site and turned it into a fashionable neighborhood with 241 contemporary low carbon homes. The latest and most ambitious scheme is the £125m Climate Innovation District at Leeds South Bank, on the city center's edge. Set to be the largest sustainable development in the UK, it will include 515 eco-friendly homes, offices, leisure facilities, and a pioneering home-building factory. The first 18 houses and apartments have just been released for sale. When complete, the development will feature two apartment blocks, 'The Hive' and 'The Honeycomb,' situated either side of the River Aire, along with a range of riverside houses named 'Wind in the Willows.' These waterfront homes, constructed on top of an underground car park, will overlook 'The Secret Garden'- more than one square kilometer of open amenity land. Running through the heart of the development will be an urban promenade, 'Solar Avenue,' which will feature a timber-decked walkway with access to a shared central green, designed to foster a sense of community. A map showing the location of the Climate Innovation District and its proximity to Leeds city center. Chris spotted the development opportunity during the recession when he bought a brownfield land parcel by the river close to Leeds Dock. A company backed by another entrepreneur owned it, Sir Philip Green, forced into liquidation by the property slump. The Arcadia boss’s loss was Citu’s gain, and it quietly began buying surrounding plots to create a 15-acre site. "It has a fantastic river frontage, so it’s an amazing spot, and I knew that if we could connect to the city center and Leeds Dock, it would be incredible," says Chris. Planning officials welcomed the idea of turning former industrial land into much-needed housing, along with a bridge across the river. The properties herald a fresh approach to construction and design and are billed as "A combination of German efficiency, Scandinavian design, and good old northern grit." Toyota and its "lean thinking” principles, which revolutionized the automotive industry with faster processes, better quality, and less waste, were also influencers. "We looked at design and delivery models in the automotive industry, and we also spent a lot of time visiting housing schemes in Stockholm and Copenhagen, where constructing off-site has been the norm for the past 30 years. It persuaded us to take what is a big, bold step," says Chris. The new factory, City Works, will make Citu Homes' components, including the timber frames, roofs, floors, and insulated walls with rain-screen cladding and windows already fitted. Once on-site, the shell can be erected in two days, leaving an eight-strong assembly squad to fit the interiors within 12 weeks. "We don’t make modular homes as they can be difficult to transport. We make components that can be easily transported and quickly erected. We are using an assembly model instead of traditional building sites, which rely on hiring tradespeople who work in isolation and are hampered by the weather. In terms of productivity, the old method is about 40 percent efficient. Ours will be 85 percent efficient as we will reduce production times and costs," says Chris, who says that industrializing the process will enable Citu to make 750 homes each year. The properties are based on Scandinavian concepts, and City worked with a Swedish architect, White Arkitekter, along with Manchester-based Ollier Smurthwaite to design them. The timber-framed housing system followed years of research by Leeds Beckett University. The homes feature green roofs, triple-glazed windows, and airtightness based on German Passivhaus principles. High energy efficiency, solar panels, and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems mean the properties will be cheap to run. Each resident will become a Community Interest Company member, which will take over when the development is fully sold. The CIC will own the landscape, infrastructure, and renewable energy systems within the development. All energy produced from the solar panels will enter a community network, and the CIC will buy electricity from the National Grid through Good Energy to supplement it. The CIC will then bill each residence according to its energy usage, with excess energy sold back to the grid and the profits used to invest in the CIC. "The purpose of all this is to help the drive towards zero-carbon cities. The Climate Innovation District will be an exemplar model," says Chris, who is also keen to increase diversity. Most city center schemes in the regions are apartments populated by young professionals with a sprinkling of downsizers. The Climate Innovation District will have a 50/50 split of houses and apartments with between one and four bedrooms. "Building a mixed community is really important, and we envisage a population of young people, families, and downsizers. They will be attracted by the natural assets of the river and the canal towpath and by the proximity to the city center and cafes and restaurants at Leeds Dock,” says Chris, who is relocating the Citu HQ from Greenhouse to the Leeds South Bank site. He believes that the development will be complete within five years thanks to the housing shortage and increasing urbanization, so he is already looking at more sites with an ambition to "keep improving our product and keep innovating."  Source Sharon Dale Before you go! Recommended:  Greenest Buildings In The World: Sustainable Highlights Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about green sustainable architecture? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to  [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations