Lord Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull, and leading figures from across the international construction sector, were among more than 300 people attending an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BRE Innovation Park in Watford. The event included the launch of the Park’s latest project, the Wienerberger e4 brick house which will be the first home to be assessed under BRE’s new Home Quality Mark.
The event marked a return to the site for John Prescott who as Deputy PM in June 2005 had officially opened the Park – now home to some of the world’s most sustainable buildings, landscape designs and many hundreds of innovative low carbon products, materials and technologies.
Since Lord Prescott’s first visit, more than 60,000 people have toured this ground breaking demonstration community, including the Prince of Wales, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Premier of China Li-Keqiang.
Director of BRE Innovation Parks Network Dr David Kelly said:
“To date the Park has featured 18 unique projects. These represent diverse and collaborative approaches to sustainable design, construction and refurbishment which have pushed the boundaries of current knowledge and practice and ultimately driven change across the built environment. As a result of its success the Innovation Park is now being used as model for tackling built environment challenges in other part of the UK and in countries round the world, with Parks operating or planned in Scotland, China, Brazil and Canada.”
During his visit Lord Prescott officially opened the Park’s most recent development, the e4 brick house. Built by Europe’s largest brickmaker Wienerberger, and designed by global engineering and design consultancy ARUP, the e4 house is so called because it emphasises the four principals of energy, economy, environment and emotion. The house adopts a fabric first approach to minimising the energy needs and is the first home to pilot BRE’s new Home Quality Mark which will be open for registrations in October.
Lord Prescott said:
“It is great to see a new home like e4 on the market that’s affordable to build and run, quick to construct, promotes health and wellbeing and has a minimum adverse impact on the environment. A great combination of features that couldn’t come at a better time when housing supply is at crisis point”
Lord Prescott also saw the very latest addition to the Park, the factory built Üserhuus/Tigh Grian. Brain child of the ZKS Foundation in Geneva the Üserhuus/Tigh Grian comprises two semi-detached properties that were manufactured in a factory in South Wales and erected on site in just one day.
Jacqueline Schindler of the ZKS Foundation said:
“The Üserhuus/Tigh Grian concept has been developed to provide quality affordable homes for the social housing and RSL sectors. The units are delivered to site fully insulated, with windows in place, all M&E services installed and the initial decorating done. The homes are the first in the world to incorporate a new terracotta building integrated photovoltaic roofing and cladding system – we will use these homes to evaluate the system and iron out any issues before work starts in the coming weeks on a new 96-home development in Alva, Scotland.”
Other new demonstration houses will shortly be added to the Park, including the highly ambitious Zero Bills Home from Bill Dunster and the ZEDfactory, who designed the ground breaking BedZED development in London in 2002.
Bill Dunster from ZEDfactory says:
“The Zero Bills House is a fast build super-insulated timber and steel hybrid frame construction system with an integrated photovoltaic solar loft. Our aim with the house is to continue with a cost effective supply initiative delivering the highest level of the old Code for Sustainable Homes – whilst generating more energy than each home consumes over the course of a year and maximising FITs tariff to provide net zero energy bills.”
Visitors to the event also previewed of the new ‘RetrofitLab’ App. Based on the research findings from the BRE Refurbished House project on the BRE Innovation Park @ Ravenscraig, the app (which will soon be free to download from the app store) is designed to help people evaluate different refurbishment options, on a cost and performance basis, for existing homes across the UK.