Broadland seeks funds for ‘sale and leaseback’ plan to cut fuel poverty
Bid to build UK’s largest Passivhaus scheme
Norwich-based housing association Broadland plans to build the UK’s largest ultra-energy efficient Passivhaus scheme to tackle fuel poverty.
The 208-home eco-development would be built without government grant - instead using a sale and leaseback model - on a site purchased from Norwich City Football Club and is currently going through planning.
Passivhaus is an efficiency standard developed in Germany that uses very high levels of airtightness and whole-house mechanical ventilation so homes require very little heating, thus slashing energy bills.
The association believes rising energy prices create a strong business case for investing, as lower fuel bills will mean tenants have more money to pay their rent.
Although the homes are more expensive to build than those that meet current efficiency standards - Broadland estimates costs at £1,500 per square metre compared with around £1,350 for a home that meets level 4 of the code for sustainable homes - this can be recouped over 30 years by savings in management costs.
Michael Newey, chief executive of 4,500-home Broadland, said: ‘If you are struggling on a low income, which many of our tenants are, then it is becoming a problem. Do you pay your heating costs, or your rent?’
Broadland intends to build the homes using funds from a sale and leaseback model after failing to secure any funding in the Homes and Communities Agency’s affordable homes programme.
Mr Newey said the association was in discussions with two institutional investors and was looking at leasing the homes on a 45 to 50-year investment model. He said the contract for the development is likely to be worth between £21 million and £23 million, and work should begin in early 2013 with an 18-month build.
Andrew Eagles, managing director of consultancy Sustainable Homes, said: ‘There are less than 100 Passivhaus-accredited schemes in the UK so this is a substantial improvement.’
The homes will be for affordable or intermediate rent.