The super-insulated homes are fitted with low energy solar assisted air-source heat pumps and renewable rooftop solar PV, to complement the “fabric first” approach and dual aspect design. Electric car charging upgrades were installed to enable EV charging for all users of the public car-park, while connections to local public transport and cycling/walking routes to local amenities help eliminate the need for private car ownership. The Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) superstructure was manufactured and fitted out with kitchens and bathrooms offsite (in eight weeks) following Covid-19 protocols in the factory, before being transported to Bristol, where all the modules were assembled on site in three days. The use of CLT for all the one-bedroom homes also helped minimise the overall embodied carbon.
Key Sustainability Objectives/ Outcomes
This ground-breaking concept of erecting zero operational carbon homes on a steel frame podium over council owned carparks in city centre, is one way of bringing forward under utilised urban land to overcome the UK social housing crisis and create community living spaces using the very latest precision technology. The scheme is replicable globally in any city centre, reducing the need for development on green spaces and creating communities that are net zero in operation.
Analysis of the energy use has shown 104% of the annual energy requirement being generated on-site by the solar panels, making this development zero carbon in operation.
The low-carbon technology installed in the homes was unfamiliar to both the residents and the council as the landlord. Despite ZED PODS going to considerable lengths to produce clear guidance for the residents, including a series of video tutorials, there was still some confusion regards the most effective operation of the controls. It should be noted the homes were completed and handed over during lockdown preventing one-to-one user training by ZED PODS. With a view to simplifying the operation of the homes, the residents were generally encouraged to leave the controls as they had been pre-set. Unintentionally, this hands-off approach left some residents feeling a bit disempowered when extreme summer and winter temperatures required them to make proactive changes (including opening/closing windows) to manage the internal conditions in their homes.
For further lessons learnt see the additional linked resources which include a Lessons Learnt report reflecting on the development process and the Post Occupancy Evaluation considering the first year of occupation.
Lessons Learnt report:
Post Occupancy Evaluation Report: