"This was a ground-breaking development for us, as it represents our first truly environmentally friendly and sustainable homes."
John Petitt, Chief Executive of Maidenhead and District Housing Association.
This environmental housing development consists of 27 Houses and Flats built for rent.
The site, previously occupied by redundant garages, is located on the southern side of Maidenhead within walking distance of the town centre and close to bus and rail public transport. The aim of the project team was to produce a humane and informal sustainable housing scheme with the shape of the site, access position, existing residential buildings and tree planting providing the fixed starting point for the site layout. The landscape design has a line of structural tree planting through the length of the site and defines front gardens and house boundaries with evergreen hedging. Paths and cycle routes are integrated with the local authority's projected movement strategy plan.
The scheme is arranged in three separate terraced blocks of two and three storeys designed to provide highly serviced flexible space internally, to be resource efficient and to support local ecology.
Responding to the sun path, the buildings were placed in a linear form close to the North-East site boundary. The South-West sunny sides of the buildings are glazed and open, while the North-East sides are highly insulated and dense with few and smaller openings to minimise heat loss. Roofs are covered in sedum and have a rear upstand supporting photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors. Sun pipes illuminate internal staircases and these, together with passive stack ventilators penetrate the roof surface. The houses have individual condensing gas boilers; while the flats are serviced by a communal system.
The 2 and 3 bedroom houses have a dedicated home office workspace within one of the bedrooms, although working is facilitated from any room within the dwelling, due to the provision of data, telecoms and additional power outlets.
The South-West elevation of the houses has a Lifestyle enhancing Solar Space provided off the living room. Being a two storey glazed space; this provides a thermal buffer during the winter and assists in the thermal air movement of the Passive Stack ventilation system during the summer. Other sustainable features include a hot water supply provided by roof mounted Solar Water Panels and electricity from Photovoltaic panels located on the Solar Upstand at the top of the green roof. The scheme generates up to 20kW of electricity and any surplus is sold back to the grid.
Digital Modelling was used to support the sustainable design objectives of the project; the existing redundant garages were crushed to provide hardcore material for later use, minimising the need to remove waste material from site.
The Project was completed in 2001 by a team that helped pioneer sustainable and environmental housing design in the U.K. The project minimised carbon emissions, significantly reduced utility bills for residents, addressed site waste management, promoted remote heat, power and water meter reading (reducing unnecessary vehicle journeys) and used advanced, pre-fabricated construction techniques.
The development has featured in many research publications; on TV and Radio programmes.
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