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Pioneer Homes


A unique consortium of partners has been created to build innovative homes that will achieve energy level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes without relying on renewable technologies.   The consortium delivering the project worth £6.4m, £3.2m of which has been invested by the Technology Strategy Board, comprises six members: developers, Stewart Milne Group, Crest Nicholson Plc and Barratt Developments Plc; plus H+H UK Ltd; BRE and Oxford Brookes University.

Under the title AIMC4 the consortium, in the first project of its kind, will construct twelve world-class energy efficient innovative homes that achieve Level 4 through using fabric and primary building services alone. The homes will be built in a range of locations across the UK, sold to consumers, then monitored and evaluated to increase understanding of fabric performance, emission levels and to gain valuable customer feedback.

With the Government setting increasingly stringent standards for sustainability in housebuilding, this project will provide valuable insights into both the construction and life of buildings that will eventually be required to achieve the 2016 target of zero carbon homes. The developers will construct the homes using three different methodologies: timber, masonry and hybrid. The focus of AIMC4 will be on optimising the actual fabric of the building, rather than add-ons, which will generate results that should lead to low energy, easy to maintain and cost effective homes for the future.

Announcing the project yesterday at the annual conference of the UK Green Building Council, Housing and Planning Minister John Healey said: "This project is responding to the target set by the Government to reduce carbon emissions from homes by 2016. Meeting this challenge will need innovative materials, products and designs. This exciting initiative will bring together the best of the UK's building developers and material suppliers and I'm delighted that the Government is able to partner with this unique consortium.”

Each member of the AIMC4 consortium brings unique expertise to the project. . In particular, it is the close working relationship with suppliers to bring new technologies to the forefront, alongside a strong supply chain, that makes this project so innovative. Speaking about this groundbreaking project, members of the consortium comment:

Technology Strategy Board, Leader of the Low Impact Building Innovation Platform, Richard Miller, said: “This is a very exciting project and we are delighted to be so closely involved.  The government has set industry a huge challenge – to reduce net carbon emissions to zero for new homes from 2016.  To meet that challenge, we need innovative designs and products – and this is exactly what we will see with this project.”

Stewart Dalgarno, Group Product Development Director of Stewart Milne Group said: “A unique aspect of this project is that the consortium will be working alongside suppliers to facilitate the accelerated development of materials, components and systems.  We will be improving supply chains, and in some areas creating new ones, so that they are capable of delivering a selection of products to support this ‘fabric first’ approach to achieving Code Level 4.  Our aim is to develop a variety of building systems, each capable of being built in volume with the UK.”

Stephen Stone, CEO of Crest Nicholson plc said “This exciting and challenging research project was exactly the bold step needed to address reduction in carbon emissions from new homes, and to drive delivery of Government targets.”

"Stimulation of innovation in the UK supply chain will yield new, cost-effective industry solutions and the wide expertise of the partners will ensure a step change to underpin the delivery of desirable, sustainable communities.”       

Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt Developments plc, said: "What makes this project so exciting is the prospect that we might make a huge stride towards lower cost zero carbon housing."

Mark Oliver, Managing Director of H+H UK Ltd added "Sustainability and the environment are issues which H+H take very seriously and are completely committed to progressing.  We are delighted to be part of this group, knowing that the use of H+H products are responsibly sourced and will provide the necessary requirements to control thermal mass issues and help to reach Government targets in their goal for sustainable homes."

Dr Peter Bonfield, CEO of BRE said, ‘AIMC4 is a ground breaking research project that I have no doubt will pave the way for huge changes in the future delivery of sustainable homes in the UK.  The outcomes and learning it delivers will be eagerly awaited not only at home but by our colleagues across the globe. BRE is delighted to be a part of this initiative. ‘

Fionn Stevenson, from Oxford Brookes University said’ This innovative project builds on previous collaboration between housing developers and our University. Situating building performance evaluation and occupancy feedback at the heart of the ongoing procurement process is particularly effective with modern methods of construction. The valuable learning from these new construction types will effectively address the zero carbon agenda at every stage of the building lifecycle.


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