In August Antidote readers were cheered by the news that the social housing Accord Group – Accord, Ashram, Caldmore and Moseley & District Housing Associations, Fry Housing Trust and Redditch Co-operative Homes – had bought a derelict Walsall factory on a five acre site on which it is to set up a timber frame assembly plant to manufacture low-carbon timber houses, which it had previously imported from Norway.
During a web-search for news of Accord’s progress, another West Midlands achievement came to light.
The Bromford Group, Cross Street South, Wolverhampton, won the Inside Housing award for a sustainable larger social housing project (25 homes or more) in 2008
Its energy efficient homes have been built on a brownfield site, with grass roofs, water recycling and a woodchip boiler. The homes use up to 50% less energy than standard homes, only needing 2 kilowatts of heat as opposed to the usual 8 to 10. A range of low maintenance materials such as cedar cladding and recycled wood in its kitchen units were used.
The grass roofs provide good insulation and keep the homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The recycled wood chip boiler – ‘space age’ design – provides all of the heating and hot water for the homes.
They have low energy lighting, composting, recycling bins, water butts and high performance softwood and double-glazing. Cross Street South has its own park with ponds, wetland, a board walk and fountain and residents’ allotments. More detailed information can be seen on the website of Sustainability West Midlands.