Black Country Housing and Community Services Group caught a lot of attention two years ago with an ultra-green scheme at Bryce Road, Dudley, boasting composting toilets, photovoltaic panels, greywater recycling and a whole lot more.
Its latest scheme appears to pale in comparison with that, with seemingly modest innovations such as low-energy lighting, spray taps and bicycle stores.

“Ultra-green technologies are very expensive,” says Richard Baines, an environmental consultant working with the housing association. Black Country’s latest project therefore focuses on low-key environmental improvements that can be implemented within housing association budgets, and more specifically the Housing Corporation’s total cost indicators. “All of the features we are carrying through are mainstream green,” says Baines.

Black Country has joined forces with steel-frame systems manufacturer Banro Holdings, architect Roger P Dudley and cost consultant Paul Mantle Partnership to develop the Green Futures Housing System, environment-friendly homes that comply with the Egan agenda, as they are steel framed and have factory-built kitchens and bathrooms. The team will develop six sites, the first being a prototype pair of eco-bungalows in Lye, Stourbridge, due for completion in March.

The steel frames are 80% recycled and wholly recyclable, and will be clad in Baggeridge brick, which was chosen because of the company’s green credentials.

The cost of the first pair of bungalows is expected to be £650-750 per m2, but Baines says this should fall once the prototyping process is complete. Tenants should benefit from space heating costs of about one-tenth of those of the average house, thanks to insulation that brings U-values down to below 0.2 W/m2°C and a high-efficiency condensing boiler.

Itll be alright on the site