The City of York Council recently announced their commitment to net-zero carbon by 2030. Linked to this, they have recently commissioned award-winning architect firm, Mikhail Riches, to deliver a series of energy-efficient market homes as part of a sustainable public housing project. Designs have been developed in close collaboration with local communities and aim to generate a long-term solution to both the climate crisis and global pandemic, focussing on environmental sustainability, biodiversity and wellbeing.
Plans are to build 600 low-rise houses at minimum cost across 8 different sites in the city. Each house will have a private outdoor space and solar panel roofing. Energy will also come from air-source heat pumps which consume little energy, resulting in low running costs. There will be communal green spaces for gardening and planting fruit and vegetables, as well as open play areas to promote human connection with nature. Cars will be kept on the outskirts of the developments, with bike storage and electric charging points built in to each home. Shared ‘cargo bikes’ will be available to rent in order to transport bulky goods, with a network of green pathways running between houses and communal spaces.
This is set to be the UK’s largest ‘Passivhaus’ (German for ‘passive house’) scheme, which refers to the standard of energy efficiency in a building. The Passivhaus Standard maintains homes at an average of 20C degrees with high levels of insulation, zero-carbon reliance and minimal heating and cooling required. Energy is generated by the building itself, rather than relying on expensive sources that harm the environment.
Architect David Mikhail has referred to the project as “the Everest of zero carbon”. The new housing project will be developed over the next 5 years and hopefully pave the way to a zero-carbon future.