The UK’s first Eco-Town

Production has started into building the UK’s first Eco-Town which will be situated in North West Bicester, Oxfordshire. The project which will see up to 6,000 sustainable homes being built is part of a long term eco-friendly drive known as the “Exemplar”.

The initial construction involves the production of 33 homes in the area. Each one will be highly efficient and produce zero carbon making this the first true zero carbon community in the UK. In addition, the development will boast 40% green space which is well above the national average.

Mark Fielding MD at Cotaplan building systems highlighted on the project, “Like ourselves, A2dominiona have a vision to transform the way communities live and use accommodation in a sustainable way.  Cotaplan are glad to see other companies pushing the boundaries and the new eco town will save hundreds of CO2 emissions, provide exceptional quality of life for residents, without compromising the needs of our future generations.”

Whilst many developments have claimed to be eco-friendly and have made various commitments to lowering carbon emissions, the Exemplar is unique in a number of ways.

The Government have set policies and procedures which planning commissions must adhere to in order to consider themselves true “eco-towns”. The Exemplar is the first to follow this and earn themselves the title. This means that as well as being true zero carbon, the homes within the Exemplar will have triple glazing, will harvest rainwater and recycle all water. Every home will be fitted with PV solar panels at an average of 34m² per property. This will make the Exemplar the UK’s largest residential solar powered area. The heat and hot water for each property will come from a combined heat and power plant (CHP) whilst any excess power will be exported back to the National Grid.

They will also maintain these high standards during construction including a guarantee that no waste will be transferred to landfill. Only the 2012 Olympic construction has so far been able to fulfil this guarantee.

The aim of providing the 40% green space is to encourage the community to follow outdoor lifestyles and as well as play areas, there will be community allotments and wildlife areas. Finally, residents will be encouraged to use more energy efficient modes of transportation. In addition to bus services, cycling and pedestrian pathways throughout the area, there will also be charging points for electric cars and an electric car club set up throughout the community.

Representatives for the developers have spoken of their hopes that the project will blend real community and family values with the need for progress as far as economical and environmental living was concerned. Steve Hornblow the Project Director commented “The Exemplar vision will be a vibrant and spirited community where people will be neighbours. We have though about how people interact in a community space, so have incorporated communal activities like barbecue areas, micro allotments and features to encourage children to play safely. We want believe the sustainable living approach should be realistically, by providing the tools to benefit from a real community environment and access to the latest green technologies that will reduce living costs long term.”

In addition to the recognition of the Exemplar by the UK Government, it has also received international applause and was recently awarded BioRegional, a One Planet Living Status. This makes it one of only seven developments worldwide to do so and is a testament to the progress in sustainability the developers are making.

The Exemplar will welcome its’ first residents in Spring 2015, and Cotaplan is delighted to see the popularity and plaudits the project is amassing.

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