Treveth net zero ready housing scheme breaks new ground in Redruth
A new housing scheme in Cornwall is set to be one of the greenest residential projects of its kind in the UK after being designed to achieve challenging carbon emissions targets set for 2030.
Treveth’s 185-home Gwel Basset development at Tolgus near Redruth is believed to be one of the largest volume estate housing projects in the UK to achieve these targets at the design stage.
This includes embodied carbon, which is the energy needed to build and maintain the homes, and operational carbon, which is the energy needed to run them and Treveth’s approach is intended to contribute significantly to the transition to net zero carbon.
Treveth is aiming to break the mould when it comes to volume housebuilding and show that net zero ready homes can be built at scale. It has developed a Housing Design and Decarbonisation Manual and its work developing pathways to net zero was nominated in the Carbon Neutral category of this year’s Cornwall Sustainability Awards.
Treveth is a partnership company set up by Cornwall Council to deliver new homes and commercial development to benefit people who live and work in Cornwall. It aims to have achieved net zero carbon across its estate by its target of 2030.
The official start on site of Gwel Basset was marked with a recent groundbreaking event attended by the Treveth team with members of Cornwall Council and contractors Vistry Partnerships.
Treveth managing director Tim Mulholland said: “Achieving net zero ready in design is a fantastic achievement for a scheme of this size and puts Treveth well ahead of the volume housing sector. We want to show the industry what’s possible. This isn’t about one-offs and exemplar schemes, this is about making this journey mainstream in the battle against climate change and providing high quality energy efficient homes for local people.”
Olly Monk, portfolio holder for housing and planning on Cornwall Council, said: “It’s great to see work beginning on this site in earnest as we work to provide more quality, secure, housing for local people who need it. The majority of properties on this site will be available for private rent on long-term tenancies, giving security to those who will live there. This is exactly the sort of thing we need to happen to help address the housing pressures we have. It’s excellent to see that this will all be achieved through a net zero ready design.”
Stephen Barnes, Cornwall Council local member for Redruth North and Deputy Town Mayor of Redruth, said: “This is a great chance for Redruth people to get a home in Redruth – new purpose-built homes, which will be energy efficient, so low-cost and warm and snug in the winter. Being just across the road for Redruth School and very close to Tesco and Aldi, it will be an ideal start for young Redruth families.”
Gwel Basset includes 90 new homes for private rent on three-year tenancies as standard, to address a shortage of long-term rental properties in Cornwall. A further 73 will be offered as affordable homes, including 47 affordable rented and 26 shared ownership homes, and 22 homes will be for sale.
To achieve net zero at the design stage, Treveth has worked hard to design carbon out of its new homes. Measures adopted include:
- Using timber frames from certified sustainable sources
- Using Cornish air-cured concrete blocks made with secondary aggregate
- No fossil fuel heating
- Using renewable energy sources as standard like air source heat pumps and solar panels
- Using low energy LED lighting throughout
- Only installing white goods that are A-rated or above
- Using more insulation in floors, walls and roofs
For Treveth tenants this means lower energy bills because their homes will be cheaper to run. Treveth neighbourhoods are designed with healthy and sustainable lifestyles in mind, with good provision for cycle storage in its homes and connections to local walking, cycling and public transport routes.
Treveth is also creating biodiverse landscapes with green public spaces, ‘edible planting’ and allotments for growing food, and it has committed to provide a bird box, bat box and a bee brick for every two houses it builds at Gwel Bassett.
Treveth has benchmarked its new homes against the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) 2030 Climate Challenge and confirmed they already meet net zero science-based targets for 2030, when including renewable energy offset, almost 10 years ahead of time.
The next step is to monitor the building of the Gwel Bassett homes and the performance of the buildings for at least a year after completion to identify any further steps that need to be built into Treveth’s future designs to make sure they achieve the anticipated performance. Treveth is also developing a smart energy strategy using a combination or renewable technology and battery storage as part of its plans for net zero by 2030.
Treveth’s policy is to prioritise local people first when renting its properties, with its developments aimed at households who have a local link either through residency, employment or close family. Where possible it also applies this policy to homes it sells, and actively discourages second home ownership.
Treveth has planning permission to deliver more than 600 homes over the next three years. Tolgus is the third site it has started this year, with schemes in Liskeard and Bodmin already under way and more planned across Cornwall.