Code Level 5

Competition for new energy efficient homes heats up says Ritchie

Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie, today launched a design competition which will challenge entrants to build 70 of Northern Ireland’s most energy efficient homes.

The groundbreaking development of social and affordable homes, in Killynure near Carryduff, is being built to the Code 5 rating for Sustainable Homes. This will be the first of its kind in Ireland and one of only a handful to achieve the Code 5 rating across the UK. 

Speaking at the launch Minister Ritchie said: “When I launched the New Housing Agenda in 2008 I made it clear that, in addition to building more homes, we also needed to build more sustainable homes. This latest initiative builds on the work already done over the past two years, and is a stepping stone to achievement of zero carbon status.

“The technologies exist to deliver significant reductions in both our carbon footprint and energy bills. The challenge is to move forward and start producing this on a larger scale, with social and affordable housing leading the way.”

The Minister added: “This ambitious and innovative design competition will harness the respective skills of the private and public sector, working together to deliver modern environmentally friendly housing.” 

The design competition initiative is a partnership between the Department for Social Development, the Housing Executive, Oaklee Housing Group and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects. 

The competition will seek expressions of interest from architectural design teams with a view to starting construction work in spring 2011. 

Brian Rowntree, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive said: “The Housing Executive is delighted to be involved in the first Code 5 scheme in Northern Ireland. Importantly the Killynure development will allow people to rent or buy good quality, affordable and efficient homes. We believe we can learn a great deal not only from the building process, but also from the impact that these highly efficient and Eco friendly houses will have on the lifestyle of residents. We look forward to working with Oaklee Homes Group, the DSD, RSUA and with the successful design team to create a vibrant development which will set the standard for sustainable housing in Northern Ireland.”

The Code 5 rating looks at factors such as energy and carbon emissions, water use, waste and pollution. When complete the properties at the development will offer a much-reduced environmental impact and will benefit from substantially reduced energy bills.

Timothy Quin, Vice Chair of Oaklee Homes Group said: “Oaklee Homes is delighted to be involved in this project. At Carryduff we aim to provide an exemplar development that will significantly contribute to the construction industry knowledge of highly energy efficient homes.

“Almost two years ago Oaklee became the first housing association in Northern Ireland to employ a dedicated energy specialist to inform and empower our tenants in relation to energy efficiency and fuel poverty. Our Energy and Sustainable Development Strategy sets out challenging targets for reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency in all our homes. Our involvement at Carryduff further underpins Oaklee’s desire to be at the forefront in developing housing schemes that achieve Code 5 and beyond.” 

Frank McCloskey, Director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects said: “Code 5 requires exemplary performance from the dwellings in terms of energy and water efficiency; it’s currently only achieved by leaders in the field and other developments across the UK remain on a small scale. The Royal Society of Ulster Architects is delighted to be involved in such a significant housing design competition.”