Collaborative construction project wins sustainability award

A research development programme, created by Birmingham City University, product manufacturers, industry bodies and contactors to better understand and implement forthcoming Government construction guidelines, has secured a national award for its commitment to sustainability.

Posted 17 November 2022

Project 80

Recognition from industry-leading association  

Project 80 clinched the Sustainability accolade at this year’s Built Environment Awards, an annual ceremony promoting achievements in the sector and organised by the Chartered Association of Building Engineers.

The pioneering project, developed in collaboration with housing association Midland Heart, rings together local building contractors, the Building Alliance, architects, building products suppliers and specialist contractors.

Project 80 was created in order to understand and prepare for the Future Homes Standard, a new Government initiative set to be introduced in 2025, which will introduce tougher low-carbon regulation for new homes.

With the Future Homes Standard arriving soon, it requires the construction industry to adapt and change the way that they design and build new homes.

Furthermore, it will also pose challenges for residents within those houses, who will have to learn and interact with these homes.

As industry and the public look to better understand and overcome these hurdles before 2025, Project 80 was created to fill in the knowledge gaps and provide key support.

New homes meeting Government standards ahead of time

Project 80 received special praise at the awards for Eco Drive, a road in Handsworth, Birmingham, that houses 12 homes modelling the Future Homes Standard.

The homes on Eco Drive have been designed to provide superior insulation, as well as incorporating low and zero carbon technologies like air-source heat pumps, hot water heat pumps and wastewater heat recovery.

Eco Drive is a former brownfield site developed into 12 high-quality new homes. It took a fabric-fast approach, significantly reducing the energy consumption of the dwellings.

Specifically, the twelve houses on Eco Drive will cut carbon emissions by 80 percent compared to current building regulation requirements. Heating loads have been reduced by 60 percent, presenting a significant cost saving for the residents.

Furthermore, the construction of the buildings has helped industry professionals to learn and think more carefully about various aspects of the Future Homes Standard.

“Where we need to be on sustainability”

Project 80 received significant praise from the Built Environment Awards judges.

“I’m absolutely bowled over by this,” said one in an online statement. “This is really high-quality work in terms of whole supply chain integration and an open-source attitude to sharing learning, which is where we need to be on sustainability.”

BCU researchers are also thrilled to be recognised, as well as being part of the project in general.

“We are thrilled to be part of this exciting living lab project with Midland Heart, Tricas Construction Limited and other partners representing all the supply chain, delivering the UK's first homes to meet the Government's Future Homes Standard three years ahead of schedule,” says Monica Mateo-Garcia, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Built Environment.

“Our research team is leading research into performance, costs and occupant behaviour, monitoring energy performance and indoor environmental quality of the houses to ensure we deliver houses for people without unintended consequences.”

BCU’s work in sustainable construction is continuing to be recognised, with its project Ecrofit also being named as a finalist in the Property and Construction Tech category at the 2022 West Midlands Tech Awards.