An equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and The Hill Group

Published: 22 March 2024

Cambridge Investment Partnership completes 21 Passivhaus council homes

Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), an equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and award-winning housebuilder The Hill Group, has completed its first Passivhaus-accredited council homes at three developments across the city: Fen Road, Borrowdale, and Ditton Fields. The milestone achievement, comprising 21 sustainable new homes, was marked at Fen Road with the planting of a tree by guests from Homes England, Councillors, and members of the CIP team.

The three developments were part of funding agreements with Homes England to provide new council homes across the city aimed at people on low or middle incomes. These properties have been built as part of Cambridge City Council’s wider programme of work across Cambridge to improve accommodation standards for people living in existing council homes; to build additional council homes to meet local need; and to address wider housing supply issues.

Cllr Gerri Bird, Executive Councillor for Housing and Homelessness at Cambridge City Council and CIP board member, said, “The completion of these three developments is a significant milestone in our journey as a partnership. “With the ongoing pressures on the cost of living and the need to provide new high-quality, sustainable housing across the city, these Passivhaus pilot developments are creating new homes for residents that cut energy bills, improve health and wellbeing, tackle fuel poverty, and are great places to live. “I am also delighted that two of the homes at Fen Road are wheelchair-adapted for families, with lifts already included, which is important as we drive forward the need to provide more fully adapted homes for disabled people.”

CIP worked with experienced architects Pollard Thomas Edwards, The Environment Partnership, and Carter Jonas to bring forward these developments.

Constructed using off-site timber frame systems, the houses are highly energy efficient, with ultra-low energy consumption and good air quality, providing residents with secure, sustainable home, fit for the future.

Tom Hill, Managing Director at The Hill Group, comments, “A significant focus of our development programme is to reduce our impact on climate change by providing high-quality low-carbon homes for residents. “These pilot Passivhaus council homes have enabled us to explore how we can deliver many of the Passivhaus principles across our larger-scale developments going forward. I am really proud of what we have achieved, and we now look forward to using our great work here to influence our ongoing design philosophy for future developments.”

The Passivhaus design includes many sustainable features, including air-source heat pumps, enhanced insulation, and triple-glazed windows that will improve thermal and acoustic performance. MVHR Passivhaus Certified systems provide supreme air quality, filtering the air regularly, resulting in better health and wellbeing for residents.

Solar panels also feed renewable energy directly into each home, further helping to reduce the energy costs for residents. The houses in each development have also been oriented to maximise the sunlight throughout the day and enhance the energy performance of the home.

Fen Road features 12 low-carbon homes comprising eight two-bedroom, two three-bedroom, one three-bedroom wheelchair accessible house, and one four-bedroom wheelchair accessible home.

As part of the development, CIP has created a new, safe, and green access for walking and cycling to the Five Trees open space, which has been preserved in its entirety, helping the local community to enjoy this space.

There are also parking spaces with electric vehicle charging points and generous provision for new cycle parking. This well-positioned site provides easy access to the city centre and other amenities for local residents.

Ditton Fields comprises four three-bedroom and two, two-bedroom terraced houses, as well as parking spaces with electric vehicle charging points, secure cycle parking for every home, and new trees and planting provided.

At Borrowdale, existing garages and car parking have been replaced with three two-bedroom terraced council homes with rear gardens, cycle storage, and parking.

Passivhaus buildings achieve a 75% reduction in space heating requirements compared to the standard practise for UK new build homes. The Passivhaus standard gives a robust method to help the industry achieve the 80% carbon reductions that are set as a legislative target by the UK Government.