Green homes saving cash

Paul Hudson at Airedale eco-homes.
Paul Hudson at Airedale eco-homes.

A £12m eco-friendly housing estate in Airedale will cut tenants’ energy bills by 40 per cent, Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) chiefs have said.

The 91 eco-homes – which have solar panels, heat ventilation systems, triple glazed windows, highly insulated walls and water recycling units – are designed to be as energy efficient as possible.

The two, three and four-bedroom homes have been built to the government’s highest standard in the Code for Sustainable Homes – making Park Dale estate the largest “zero carbon” social housing project in the UK.

The houses are rented out at the affordable housing rate set by the government – 80 per cent of the market price – and are on average £120 a week for a three-bedroom home.

WDH houses of a similar size in the area, but without the eco-contraptions, average around £80 a week to rent.

Kevin Dodd, WDH chief executive, said: “All new developments’ rent prices must be worked out on the new affordable housing rate, but even though it maybe slightly more expensive to rent a eco-home in the first year, the money they will save on their energy bills will mean it will work out considerably cheaper in the long term and have a positive affect on the environment.”

Planning chiefs and community representatives, including students from Airedale Academy, were shown around the site on Wednesday at the project launch which was attended by BBC weatherman Paul Hudson.

Ross Battye, initiatives manager at WDH, said: “All the technology that’s gone into these houses could save the tenant up to 40 per cent in energy bills while also reducing their carbon emissions.

“This project is brilliant for Castleford because people already have a knowledge about eco-technology so what we are doing here is creating a legacy that can be retold throughout the country.”

The project, funded by WDH and Homes and Community Agency, has had more than 40 bids by hopeful residents for each house. The properties were designed by property service providers NPS.