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Sun August 01 2021

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Edinburgh approves Scotland’s largest 'net zero' housing scheme

6 Jul Edinburgh city planners have approved proposals to create Scotland’s largest ‘net zero’ housing development.

The 444-home Western Villages scheme is being led by the City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with contractor CCG (Scotland) and architect Cooper Cromar.

There will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, including wheelchair-accessible ground-floor dwellings, available in a mix of social (195), mid-market rent (62), market rent (63) and private sale tenures (124).

The development will form part of the Granton Waterfront Regeneration, where more than 3,500 homes are planned for the next ten years.

The homes have been designed within a masterplan that will take advantage of parkland and sea views. There will also be emphasis placed on pedestrian and cycle movement with electrical car charging, car club accessibility and public transport in favour of traditional car parking, which has been reduced across the development.

The homes are designed to the principles of CCG’s newly launched ‘Net Zero Home’ housebuilding standard. The design has been developed in collaboration with energy and sustainability consultancy, Carbon Futures.

The Net Zero Home focuses on enhanced fabric performance, low-carbon heating and renewable technology as part of a gas-free energy strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions arising from regulated operational energy use to a rate less than or equal to zero per year.

Councillor Mandy Watt, Edinburgh Council’s vice convener for the housing, homelessness and fair work committee, said: “All of the steps we’re taking to make homes more sustainable will reduce the energy they use once occupied, thereby helping us to tackle climate change and become net zero carbon by 2030. That’s why we’re pleased to have CCG working with us as they adopt a new ground-breaking housebuilding standard.

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“It’s great to see this development with a large proportion of social rent homes get planning approval. We have incredibly ambitious plans which form the bedrock of our housing strategy over the next ten years. There is a critical need for more affordable homes in Edinburgh and we are responding to that through the commitment to build 20,000 social and affordable homes by 2027.

“Western Villages forms part of the wider Granton Waterfront regeneration project which will create one of Europe’ s largest coastal city parks, providing opportunities for residents and visitors to reconnect with the city’s waterfront by offering more areas for leisure and outdoor experiences, civic spaces and sustainable housing.”

CCG managing director David Wylie said: “Housebuilding is going to play a major part in achieving our ambitious target of becoming a ‘net zero’ economy by 2045. With gas being removed from new build homes as early as 2024, it places greater emphasis on collaborative working as the partners on this project have demonstrated; utilising the CCG Net Zero Home building standard to create an affordable, scalable and practical solution that can ultimately be delivered now for any residential development.”

Cooper Cromar project director Graham Connor said: “We have sought to create a masterplan that not only stands alone for its significance as Scotland’s largest net zero development but also respectful to the wider regeneration of Granton. It will complement and integrate with future phases of housing delivery and we look forward to working with the project partners over the coming years.”

Carbon Futures director Andrew Money said: “From the outset, the key areas of focus for the design team were to maximise fabric performance and avoid the use of fossil fuels. This approach, together with the use of on-site renewable energy, will greatly reduce energy demand and deliver a significant reduction in utility costs for homeowners.

“The energy strategy for Western Villages delivers a low-carbon development, future-proofed against upcoming government legislation and presents a fantastic example of how the construction industry can support the nationwide effort to reduce carbon emissions and create a more sustainable future.”

Construction of Western Villages is expected to begin in mid-2022.

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