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GREEN LIVING HELPS FAMILIES SAVE MONEY

A family of six are finding greener living is helping them save hundreds of pounds after moving into an eco-friendly home in Derbyshire.

The Blakes moved into the three-bedroom home in Hands Road, Heanor, developed by the Quantum Consortium, last summer, and six months on are really seeing the benefits of living in a ‘green’ home.

Amber Valley Housing, part of the Quantum Consortium, led on the project to develop the most environmentally-friendly homes in the town.

The homes are highly insulated which means minimal heating requirements and lower bills for the Blake family and the tenants of the other nine homes.

Mum Hayley and dad Nigel, who works as a postman, moved into the eco-home in June with their four children, Curtis who is 15, James 11, Sophie 4 and three-year-old Sam – and now have another little girl on the way.

Hayley said: “It’s brilliant living in an eco-friendly home. I’d recommend it to anyone as it’s saved us a lot of money already.

“We’ve just had our winter gas and electricity bills, and we’ve saved around £80 over the quarter - it’s more like what we’d pay in summer at our old place! The house is very warm, so we hardly ever need the heating on. Even when we had that really cold spell, we just put it on for an hour in the morning and that would be enough.

“Our water bill is much less too, because the kitchen and bathroom fittings are more efficient, so we’ll save nearly £100 on that over the year.”

Quantum worked with developers Robert Woodhead Ltd which used an innovative eco-friendly timber based walling system, Kingspan Tek. The system is constructed off-site, which minimises site waste and reduces landfill.

Using this system means the scheme achieved an excellent EcoHomes rating, a Government standard of how environmentally friendly new build homes are.

Other eco-features in the homes include highly efficient heating and hot-water systems, low water-use fittings, water butts to collect rain for the garden and secure cycle storage to promote green travel.

“You can’t tell that it’s an eco-home to look at it,” added Hayley, who is a cash processor at a security firm in Derby. “But with another baby due in the next month, the extra money we’re not spending on bills is a great help. It’s nice to know that our home is better for the environment too.”

Land for the project was provided in partnership with Amber Valley Borough Council. The site once formed part of the railway leading to Heanor’s coal mine and was mildly contaminated with coal waste, but after the mine closed the land was allowed to lie fallow.

Before starting work Amber Valley Housing, part of the Futures Housing Group, commissioned an expert ecological assessment of the site to identify important habitats. As a result the bulk of the site was cleared of the low-level contamination and landscaped. Fresh topsoil was brought in to create a healthy growing environment to maintain and support the site’s bio-diversity.

Martin Sherman, Executive Director of Business Development and Asset Management at Futures Housing Group, said: “Minimising impact on the environment is everyone’s responsibility, but as an affordable housing consortium, Quantum is in a strong position to make a real difference to people’s lives as well as the environment.

“It is great that all ten homes are now rented out and the families who have moved in are enjoying warm, secure homes with reduced heating bills.”

The Quantum Consortium consists of three developing members – East Midlands Housing (lead investment partner), Derwent Living and Futures Housing Group - together with four partner members - Advance Housing Association, Foundation HA, Rockingham Forest HA and Wellingborough Homes.

The consortium manages more than 30,000 homes across the Midlands and beyond and was launched to deliver affordable housing schemes, follow the principles of good development and share skills, knowledge and best practice.

Quantum is one of just 108 organisations across the country, which has been selected to deliver the Homes and Communities Agency’s affordable housing programme.

EMH won an Affordable Housing Scheme of the Year for a scheme at Hill Court, Bushby, in Leicestershire.

Email: l.hirst@quicksilverpr.co.uk


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