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Approval Granted for Derwenthorpe Model Village

By Laura Elahi on January 6, 2011

Development will use biomass technology

Following the building of two prototype eco-friendly homes, a project to create a model village (not of the Lego variety) in Derwenthorpe, which is located on the outskirts of York, has been granted by officials.

With building work set to begin early this year, expectations are high that the Derwenthorpe project will become a model for environmentally friendly developments across the UK.

The prototype homes in Derwenthorpe feature a number of eco-friendly attributes. In terms of central heating, the detached properties are powered by a central biomass boiler, which burns woodchip that has been sourced locally. The biomass boiler ought to save money for Derwenthorpe residents by distributing hot water to homes through an intricate network of pipes, whilst the energy generated for central heating is likely to be far more economical in both a financial and environmental context.

A central biomass boiler is not the only energy saving measure employed by the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, which developed the prototype houses. Derwenthorpe homes will also feature solar photovoltaic panels on rooftops to produce electricity, whilst wall cavities will be insulated using highly effective ‘sandwich panels’ to ensure that the properties can retain heat easily.

The Derwenthorpe properties will also benefit from an innovative air-flow system, which cleans air sucked into the loft through a filtering mechanism before redistributing the air throughout the property. The air-flow system is designed to maintain air freshness in properties, thereby reducing the need to open windows, which facilitates heat loss.

The environmental qualities of the Derwenthorpe homes also extend to garden areas, which will house underground tanks for collecting and storing rainwater. Connected to the properties’ plumbing systems, the storage units can provide water for flushing toilets. In terms of water conservation, this measure alone could seriously lighten the environmental footprint left by the Derwenthorpe community.

Although the Derwenthorpe project was proposed 11-years-ago, the 540-home scheme has only just received the go-ahead for building work. Objections to the project have largely centred on increased local traffic and the loss of green space.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley was unequivocal in his support for the project, stating: “Derwenthorpe will be the model for housing developments in this century.”