Carbon-neutral development opens its Energy Centre

Graylingwell Park, the UK’s largest carbon-neutral housing and retail development, has officially opened its £9m Energy Centre.

The Energy Centre was designed and installed by Regeneco while the Graylingwell Park site was developed by Linden Homes and Affinity Sutton in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency.

Simon Hyams, a director at Regeneco, said: ‘We have designed and built the Energy Centre and also supported a strategy in terms of achieving a 37 per cent carbon reduction, which is equal to planting 15,000 trees.’

The gas-powered Energy Centre is reported to provide heating and hot water for all 750 homes at Graylingwell Park in Chichester while feeding surplus electricity to the National Grid.

Regeneco claims it is the dual generation of heat and electricity from the same source that makes the Energy Centre extremely efficient and a contributing factor in Graylingwell Park achieving net zero carbon status.

The Energy Centre comprises four 1.1MW hot-water boilers, two 500kW combined heat and power engines and two 48,000-litre thermal stores. Heat and hot water is centrally stored before it is pumped around the development through an 8km network of highly insulated underground pipes, thereby removing the need for residents to own their own boilers.

Instead, each of the homes is fitted with a meter that is connected to the heat exchanger that automatically records and delivers data on the amount of heat and hot water that has been used. This is then added to the fixed service charge and calculated into a monthly bill. Many of the properties are also fitted with photovoltaic solar panels to generate additional energy.

The project, which claims that 300 of the 750 homes will be affordable, currently has three-bedroom properties available through Linden Homes from £279,995. However, there are three-bedroom properties available through Affinity Sutton’s shared ownership scheme from £73,750 for a 25 per cent share. The second phase of the development will create smaller apartments for a lower price.

Peter Youll, managing director for Linden Homes, said: ‘Being carbon neutral currently adds approximately £15,000 to the build cost of each home.

‘However, when it comes to energy bills, our research found that Graylingwell Park customers will be 57 per cent financially better off than if they lived in a Victorian property and 17 per cent better off than residents in homes built to meet the 2006 Part L building regulations.’