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SDC Excited by Energy Efficient Homes Competition

25 March 2010

Parliament Buildings

The Sustainable Development Commission in Northern Ireland has welcomed the launch of a design competition by the Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie MLA, which will challenge entrants to build 70 of Northern Ireland’s most energy efficient homes.

The groundbreaking development of social and affordable homes, in Killynure near Carryduff, is being built to the Code 5 rating for Sustainable Homes. This will be the first of its kind in Ireland and one of only a handful to achieve the Code 5 rating across the UK. Speaking at the launch Minister Ritchie said:

“When I launched the New Housing Agenda in 2008 I made it clear that, in addition to building more homes, we also needed to build more sustainable homes. This latest initiative builds on the work already done over the past two years, and is a stepping stone to achievement of zero carbon status.

“The technologies exist to deliver significant reductions in both our carbon footprint and energy bills. The challenge is to move forward and start producing this on a larger scale, with social and affordable housing leading the way.”

The Minister added: “This ambitious and innovative design competition will harness the respective skills of the private and public sector, working together to deliver modern environmentally friendly housing.”

The design competition initiative is a partnership between the Department for Social Development, the Housing Executive, Oaklee Housing Group and the Royal Society of Ulster Architects. The competition will seek expressions of interest from architectural design teams with a view to starting construction work in spring 2011. Head of the Sustainable Development Commission in Northern Ireland, Jim Kitchen stated:

“This is a truly exciting development and all those involved are to be commended.  This development is an important marker on the journey to zero carbon housing.  Not only will it showcase that it can be done, but it will highlight the talents that can deliver the transition.  It will be a tangible example of how a development can provide not just housing benefits, but wider social and environmental assets for the community.

“The SDC is particularly pleased that the partnership delivering this project will ensure that the finished homes are both accessible to those living in the rented sector, and affordable to those hoping to buy.  Code 5 rating for Sustainable Homes will ensure that the development will offer the twin benefits of reduced environmental impact and reduced energy bills.  It really is a win win situation.  The SDC looks forward to seeing the innovation outlined in the competition and the development taking shape on the ground in Killynure.  Alongside the RSUA Awards in May this year - which for the first time this year will have a sustainable design award sponsored by the SDC and the Strategic Investment Board - projects such as this point towards an exciting and innovative future for architecture and design in Northern Ireland.”


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