Housing report

Our carbon challenge

Apex Housing Association (Apex) says addressing global concerns about climate change and local concerns about fuel poverty are the prime factors behind its intention to have a decarbonisation strategy in place by March 2023.

Despite this strategy currently being a ‘work in progress’, Apex has already made moves towards reducing its carbon footprint and lowering heating bills for its tenants by piloting a nearly zero-energy approach (NZEB) in the construction of some of its new masonry homes being developed in Newtownabbey.

NZEB pilot in Newtownabbey

Construction on the site of the former Newtownabbey High School in Rathcoole has already begun and will see the former school grounds, which have been vacant since 2015, transformed into a thriving community of 76 houses and 35 apartments. The NZEB pilot project will see the construction of six homes with enhanced insulation and a variety of renewable energy options, to gauge what works best in practice for Apex and its tenants. Apex also has plans for a second pilot scheme on a timber frame development which will begin later this year.

Barry Kerr, Apex’s Director of Development, says Apex is committed to meeting the highest possible standards in relation to decarbonisation and energy efficiency:

“Over the next 30 years, our ambition is to virtually eliminate carbon emissions in our homes; bringing enormous benefits for tenants, communities, the economy and the environment. Energy efficiency standards will soon be enhanced within new building regulations, but we are working on the premise that all new-build social housing will be required to meet the nearly zero-energy building standards in the next few years.

“We are one of the leading social housing providers in Northern Ireland and we recognise we play a significant role within the sector. The knowledge and experience we are building on NZEB standards is being shared through the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. This collaborative approach is vital as the decarbonisation task ahead of us can only be accomplished by working with government, tenants, our industry and wider society.”

New development in Newtownabbey

111 new homes will be built on the site of the former Newtownabbey High School site in Rathcoole. Of these, eight will be sold as affordable homes, with the remainder delivering much needed high-quality social housing.

Part of the site will provide homes for people over 55, featuring private balconies and access to a communal garden. The development will also have a new park at its core, helping to make it a vibrant and sustainable community.

If you would like to know more about Apex’s decarbonisation agenda or NZEB pilot projects, please phone
028 7130 4800 or email info@apex.org.uk

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