Retirement living provider Audley Group has submitted plans for its first carbon-neutral development in Kintbury, Berkshire.
The application seeks to extend its existing Audley Inglewood village with an additional 21 two-bed single-storey units. The village currently comprises 91 apartments and two cottages.
Audley said that because of its rural location, the village does not have mains gas, water or drainage. As such, it aims to create an extension that is “self-sufficient” in terms of energy consumption.
Plans include highly-insulated, airtight units and generating electricity on-site via roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, which will power LED lighting and sustainable heating and ventilation systems.
Excess energy would be fed back to the national grid, with a predicted 5% net contribution of carbon offset to the grid.
The team is also evaluating modern methods of construction, including off-site modular systems that will “dramatically reduce construction time on site and deliver a higher quality product”.
Kevin Shaw, managing director of Audley Group, said: “The very model on which the business is built has set the standard for retirement living so it is natural that we are continuing to redefine the sector by embarking on a carbon-neutral village.
“We have always taken environmental and sustainability issues very seriously and this proposal sends a signal about the scale of our ambition in this space. It is simply not a case of being the responsible approach to construction, it is the only approach that is sustainable over the long term.”
The company said it is also exploring opportunities to move further toward zero-carbon status on a number of future projects.
This involves integrating energy-efficient and low-carbon dwelling designs and technologies from the first day of concept discussions, through the design stage and installation to the ongoing operation of the completed development.
The initial driver will be to limit the projected energy demand and associated carbon emissions of a development via building orientation, construction methods, use of low-energy materials and equipment, with the integration of low-to-zero-carbon technologies such as natural ventilation, passive solar control, photovoltaic panels, ground source heating, air source air or local district heating schemes together with consideration of carbon offsetting where practical.
Audley Group commissioned architect Gaunt Francis to design the proposed village extension.