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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Green award for Carlisle student village

The £10 million first phase of a student village has broken new environmental ground.

Carlisle student flats photo
From left, Martyn Hart, of designers Eco-Res, Lucy Roberts, from the University of Cumbria and Peter Conway, of Border Construction

Buildings that make up Denton Holme Student Residences in Carlisle are the first in the country to be rated as outstanding under a stringent new green scoring system.

It’s an accolade that those behind the 249-room scheme hope will set a new standard for developments of their type. And it’s a success they hope to build on when work gets underway on creating another 242 rooms this summer.

The development, created as part of efforts to ease student accommodation shortages in Carlisle, has transformed the site of the former Kangol factory, off Norfolk Street.

University of Cumbria students moved in for the start of the academic year in September. Currently, 244 of the rooms are allocated. A healthy proportion have already signed up to live there again next year.

The scheme’s outstanding rating has been given through the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). It’s considered the world’s foremost green assessment.

More than 200,000 buildings worldwide have BREEAM ratings, but less than one per cent reach outstanding status, which means achieving a credit score of above 85 per cent.

Eco-Res, the development’s design and procurement consultants, and the developer, Carlisle-based Border Construction, are delighted their environmental efforts have been recognised.

Martyn Hart, Eco-Res’ procurement director and a senior partner in city-based firm Telford Hart Associates, said: “It has been a real team effort.”

The development has secured its environmental rating through a range of measures.

“There’s no magic bullet with this. It’s about doing lots of things well and designing in sustainability,” Mr Hart added.

The scheme is based on three and four-storey houses with bedrooms on the upper floors and communal spaces on the ground.

Students say it’s more like living in a large family home than in traditional halls of residence.

It was built using modules trucked on to the site. Work using this method took just seven months, compared to the 15 to 18 months that would normally be expected. A 120-strong construction crew was on the site.

Environment-enhancing methods used included timber frames, heavy insulation, a heat recovery system and an energy-efficient way of heating water.

BREEAM assessor Barry Rankin said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for the Denton Holme Student Residencesto be the first in achieving outstanding under BREEAM 2012 criteria.”

Border Construction managing director Peter Conway said: “This has been an important achievement. The whole team has been involved – design and construction. It was a coming together of these parts.”

University leaders continue to be pleased with the village’s success.

“Two years ago we had real problems with accommodation in Carlisle and were desperate for new build. We’ve not heard any negative comments from the students here,” commercial manager Lucy Roberts said.

Through the BREEAM system, building is scored on its specification, design, construction and use, looking at energy and water use, health and well-being, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management.

Carlisle Conservative MP John Stevenson, who supported the plan from its inception, congratulated the team involved on its success.

“It’s certainly something which we as a city, and particularly the residents of Denton Holme, can be proud of,” he said.

“Eco-Res has come up with a very innovative way to build energy efficient housing which can be assembled very quickly. It is great to see a Carlisle success on the national radar.”

A second phase of the village is expected to be open for the 2014/15 academic year.

Border Construction is also in the running for a considerate contractor award for its work at Denton Holme.

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