Willmott Dixon and VELUX marked the start of construction on its ModelHome 2020 project with a groundbreaking ceremony on the site where it will build two zero carbon homes in Rothwell, Kettering, on Wednesday 22nd September.

The ceremony was attended by Lord Best, President of the Local Government Association and Chair of the Hanover Housing Group, as well as the project’s partners, including HTA Architects, Kettering Borough Council and North Northants Development Company.

The two semi-detached houses, called the CarbonLight Homes, are intended to act as a standard for future sustainable design. Located within the second phase of Bovis Homes’ Charter Park development, they are designed to deliver a 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions on-site, with the remaining 30% offset by funding improvements to existing housing stock in the area in partnership with Kettering Borough Council.

Paramount to the design of the two three and four bedroom houses is that they should promote the health and well-being of the occupants, with the internal environment as healthy as the external one. This can be achieved using high levels of natural daylight and ventilation, together with active design principles.

In addition to substantially reducing carbon emissions, the CarbonLight Homes have been designed so that they are easily replicable for the mass housebuilder and appeal to buyers, embracing modern lifestyles. Significant energy reductions are achieved by using nature in an intelligent way. The sun and wind are used to heat, cool and ventilate the building and rain is used to provide water for flushing toilets and irrigate the gardens.

Construction of the two CarbonLight Homes will begin in the next few weeks with the build process available to watch via time delay video on the VELUX website. Completion is expected in March 2011, when the two houses will be opened to the public for six months. They will then become the subject of post occupancy evaluation, with the findings used to help inform the future sustainable housing agenda, and eventually sold on the open market.

Kevin Brennan, Head of Sustainability, VELUX Company Ltd, comments: “Groundbreaking represents an exciting next step for the Model Home 2020 project. The project’s partners are committed to building sustainable homes that promote a practical, comfortable and healthy living environment and I look forward to throwing open the doors of the two CarbonLight Homes to the homebuying public as well as the sustainable housing debate.”

Lord Best, President of the Local Government Association and Chair of the Hanover Housing Group, also comments:
“The industry is desperately lacking in the research needed to be able to produce homes that are energy efficient and promote the health of the occupant at a low cost, so I am grateful to the Model Homes 2020 project team for looking at the science behind it. We’ve become accustomed to smaller space standards but the four bedroom house, which forms part of the project, is 1500 sq ft and both homes have generously-sized windows – places you would expect to live for a lifetime. I very much look forward to returning to see the CarbonLight Homes, once completed.”

Eamonn Burns, Operations Director of Willmott Dixon adds: "Willmott Dixon aims to be a low carbon company that sends zero waste to landfill by 2012. With renowned environmentalist Jonathon Porritt on our board, our focus on sustainable buildings is absolute and we are delighted to be involved with the VELUX CarbonLight project. This will be a template for how to create a home with low energy requirements that conserves our natural resources better."

The design and build of the two CarbonLight Homes in Rothwell, Kettering forms part of VELUX’s continued efforts to put health and wellbeing at the forefront of sustainable housing design. To learn more about these principles, VELUX offers a number of CPD seminars. For more information visit www.velux.co.uk or call 01536 510 020.

For more information visit: