New Mersey homes to pilot net zero heating

Housing provider Livv Homes is to build 15 new affordable homes for rent in Liverpool city region and will pilot three different net zero heating methods. Tony McDonough reports

Heating, radiator, home, energy
Livv is looking to experiment with different kinds of low carbon heating


A pilot project will see 15 affordable homes built in Liverpool city region that will test three different net zero heating methods.

Part of Livv Housing Group, Livv Homes will build a mix of semi-detached houses and one-bedroom apartments at its Copthorne Walk site in Kirkby. Construction will adopt a ‘fabric first’ approach that seeks to maximise the energy efficiency of the building materials.

How the homes will be heated will be based around a draft of new so-called ‘Part L’ regulations issued by the Government which relate to the efficiency of heating and hot water technologies. They are likely to be finalised this summer.

As part of the pilot project, five homes will be fitted with a gas boiler, five will see the installation of air source heat pumps and the remaining five will have wider cavity and insulation and a mix of underfloor heating and electric panels. The homes will be classed as affordable which means the rents will be no higher than 80% of the local market rent for similar properties.

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Livv is looking to explore the implications of the expected changes in legislation on the road to net zero and the pilot will provide a live analysis of the impact and solutions required to deliver improvements to carbon reduction in the future.

To support its research, the housing association will be working in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, who will present a series of learned experiences at the end of the pilot.

Yvonne Westhead-Fyles, director of development at Livv Housing Group, said: “Housing contributes to about one fifth of all UK emissions therefore we can expect significant changes to building regulations and the services provided, such as the efficiency of heating and hot water technologies, if government targets are to be met.


Livv and SEP Construction on site at Copthorne Walk


“By being proactive, the pilot will allow us to understand the likely impact of emerging changes to legislation and what this means to the type of design and technologies that will need to be adopted for future new build developments, in the short to medium term.

“We will also be able to gain insight into the maintenance regimes and costs to service new technologies. We will be working very closely with our customers once they’re living in the homes to review their perceptions of comfort, ease of use and control and importantly, the impact of carbon improvements to their fuel bills.

“As we at Livv begin our drive to become a net-zero business, this trial is fundamental for us, and the learned experiences can be used to inform a full net-zero pilot in the future.”

Delivered by SEP Construction Services, the construction of Copthorne Walk is now underway, and the development is due to be completed in spring 2023. The pilot will then run for 12 months.

Jay Quadrio, director at SEP, added: “One of the important factors within the sustainability agenda is the use of new technologies and construction materials and methods to produce homes that are efficient to heat and maintain. 

“Therefore, we are both excited and privileged to be involved within this important project with Livv and LJMU, which will provide real data on how best to develop efficient homes for the future.”

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