Eco development wins top award

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Lancaster Cohousing’s Forgebank development at Halton won a prestigious national building award last week.

It beat off competition from shortlisted schemes in Norfolk and Sunderland to receive the UK 2013 Passivhaus Award at the London Residence of the Austrian Ambassador.

The 41 homes, on the former Luneside Engineering site by the River Lune, were designed by Eco Arc architects, with future residents involved in the design process.

The Passivhaus standard uses effective insulation, airtight buildings and solar gain to ensure homes are comfortable and use little energy.

There were a total of six criteria considered by the judges.

Jon Sear, who managed the project for Lancaster Cohousing and now lives at Forgebank, said: “I think that what made our project stand out for the judges was the way we have looked beyond the buildings.

“Homes are big users of energy, but the majority of energy use for most people comes from other sources such as travel and food. We’ve been able to address these things.”

The community has a car club , so only a handful of residents own a car, and food at the communal meals is vegetarian and vegan, which reduces energy used in food production.