19/05/2011

Eco Launch Marks New Term For DUP Minister

Northern Ireland's first ever heat recovering social housing scheme has been launched.

The newly appointed Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland has kick-started his new term by launching the innovative development of five houses.

It is being built by Oaklee Homes Group and will be amongst the most energy efficient homes in Northern Ireland.

These Co Tyrone homes will be the first social houses to be built to certified 'passive house' standard which produces a virtually airtight building, with the effect of maintaining comfortable living conditions without, or with much reduced, traditional heating or cooling systems. These homes will see a much reduced energy cost for tenants.

Launching the start of building work at the £800,000 eco-friendly housing scheme, the Minister (pictured) said that delivering high quality affordable housing is a priority for his Department: "In these tough economic times, our focus has to be on protecting the most disadvantaged in our community and opening opportunities for them. I welcome the opportunity to lead a Department whose business is to support those in need.

"We do this not just through welfare, but also by supporting local community based initiatives and a range of regeneration projects which create or sustain employment. Affordable housing at a high standard is also a fundamental right for all and delivering this will be an early priority for me."

DUP Minister McCausland then outlined the new housing scheme: "I welcome that my first official engagement as Social Development Minister is to help get construction of this new scheme underway, especially in an area of high housing need.

"The delivery of high quality, energy efficient housing is a key priority for my department. Social housing is already leading the way in building homes which meet high levels of sustainability and this pilot will provide valuable learning as we look to improve still further.

"Rising energy costs hit hardest on those who can afford it least. The Housing Executive and Oaklee Homes Group are to be congratulated for embracing the challenge to ensure that tenants get the very best deal from every new house produced," he said.

Ian Elliott, Group Chief Executive of Oaklee Homes Group also commented on the significance of the pioneering scheme: "The Lisnahull Road, Dungannon scheme is anticipated to be the first social housing scheme in Northern Ireland to achieve PassivHaus standard and receive full certification.

"This project demonstrates Oaklee Homes Group’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions in all its new housing developments. The new scheme will be made up of five houses and is expected to use around 90% less energy than a traditional house. The homes will be built with high levels of insulation and high quality windows and doors, with a focus on providing excellent air quality through an efficient ventilation system. This is an exciting development for Oaklee and we look forward to the houses being completed in Spring 2012."

(GK/BMcC)

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