In these challenging times of climate breakdown, biodiversity loss and a global pandemic, some of the main ways we can become more resilient are to build community, reduce our carbon footprint and share resources.
Our commitment to environmental sustainability runs through every aspect of the project, including:
- the design and energy efficiency of the houses
- the renewable energy system
- reducing, reusing and recycling to minimise waste and water use
- maximising the biodiversity of wild species on the site
- community food growing, group buying and shared meals
- care of the soil through growing food according to permaculture and organic methods
- reduction in dependence on fossil fuels through shared transport and use of electric cars and bikes
Our goal is to reduce the community’s carbon footprint by 40% over the first five years of living at Hazelmead.
Cohousing homes are a little smaller than average to avoid the energy costs of heating spare rooms. We don’t need a spare bedroom when visitors come to stay as we can hire one of our two guest bedrooms.
The homes are timber-framed and have been designed to meet the AECB Standard, with near PassivHaus levels of insulation. There will be solar panels on all the houses, a large battery store, and a site-wide micro-grid to maximise the use of solar power. The houses will be heated using electricity generated by the solar panels, with hot water supplied by air source heat pumps.
We are working with Co Cars Exeter to set up an electric car club based at Hazelmead. Co Cars would operate the club and use one of the on-site charging points. Several BC members are already sharing their cars on an informal basis.
Set within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and built on former farmland, we are acutely aware of the need to create the very best habitat possible for wild species. Our common areas will be planted with native varieties of trees, and plants that will provide food and habitat for birds, reptiles and mammals. Sparrow and swift boxes are being attached to the terraces and bat boxes to the larger trees. A wildflower meadow and fruit orchard will be planted.