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Best practice for council-led social housing delivery in York

Passivhaus-standard social housing in Norwick
York City Council's Building Better Places programme calls for Passivhaus design standards, like this social housing development in Norwich John Birdsall / Alamy Stock Photo

York City Council launched a new housing of delivering programme in July 2018 with a key aim to deliver 600 new homes across the city on council-owned sites, 20% of which would be delivered as social rent housing.

All new developments across the programme are underpinned by the council’s Building Better Places Design Manual that sets a consistent and strategic brief for the design teams progressing each site.

The programme has a strong environmental stance expecting all new homes built to:

  • Meet certified Passivhaus standards,
  • Have the most appropriate renewables installed (including consideration of co-owned solar PV systems which maximise the use of free generated solar electricity) in order to achieve zero carbon whilst also minimising bills for residents and helping to tackle fuel poverty,
  • Use building materials that reduce their carbon footprint,
  • Reduce water usage within homes through carefully specified internal fittings, grey water recycling and water butts and use permeable surfaces, green roofs and sustainable urban drainage to reduce and manage water run-off.

Ordnance Lane

A planning application for 85 new homes, eight commercial units and two community facilities was submitted in November 2021. 20% of the new homes were social rent and certified as Passivhaus.