Three new ‘low carbon’ homes for Bedminster housing coop

Three new ‘low carbon’ homes for Bedminster cooperative association

On June 6th, Paul Smith, Bristol City Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Housing, cut the ribbon to open a new, ‘low carbon’ cooperative development at Philip Street in Bedminster. Three one bedroom homes have been built by Earthwise Construction for Somewhere Cooperative Housing Association, in partnership with Bristol City Council.


Somewhere Cooperative Housing Association was formed in 1979 and is the oldest and largest housing cooperative in Bristol and is celebrating 40 years of providing housing to its members
with the opening of a brand new low energy housing development.


The project consists of three one-bedroom homes for rent, and extends the small terrace at the end of Philip Street. The three super low energy timber frame homes have been built to near ‘Passive House’ standards, with a 10 kW solar roof providing renewable energy on-site, and a solar assisted air-sourced heat pump providing hot water to the homes.


The homes share a bike store, laundry room, visitor’s bedroom and heating/ventilation system and were designed by architect Taus Larsen who specializes in low-energy housing. Taus commented: ”By designing and building in such a way – using simple principles such as high levels of insulation, airtightness and solar gain – we have virtually eliminated the need for space heating to keep the homes comfortable all year around. The PV roof should generate enough green electricity over the course of the year to meet the needs of the residents – meaning the building should effectively run as ‘zero carbon’ in operation. This not only contributes to the necessary decarbonising of our communities, but also provides energy security and very low energy bills for the residents.”


Somewhere CHA is a tenant run housing co-op which now has 14 housing units in Southville, Bedminster and Knowle providing homes for over 20 members. These include four out of the five existing houses in the terrace in Philip Street. The new homes have been designed for some of the co-op’s older existing members and free up homes for young families.


Marian Connolly, a longstanding member of the housing coop and a tenant of one of the new homes, said:
“This is a demonstration of ordinary people working together to create truly affordable, decent homes for themselves. We have been involved in design and management of the project and even done some of the unskilled building work. This development is a model for the future of social housing in Bristol; housing that is low rent, cheap to run and controlled by the tenants.”


Paul Smith of Bristol city Council, who has pledged to build 80,000 affordable homes by 2020 has supported the project by providing the land on a low-cost lease. The housing coop has financed the development through its own reserves and a mortgage from Triodos Bank.


The new development adjoins 101 Philip Street (which became one of the coop’s houses in 1995). In the early 1980s this Victorian terrace house was given an eco-makeover to create ‘The Future City Home’ – a demonstration home run by the organisation that has become the Centre for Sustainable Energy.



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