The 208 dwellings represent the next phase of Great Kneighton in the Cambridge Southern Fringe and will be one of the largest zero carbon developments in the country.
Hill was selected as the preferred joint venture partner by Cambridge City Council after a competitive tender process two years ago.
Known as Virido, which means ‘to become green’ in Latin, the development will be split evenly between affordable homes, owned and managed by Cambridge City Council, and private properties sold through Hill.
The property sizes range from one bedroom apartments to four bedroom houses and each property will be built to Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.
Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “The Council has always intended to demonstrate that we can lead quality new build housing projects that set standards in terms of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.”
Rob Hall, Deputy Managing Director at Hill, said: “By pioneering new technological advances in residential development this site will become one of the largest and most sustainable sites in the country.”
Externally, the homes have been designed to provide a suitable thermal mass to even out extremes of temperature with mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems for night purging of warm air.
The building materials are sustainably sourced and will take into account their long-term maintenance and appearance.
Additional design features such as solar shading, deep window reveals, higher performance glass and interstitial blinds will ensure that living rooms do not exceed 28°C and bedrooms do not exceed 26°C for more than 1% of the occupied hours.
Internally there are water efficient appliances and fixtures, ‘technical rooms’ to accommodate all the necessary equipment, triple-glazed windows and extensive insulation.
The landscape design features extensive areas of green spaces, green roofs, ponds and trees.
There will also be a development-wide rainwater harvesting system for all dwellings.
Hill has recently finished the construction of a pair of concept houses. The concept homes will incorporate many of the sustainable features included in the larger site and Hill and Cambridge City Council will be trialling the zero carbon lifestyle with both end users.
The aim of this year long concept homes project is to undertake detailed research into which features actually work for a real family and which do not. A post-graduate student from Leeds Beckett University has been brought in to monitor their health and well-being, as well as assess how easy the technology is to use.