Case Study

Vaillant supports development of affordable low-carbon homes 

The Future Homes Standard comes into force in 2025 and seeks to ensure newly built properties produce 75-80% fewer carbon emissions than current homes.  

Vaillant’s experts support the development of affordable, low carbon new build homes in Nottingham.

However, within the social housing sector, housing associations are thinking ahead and looking to build the homes of the future today.  

With a focus on sustainability, Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) has recently built the Parklands Grove development, with the support of Vaillant, comprising seven two-bedroom properties with significantly reduced carbon emissions, located in Ollerton.  

Vaillant’s experts support the development of affordable, low carbon new build homes in Nottingham.

It’s the first development that NCHA has delivered entirely from start to finish, using their in-house services from inception through to delivery. The homes have achieved energy rated ‘A’ status with the help of a low-carbon heating solution specified by Vaillant’s expert team.  

Leading the way 

Nottingham Community Housing Association (NCHA) provides affordable housing to more than 20,000 people across the East Midlands, aiming to build a further 2,100 homes in the next five years.  

In preparation for its 50th birthday in 2023, the NCHA launched their ‘Fit for 50’ change programme. This included focusing on new, sustainable housing projects to help future-proof their newly built homes for the next 50 years.  

The Parklands Grove development, comprised of seven two-bedroom properties, clearly focuses on sustainability. The land where the development is built backs onto Ollerton Pit Wood – a wasteland recently brought back to life and is now rich in wildlife, trees, and plants.  

Vaillant’s experts support the development of affordable, low carbon new build homes in Nottingham.

Building a solution 

Early in the conceptual stages of the project, NCHA were determined to use this unique opportunity to help them inform and achieve their vision of delivering low-carbon, sustainable and affordable social housing.

Ian Soar, site manager at NCHA said: “Some important factors for this project were sustainability and reliability. The contractor who installed the heating system recommended Vaillant as they have a great reputation for product reliability and excellent customer service; before, during and after installation.”  

From the outset, Vaillant’s expert team was on-hand to assess the feasibility of the proposed design and supported the NCHA team in finding the right solution for the customer. 

Steve Cipriano, Commercial Director at Vaillant, said: “We are very proud of our heritage with over 145 years of expertise in the heating industry. When we embark on a project like this, our expert team is there to advise our clients with demonstrable evidence, allowing them to effectively assess the project’s feasibility and select the most appropriate solution to support the project from start to finish. 

Vaillant’s experts support the development of affordable, low carbon new build homes in Nottingham.

“For Parklands Grove, Vaillant carried out the heat loss calculations on the properties to determine the heat demand for each room and ascertain the correct size of the radiators to be installed. We also completed a full survey of the site, and this brought us to the conclusion that an air-to-water heat pump would be the best solution for the development.” 

Making the plans a reality  

Vaillant’s aroTHERM plus heat pump was specified to meet the heating and hot water requirements of the new houses in Parklands Grove. Using the natural refrigerant R290, the heat pump has a global warming potential of just 3 and an ErP rating of A+++, making it the perfect solution for new, sustainable homes.  

The R290 also means residents can achieve greater comfort levels, enabling the aroTHERM plus to run at a higher flow temperature of up to 75°C. This allows the domestic hot water to be stored at a usable temperature, and legionella cycles can take place without needing a backup heater. 

Vaillant’s experts support the development of affordable, low carbon new build homes in Nottingham.

To provide further support to the technical team, the heat pumps were all positioned outside the homes, below the rear kitchen window, to ensure good access for servicing and repairs. The positioning also helped to minimise the aesthetic impact on the surrounding environment and maximise usable garden space.  

In addition, Vaillant’s VRC 700 wired controls with an outdoor weather sensor were installed. Designed to work with sustainable technologies, the VRC 700 can decide on the most efficient way to heat the property, considering the weather outside and the customer’s energy tariffs.  

An easy-to-use thermostat was also fitted in each of the seven properties to ensure residents could control the heating in their new homes without complication. 

Maximising space for hot water 

As the seven homes on the Parklands Grove development are all two-bedroom properties, space was at a premium, and the heating system needed to offer a compact design to maximise space. 

Vaillant identified that a slimline pre-plumbed uniSTOR hot water heat pump cylinder, connected to the aroTHERM plus heat pump, would be the perfect solution to provide hot water for Parklands Grove. At 150 litres capacity and a 435mm diameter, the slimline pre-plumbed uniSTOR is ideal for space-prohibitive installations.  

In addition to its compact size, the uniSTOR cylinder offers high performance as it has a smooth bore coil – purposefully placed to ensure optimum heat transfer in a compact design. Combined with a low-standby loss of 1.8kW per 24 hours, residents can rest assured they will get consistent hot water temperatures even during high-demand periods.  

In the know 

As well as pre-planning and design services, Vaillant’s dedicated national specification team were also on-hand to provide support and guidance throughout this new build project.  

Vaillant supported the installation of the heat pump system on-site alongside NCHA’s engineers and provided in-depth user training to all NCHA Housing Officers to ensure they could confidently explain the heat pump system and controls to tenants.  

Vaillant’s experts support the development of affordable, low carbon new build homes in Nottingham.

With heat pumps still being regarded as an emerging technology, it became clear that tenants would need more information about the system than they would for a boiler. This led to the creation of NCHA’s heat pump user guide, supported by Vaillant’s expertise, and was supplied to tenants when they moved into the property.  

Steve Cipriano said: “By partnering with Vaillant, customers like NCHA can make the most of the wider support available, helping them to plan projects, meet the challenge of designing sustainable heating systems, maximise the potential of each build, and provide the best service for their tenants.” 

Ian Soar added: “The technical support and aftersales care we received from Vaillant was second-to-none. You can often be waiting a week or more to hear back from other manufacturers, but Vaillant and its team are proactive and always quick to respond.” 

Striving for zero emissions 

Solar panels were installed on the Parklands Grove development to help power the heat pump system with green electricity, backed up by battery storage to make the most of the green PV energy. Electrical connection points have also been set up outside each property to accommodate the installation of electric vehicle charging points in the future.   

The Parklands Grove development has boosted its environmental credentials by not being connected to the mains gas grid, with a heating system with zero emissions at the point of use, using no fossil fuels.   

Ian Soar, site manager at NCHA, said: “With the Future Homes Standard coming into effect in 2025, It’s understandable that some housing providers may be nervous about embarking on building new low-carbon homes now, but we have shown through the Parklands Grove project in Ollerton that, with the right support, it is possible to develop affordable, low carbon homes for the social housing market. 

“NCHA are using this scheme to pilot, analyse and review alternative energy installations to inform our future developments. We will use this data to inform how we can reduce energy costs to make our homes more sustainable, future proofing them for the next generation.” 

Steve Cipriano adds: “Our end-to-end support service for low-carbon heating projects is provided to specifiers under the Vaillant Standard umbrella. The Vaillant standard is designed to ensure that our customers have access to the expert advice they need when they need it most.  

“We do this to provide peace of mind from the beginning to the end of each project. And, as shown in the Parklands Grove development, by engaging with our teams early on, we can help tailor the solution to suit each project, creating a result that delivers now and into the future.”