Luxury new build housing development – Churcham Homes

Ground source review: Ullenwood Court, Churcham Homes

A development of large luxury family homes in the heart of the Cotswold countryside is being built with sustainability in mind by property developer Churcham Homes. Once complete, all 26 contemporary properties, located within 34 acres of stunning countryside, will feature innovative ground source technology that produces zero emissions or air pollution.

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Ground source review: Ullenwood Court, Churcham Homes

Currently still under construction, Churcham’s high-end new homes will include indoor swimming pools and saunas, en-suite bathrooms, cinema and gym rooms, and green roof terraces. Careful positioning of each dwelling on the plot ensures that the new owners will have an unobscured vista of the beautiful Cotswolds countryside surroundings. The estate is estimated to be worth more than £45 million once the building is complete.

The plot lies next to a once-secret underground Cold War military bunker on the outskirts of Cheltenham, to be used if there was a nuclear strike on Britain. Its rural location meant that there was no access to mains gas. The properties are being built to an extremely high specification with a focus on energy efficiency, and in keeping with this, the developer wanted to use renewable heating to boost the development’s eco-credentials and keep energy bills to a minimum for the new occupants.

Churcham Homes had originally considered installing air source heat pumps, however were put off upon discovering that the units would need to be mounted on the outside of the properties. They were worried that potential buyers would consider that this ruined the aesthetic of the contemporary homes, which are deliberately designed for a stunning visual impact, with many featuring fine stone cladding sustainably sourced from a nearby quarry.

Instead, ground source heat pumps were chosen, as they are quiet and compact enough to be housed inside the dwellings and do not require planning permission. In addition to this, they are the most energy efficient and therefore most environmentally friendly, renewable heating available, ensuring running costs can be kept as low as possible. James Hall, Director of Churcham Homes commented:

So initially we had put air source in the specification, but the climate up here is 4 or 5 degrees lower than the surrounding areas, especially in the winter it’s quite cold. Ground source gives a more stable, year-round, constant temperature, and it was something that the prospective buyers bought into as well. We would’ve ended up with double air source units externally making all that noise, blowing all that air around, ground source is hidden away, you forget about it. In terms of sustainable heating, ground source is going to be the way forward.

Kensa’s stylish, smart and ultra-efficient Evo models were specified to provide heating and hot water to the detached and spacious four, five and six-bedroom new build homes, which range in size from 3,700 sq ft to 6,547 sq ft. Some properties also have radiant cooling systems installed in the ceilings, with the ground source heat pumps set up to provide passive cooling in the summer, to prevent overheating.

The Evo ground source heat pumps will be housed internally in specially designed modern plant rooms, and their smart system manager optimises their performance and will integrate with the home heating controls and underfloor heating to create complete comfort for the occupants.

Clusters of vertical boreholes are being drilled deep underground to collect renewable energy for heating needs and store heat removed during the cooling process, creating a natural thermal battery for each property. These boreholes are virtually invisible once the turf has been reinstated, and even the trenching pipework comes straight up underneath the plant rooms housing the heat pumps, so there is no trace of it on the outside of the building.

Churcham Homes chose to use Kensa’s MCS Umbrella service to ensure that all the installations are accredited and meet high standards for the new owners of the luxury homes.

Key Facts

  • Private, new build development
  • 13kW & 15kW Kensa Evo GSHPs
  • 52 x boreholes between 141m – 227m deep
  • Heating, hot water and cooling
  • Annual heating load 672,099 kWh
  • High spec, luxury new builds
  • Up to 6,547sq ft

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