BBC East Midlands visits ilke Homes’ zero-carbon homes in Newark.

Just a few weeks after launching ilke ZERO, the UK’s first mainstream zero-carbon home type, ilke Homes welcomed BBC East Midlands down to Newark to take a look at some of the highly energy-efficient homes we delivered for developer Positive Homes last year.

The channel’s visit came at a time when the UK Government is trying to ramp up housing output to deliver 300,000 new homes a year, while also ensuring, via new building regulations, that all homes being delivered after 2025 are ready for the UK economy’s transition to ‘net-zero’.

Sounds like a tough task, so what’s the answer? As Martin Valentine, Positive Homes’ managing director, says: “The secret is a car factory for houses.”

What does he mean by that? At ilke Homes, we precision-engineer homes along production lines using robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytics and digital design – much like how cars are created. We do so to speed up construction programmes, minimise waste and deliver greener homes.

Positive Homes’ site in Newark was one of the first sites where our zero-carbon homes were trailed, but just one year later, we’ve delivered the same types of home on sites across London, Newcastle and Gateshead. Thanks to intensive research and development, we’re now in a position to roll out over 1,000 zero-carbon homes for institutional investors, housing associations and councils.

All of the homes at Positive Homes’ site were manufactured at our factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. Once complete, they were transported to site on the back of a heavy goods vehicle and craned into place. This was a process that took just five days!

By using precision-engineering techniques, all nine homes have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘A’. In the UK, only one percent of new builds are ‘A’ rated, whilst 0.16 percent of total housing stock has this top classification.

The energy performance of these homes has huge implications for its residents. As one homeowner told the BBC’s environment correspondent Sally Brown during the interview, each of the nine three-bedroom homes can be heated on less than £1 a day, translating into huge long-term cost savings on energy bills.

Increasing the supply of zero-carbon homes in the UK will be crucial to reducing the industry’s carbon emissions, with the built environment contributing around 40 percent of the UK’s total carbon footprint, according to the UK Green Building Council.

Our zero-carbon performance was enabled by the superior fabric energy-efficiency of the product, which is assembled at our factory in Knaresborough using robots. The houses incorporate LED lightings, water-efficient fittings and mechanical ventilation, with free power provided by solar panels and clean heating through an air source heat pump.

Building zero-carbon homes now will pay off very quickly, because very soon councils, housing associations and homeowners will face carbon taxes and stare down the barrel of huge retrofit costs which can all be avoided by including these technologies from day one.