Trent Basin leads the way for sustainable technology

An innovative new waterside neighbourhood in Nottingham – earning a name for its stand-out, low-energy credentials – is proving popular with home-buyers who are keen to invest in the green agenda.



hase One of Trent Basin’s new sustainable neighbourhood, completed in 2016, is central to Nottingham’s 250-acre waterside regeneration project. This innovative project brings to life the concept of connecting the city with waterside living, which is attracting buyers with a ‘green agenda conscience’ to set up home in the stunning riverside community.

Sat on the River Trent and built around a former industrial inland dock, Trent Basin is being developed by multi award-winning regeneration specialist, Blueprint. Renowned for designing sustainable, low-energy, high-quality homes and a commitment to building communities, Blueprint is an established niche developer in the sustainable residential market.

Throughout the scheme, Blueprint has given huge thought to the design and individual environment of each of the houses. The orientation of the homes and the public realm have been designed to maximise views to the river and to create a desirable place to live and the streets consist of shared spaces, with planting at the front of homes and throughout.

As part of Blueprint’s ethos of promoting health and wellbeing, regeneration and environmental sustainability, there will also be a brand new riverside walkway at Trent Basin. The aim is to bring new spaces and activity to the water’s edge, providing residents with green, communal areas in which to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Trent Basin is the perfect neighbourhood for those looking to live in a low-energy, sustainable environment, appealing to a diverse range of home-buyers from young professionals and growing families as well as those looking to downsize. The ‘community feel’ at Trent Basin is tangible, in that everyone who is reserving and buying houses and apartments in the neighbourhood seems to share a commitment to the ethos behind it – which is all about environmental sustainability.

When all five phases are completed, the £100m scheme will be a trailblazing example of new and innovative community energy usage – a neighbourhood which is founded upon green principles and is leading the way in terms of energy efficiency for homeowners.

Five phases in all

More than 50% of these properties in Phase One are now reserved by home-buyers who want to invest in a high-quality and sustainable build. Nick Ebbs, Head of Blueprint, said: “Our dedicated approach to sustainable, green living has seen a number of buyers keen to invest in our ethos and popular approach to promoting health, happiness and wellbeing, regeneration, environmental sustainability and urban design. “This new waterside community at Trent Basin is set to be a new type of neighbourhood for Nottingham, offering a focus on sustainable living and lifestyle, while seamlessly connecting waterside living with city life.

“Each house has high energy-performance levels thanks to airtight building structures, triple glazed windows and state-of-the-art insulation systems.”

This pioneering development will see 500 homes built when completed. Property prices start from £225,000 to £400,000 and the Help to Buy scheme is available.

Build quality and innovation

Meeting the 2016 Fabric Energy Efficiency Standards, Blueprint has ensured that these sustainable homes hit the proposed maximum space heating and cooling energy demand for zero carbon homes.

By using a fabric-first approach, the homes maximise the performance of building components and materials before considering the use of other energy facilities. As a result, occupiers of the homes will benefit from using less energy and will also save money on cost-efficient bills. As part of Blueprint’s dedicated approach to sustainable living, the team made sure to consider materials for the development very carefully, ensuring that only FSC-certified timber is used throughout the development as well as a variety of high-quality Ibstock bricks, kitchen surfaces from Koronia and energy-saving aluminium and wood windows from Velfac.

Leading the field in introducing new technology and innovative practices to its developments, Blueprint continues to provide innovative and pioneering activity at every stage. Further plans to utilise the sustainable technologies on site will include power hubs for battery-powered vehicles which will actively encourage responsible car use and help maximise the community’s low energy and sustainable living offering.

Community energy

Headed up by the University of Nottingham and a consortium of partners, the UK’s first community energy networks will be placed at Trent Basin’s Phase One.

Blueprint will be installing solar photovoltaic panels across the entire development which will feed into a community battery store. The energy generated from the solar panels will be stored in the battery and distributed directly to the Trent Basin residents through a loop, providing the close-knit community with cheaper, cleaner energy. This project will see the largest scale community energy battery, at 2MWh, installed in the UK as it is piloted in the country for the first-ever time.

The Energy Services Company created through this project will eventually be owned wholly by the residents of Trent Basin and the data from the project will be made publicly available online and at the Community Hub – a facility on site at Trent Basin developed by students at the University of Nottingham.

The Community Hub will include purpose-built technology and will showcase data from the project in order to educate homeowners, stakeholders and the general public.

Nick added: “The community energy project is a fantastic and exciting scheme that, if successful, could create a precedent for community level energy in residential-led development UK-wide. The housing sector in the UK has been slow to adapt to meet the change in demand from consumers who want low-energy solutions, but this is an innovation which will address that demand.

“The software has been made specifically for Trent Basin and data for the Hub will be collected from a series of smart meters located throughout the development. These will be drawing information from the solar panels, the battery store and from homes on the site.

“In later phases, we are hoping that energy will be drawn from ground source heat pumps and Blueprint is also currently reviewing the possibility of drawing heat from the River Trent.”

A custom-build option

Blueprint has plans to launch a search for custom-build home manufacturers for its East Midlands custom-build panel. By using this innovative housing model in Phase Five, the developer is aiming to give house-buyers the chance to customise their own home and tailor it through size, layout and appearance.

From electric cars to a floating cafe situated on the Trent Basin dock, Blueprint is keen to place Trent Basin as an ongoing, moveable scheme. The regeneration specialist will continue to introduce pioneering new technologies at every stage, building on the green agenda and sustainable, low-energy ethos that the team have always been keen to promote.

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