UK’s first Eco town uses Rivendale fibre cement slates

Specifiers for the UK’s first Eco town have chosen Marley Eternit fibre cement slates as part of a package of sustainable building materials to help meet embodied carbon targets in a cost effective way.

Lead developer A2 Dominion is running the initial phase of the North West Bicester Eco town project, which has the long-term vision of providing up to 6,000 sustainable new homes and is the first of four planned Eco towns in the UK.  Announced in the Government’s Planning Policy Statement in 2009, the Eco towns are designed to achieve zero carbon development and more sustainable living using the best new design and construction.

The initial phase of the North West Bicester project is called the Exemplar and main contractor Wilmott Dixon has already started to build the first 94 of the 393 planned highly efficient true zero carbon homes, which will create the UK’s first zero carbon community.  This 51 acre site will also encompass 40 per cent green space, a primary school, community centre, convenience store, eco pub and business centre.

The Eco homes will provide the tools and technology for communities to be able to live in a more sustainable way and this philosophy also applies to their construction.  The new homes are made from environmentally-friendly timber frames, using sustainable materials to reflect the local building style. 

When it came to specifying the roofing materials, Wilmott Dixon chose to use Marley Eternit Rivendale fibre cement slates as an alternative to natural slate for both cost and environmental reasons. 

Jamie Rickard, design manager from Wilmott Dixon, comments: “We wanted to choose the best eco-design and eco-build materials for the houses to make it easy for residents to lead a sustainable lifestyle.  As well as reducing the operational carbon of the homes, it is also important to consider the embodied carbon within the building materials themselves.  However, we also need these homes to be affordable, so cost effectiveness is very important.   In fact, cost was the main driver for using fibre cement rather than natural slate.  We chose the Rivendale slates in particular because they give the aesthetics of natural slate but were commercially viable and crucially, they have good embodied carbon credentials.”

Local firm Attleys Roofing was awarded the roofing contract and is proud to be working on such a high profile project.  Construction of the first homes began this year and Attleys is currently on site fixing the fibre cement slates, with the first residents likely to move into the properties in the Autumn.

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