Owenstown will be a low carbon community – it may become a zero carbon community.
Sustainability in our development and in our approach to living, working and movement are cornerstones and commitments. These are expectations of the Hometown Foundation as well as we grow and prosper. This will allow a range of benchmarks to be established from which our environmental and sustainable performance can be judged.
An Ethical Community
New residents will have the opportunity to participate in the establishment and on-going development of the town. This will be carried out in a manner which acknowledges established sustainable principles whilst fostering enterprise and creativity. The Co-op will adopt its own set of ethical standards on a wide variety of issues.
As a member of the Co-op you would have a stake in shaping these important considerations.
- All aspects of the development and operation of the town will reflect the social, economic and environmental principles of the co-operative;
- To construct the new town - built development professionals, tradesmen, building companies, manufacturers of building materials prefabrication of low carbon homes;
- To operate the town's infrastructure - district heating plant, electric bus and cycle company, waste recycling company, building maintenance, open space maintenance;
- To establish value added agro-businesses such as food production, food processing, farmer's market;
- To establish arts and crafts businesses;
- To establish Owenstown as a tourist and visitor attraction with facilities such as hotel, restaurants, cafes, Winter Garden and outdoor recreation; and
- To offer ideas and opportunities for the Board of the Co-op to invest in where this assists the economic growth of the town or the surrounding rural investment area.
Health and Well Being
The health and wellbeing of its residents is integral to the design for Owenstown. Areas with economic and social deprivation are often the very places where poor physical and mental health affects a greater proportion of the population. This can arise from a poor diet, unhealthy lifestyles, lack of opportunity or a combination of these and other factors.
An attractive environment to live and work encourages activity such as walking to work or to the shops, provides leisure opportunities and fosters a sense of community. There will also be safe, convenient and attractive walking routes to school. Integrating activity into daily routine is one of the best ways to maintain health and wellbeing.
In addition to the extensive areas of open space and the network of green space throughout the town, a dedicated sports centre, with swimming pool, gyms, and an all purpose sports arena is planned, for the use of the schools and the community. Within the facilities planned for the town, attention has also been given to catering for outdoor pursuits. From the start, and outdoor recreation centre is planned to provide mountain biking and hiking on the slopes at the edge of the town. Fishing and boating will also be provided within the new water bodies which will be created.
The aspiration is for Owenstown to be a 'net zero' carbon town. This defines a development which may produce carbon emissions, but these are offset to 'net zero' emissions (or even 'carbon positive') through producing surplus energy from renewable sources and exporting this off site.
The strategy for achieving this is based on three main components:
- reduce energy consumption on site as much as is practicable, through energy efficient buildings;
- providing low cost heat and power from a district heating plant, potentially powered by Energy from Waste, through a private wire network (PWN); and
- accommodating new technology on site to provide electricity for the public transport system, to supplement electricity generated by the district heating plant, and to provide surplus power to export to the National Grid.
Community Heating System
The decision to promote a community heating system for the site, using energy from waste, is based to a large part on the rural location of the site, and need for self sufficiency in the long term.
The community heating system will be planned, constructed and managed by the Owenstown's Energy Services Company (ESCo). Its development will include the Private Wire distribution Network (PWN) for energy and the super-insulated pipes for the heating.
This will be installed at the same time as the roads and services infrastructure to minimise cost. The private distribution will allow the heating and power to be supplied at a discount to the open market (a legal agreement will link charges to the market to ensure a fair deal for the end user) while still providing a premium to the operator. This premium will be used to recoup capital costs and be reinvested in the town.
The plant is to be developed as one of the initial infrastructure developments within Owenstown, effectively to be operational from day one. The capacity will gradually be scaled up as the number of buildings on site increases.
It is anticipated that the provision of cheap heat and power will be a major incentive to encourage individuals and businesses to locate in Owenstown.
The further benefit of discounted heat and power within the Rural Investment Area will be to combat fuel poverty, which will be completely eradicated within Owenstown, when combined with the specification of energy efficient homes.
Local food production will be a feature in Owenstown. Every household will have access to Allotments and Community Gardens it is hoped that other farming activities will be undertaken within the town boundary.
Large scale glass houses are planned, heated by waste, for the production of fruit and exotic plants. A farmer's market is planned, where local produce from the town and surrounding area can be bought and sold.
The site of the proposed town is currently immature forestry, and preliminary ecological surveys have not identified any sensitive habitats or species.
This offers an opportunity, through development, to improve the biodiversity present on site, and accommodate flora and fauna within the extensive greenspace planned for the town.
The Co-op will prepare a waste management plan, where we will plan to minimise waste created, re-use as much as is practicable and recycle whatever remains.
The waste minimisation applies to resource consumption as well as manmade materials and consumables.
Minimising on site waste will not only have environmental benefits, it will reduce costs by being more efficient.
The re-use of materials will underpin the settlement strategy. Parts of the existing young forestry on site will be kept to protect the quality of the landscape.
Other woodland will be replanted or become construction materials or fuel for the energy plant. A recycling station will be available from the outset of the development.
For products created on site, the emphasis will be to use materials which are re-usable and recyclable.
Any waste which cannot be recycled or reused will be converted into a refuse derived fuel (after composting) for the Energy from Waste plant. Only a limited fraction of the town's waste need be sent to landfill.