How much will living there lower my carbon footprint?
That very much depends on you. We’ve designed the Climate Innovation District to reduce carbon emissions at every stage, so it will make living a sustainable lifestyle so much easier. But we can only put the tools at your disposal, you’ve still got use them right.
The average household emits 2.3 tonnes of CO2 from heating their home every year. Your Citu home will require far less heating, and all its small energy requirements will be supplied by 100% renewable energy. So right there it’s likely to reduce your family's carbon footprint by at least a couple of tonnes of CO2 per year.
Plus, by living in the centre of Leeds, you’ll be able to walk or cycle to all the amenities of the city, massively reducing the need to use a car. If you find you no longer need a car, or transition to an electric vehicle because we’ve built every car parking space with electric charging built in, then you could reduce your household’s carbon footprint by another 2 tonnes each year. So, in total, you are looking at a household carbon footprint that is 84% less than the average household. These aren’t exact numbers, they will vary based on the actions you take. We can’t promise you exactly how much living in the Climate Innovation District will reduce your carbon footprint, because that’s up to you.
For more information the environmental credentials of the Citu Home, read our article on how to build a sustainable house.
Where is it?
The Climate Innovation District straddles the River Aire down by the Royal Armouries Museum and Leeds Dock.
Phase 1, where the first houses are currently being built, is on the North Bank of the River Aire. We will be building a pedestrian bridge to connect both sides of the site, so phase 1 will just be a couple of minutes’ walk away from Leeds Dock, and a 6-7-minute cycle ride to Leeds Train station.
When will the Bridge be built?
That’s an easy one. The bridge will be built this Summer and you will be able to use it from that point on.
When will the first houses be built?
The foundations are in place and we’ve started work on the first houses now. The timber-framed panels are coming through the factory, so they’ll be up faster than a conventionally built house.
We expect to have the first houses finished in July, ready for the first residents to move in.
If you're interested in seeing how the houses are built, we're enhancing our viewing experience to include a trip into the Citu factory. If you haven't booked a viewing yet, then email email@example.com to pencil in a date.
What’s the Community Interest Company?
The Community Interest Company is a not for profit company we set up to put the residents in control of the development.
When the development is finished, Citu will transfer the land (freeholds), infrastructure and renewable technologies to the Community Interest Company, which will run the development and own a utility cooperative which will supply renewable energy to the residents at cost prices. Residents will pay a bond to facilitate the creation of the Community Interest Company, and their stake in the Community Interest Company will be handed to the next resident if they ever decide to sell, increasing the value of their property.
The beauty of the Community Interest Company is that it means that the residents can control the future of their place and keep it at the cutting edge of sustainability. They’ll be able to invest in new renewable technologies as they become available and reap the rewards themselves in terms of lower energy prices or greater profits from feed-in-tariffs.
It's also about the little things, like if you want to change the frequency of bin collections you can. This is the beauty of the CIC, you make the decisions along with your neighbours. For more information on how the CIC will work, read our short guide to the Community Interest Company.
How will the solar panels affect my energy bills?
All of the houses nearest the River (House type 1) have large south facing solar arrays, as will the apartment buildings. To maximise the use of this renewable energy it will be shared across the whole development via a private-wire network.
The amount this will reduce your energy bill will very much depend on the weather, and how much energy you are using. Because we can't predict how often you use a hair-dryer, or how sunny it will be in March 2023, we can't give you an exact figure when it comes to reducing your bills. But we can tell you that the panels on the House Type 1's alone will generate over 18,000 kWh of electricity each year, all of which will be used for the benefit of residents.
You will reap the benefits of your solar panels, thanks to the community utility cooperative. It buys renewable energy, water and data at in bulk and sells it to the residents at cost prices. How does this work? Well, it's easier to negotiate your utility costs when there's more than one person sat at the table.
Any excess solar power will be sold to the grid to generate income via the feed-in tariff. This money helps to fund the Community Interest Company, and will all stay within the development to be invested in the improvements that the residents vote for.
Will there be cycle storage?
The undercroft parking area will include a dedicated cycle storage area for anyone with a house at the Climate Innovation District to keep their bike. For those buying apartments once they're released, they'll be a separate cycle storage space nearer the apartments for easy access.
Why isn’t it freehold?
The houses at the Climate Innovation District are raised up several meters above ground level to create a car-free landscape above an under-croft car park.
This means your house may well be over a communal area which allows access to the car park. That’s why we couldn’t have the freeholds individually owned by residents, as they might choose to build things on their land that could block access for everyone else.
That’s why we've created the Community Interest Company, so the freeholds are owned collectively by the residents. That means they can never be sold off to a private company. It's all in your control.
Is there parking?
There is parking available at the Climate Innovation District, in the under-croft car park. However, when you are such a short walk from all the amenities and attractions that Leeds has to provide, we hope you find that you no longer need a car at all.
For those who do still need a vehicle, we will be encouraging the transition to zero-emission electric cars, by putting in the infrastructure for electric charging points in every parking space in the Climate Innovation District, making it easy to install the type of charger your electric car needs.
Parking spaces are available to purchase for £12,500 when you buy a Citu Home in the Climate Innovation District.
Which plots are which house types?
All the plots nearest the River are house type 1, which boast solar panels, a green roof and an incredible void space.
All the houses directly behind those are house type 2, which has dual aspect windows on the 2nd floor and a large roof terrace. End of the blocks are house type 2a, whilst ones in the middle are house type 2b.
House type 3s are nearer the apartments, and these boast a dual aspect design across the whole building. These houses also have large roof terraces.
What’s the difference between a 2a and a 2b?
They’re both townhouses, but House type 2a is on the ends of the rows of houses. That means it’s got windows on 3 sides – whereas house type 2b has dual aspect windows looking both North and South in the dining kitchen and living space, and single aspect windows on the two lower stories, combined with a light well & skylight to bring in natural light to all the other stories. Because 2a’s side windows negate the need for a light well, it has a larger floor space.
Can I use Help to Buy?
You can indeed. Help to Buy is available on all properties at the Climate Innovation District, and for everyone, not just for first-time buyers.
Provided that your home in the Climate Innovation District will be your only property (so you’ll be selling your old house to move into the Citu Home) then you can use the Government’s Help to Buy scheme so you can buy your Citu Home with just a 5% deposit.
The Citu team can explain how it works and complete the initial paperwork for you to get the ball rolling. Just give us a call on 0113 320 2357.
How does the heating work?
Citu Homes are so efficient that traditional central heating systems are no longer required.
Instead of a gas boiler powering radiators, a Citu home captures the heat generated by appliances and the people living in it, and recycles it by transferring it from exiting stale air to incoming fresh air, via the MVHR system. Over 90% of heat is transferred, and very little heat is lost through the Citu Home’s ultra-insulated thermal envelope.
That’s why on all but the coldest days, you Citu Home won’t need any heating at all. When you do need heating, the Citu Home has heat mats concealed in the walls, which heat your home with 100% renewable electricity.
You’ll be able to control your home’s temperature via our Actuate Smart Home app, which will be installed on the Citu tablet that you will receive when you purchase a Citu home.
Is there a risk of flooding with it being near the River?
Although the Climate Innovation District is near the River Aire, all the houses and apartments are raised up sufficiently high that it will withstand even a 1 in 200-year flood without any of the homes being affected. The district is actually designed to be able to resist a 1 in the 1000 year flood event without any of the homes being affected, but with climate change we expect floods to become more severe than they have been in the past centuries, hence the one in the 200-year designation. However Leeds City Council is planning on planting hundreds of thousands of trees in the River Aire drainage basin to reduce the risk of floods occurring, so this may well help alleviate the increased risk from Climate change and maintain the district's ability to completely resist a 1 in 1000 year flood event without any effect on the homes.
As well as raising the homes and entire landscape up several meters, we are also putting in sustainable drainage systems and features to improve stormwater retention to prevent flooding occurring. The site also benefits from Leeds City Council's £50 million flood prevention scheme, which opened in late 2017 and uses moveable weirs to massively reduce flood risk in Leeds City Centre. It's one of the biggest flood alleviation schemes in the country, and significantly reduces the chances of flooding in Leeds City Centre, including at the Climate Innovation District site.
We hope you found this FAQ useful. If you've got any questions for us not covered here then call the Citu team on 0113 320 2357 and we'd be happy to answer them. If you want to see more then sign up for a MyCitu account and book your virtual reality viewing experience today.