Equans, has been appointed by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) to deliver on plans for the UK’s first Net Zero Neighbourhood.
The landmark project in Brockmoor will look to tackle climate change through decarbonisation while reducing household energy bills, creating better transport links and increasing the community’s participation in making the neighbourhood cleaner and greener. The project will ultimately act as a prototype to decarbonise neighbourhoods across all seven West Midlands local authority areas.
Dudley MBC are among five local authorities within the West Midlands that have detailed plans for a Net Zero Neighbourhood. Dudley MBC and Equans’ plan was successful in securing funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to pilot a solution that could be rolled out across the region and support the West Midlands ambition to be Net Zero by 2041.
The WMCA will invest £1.65m capital into Phase One of the scheme – which will eventually see a neighbourhood of up to 300 homes (a mix of privately owned and social housing properties) and associated infrastructure benefit from Net Zero measures.
Homes will undergo ‘deep retrofit’ of energy efficiency and decarbonisation measures using cutting-edge insulation with options for solar panels, batteries, and low carbon heating systems. Other measures introduced on a neighbourhood-scale could include shared bicycles, demand responsive transport, local grid trading, communal food growing initiatives, green roofs, and sustainable drainage systems.
Equans is tasked with designing and implementing zero carbon solutions, while proving a replicable finance model for greening whole neighbourhoods.
The initial concepts for a Net Zero Neighbourhood were first announced during the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021. The Net Zero Neighbourhood demonstrator follows studies which found that to date, most initiatives have only encouraged individual households to take up deep retrofit measures and cleaner heating technologies, not whole streets; thereby failing to consider the links with the local transport and the energy system that sit around the homes themselves.