Hockerton Housing Project (HHP) is a community of five sustainable homes, with a co-operative business on-site running a range of educational and advisory services in sustainable buildings and lifestyles.
Hockerton’s earth-sheltered homes were built in the late 1990s with high thermal mass and high levels of insulation to eliminate the need for heating systems. Their innovative design has proven itself, as the homes use 20% of the average UK home’s energy use, but still keep cool in summer and warm in winter. Onsite wind turbines and solar PV panels generate their own clean energy to meet much of the homes’ remaining energy needs.
The co-housing approach, where individual homes are private, but land, water and energy systems are shared, enables residents to do more with less. It also encourages social interaction and skills which can be lost in more insular housing developments.
– Food is grown communally, with households growing 50 – 80 per cent of their fruit and vegetables
– Chickens provide eggs for residents, bees pollinate the orchard and provide honey, and sheep are kept for grazing and meat
– The 15 acre site provides food, renewable energy and a water catchment area, but also offers space for social activities with a woodland walk, a lake and a football/volleyball pitch
– Residents pay for their energy proportionate to their use, and any income from exported energy and the Feed in Tariff is shared equally.
Each household contributes 300 hours a year to food-growing, land maintenance and managing water and energy systems, with tasks agreed in line with interests, ability and availability.
HHP runs a a not-for-profit co-operative which hosts tours and courses for all ages (see website for details), and provides consultancy services to help others deliver sustainability in their home, community or workplace. The original planning permission required the Project to generate employment, and it provides income and flexible employment for each of the households with jobs following members’ interests, skills and availability provided they fall within the broad remit of promoting sustainable living.