First roll-out of ‘smart grid’ technology by a major developer on a gas-free site
Latest innovation by St. Modwen to deliver greener, carbon-free homes
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street welcomes “innovative green homes of the future”
St. Modwen, a leading developer of new communities and high-quality homes, plans to deliver up to 350 new all-electric homes on the historic MG Rover site that was once home to the MINI in Birmingham.
Powered by a dedicated ‘smart grid’, electricity will be supplied and tracked across a network of homes to ensure this first phase of homes will be 100% gas-free. The innovation is believed to be the first to be used by a major developer as St. Modwen continues to pioneer sustainable new ways to build and power homes. The smart grid design is being developed alongside SNRG, specialists in next generation energy infrastructure.
This latest move follows the launch earlier in 2022 of St. Modwen’s first carbon-negative homes, a landmark trial that makes homes so airtight that they can return power to the UK grid. By using the latest construction techniques and embracing new renewable technologies such as solar panels and heat pumps, the carbon-negative homes are designed to produce more energy than they consume and could reduce a family’s total energy bills by 76%1 when compared with a standard new-build house. Aspects of this trial will be deployed in the new electric homes and in turn across all new developments by St. Modwen as carbon-reducing technology becomes standard.
Sarwjit Sambhi, CEO of St. Modwen, said: “Every organisation needs to be taking steps to deliver more sustainable products and services, but at St. Modwen we have taken leaps by introducing carbon-negative homes and smart-grid powered developments. We’re proving that greener homes can be delivered at commercial scale, something which is not just the right thing for the environment but also allows us to meet the demand of our customers.”
Caroline Hill, Managing Director, Europe, Head of Real Estate ESG at Blackstone, added: “This initiative demonstrates the role innovation can play in creating the greener, more sustainable homes we need for the future. Supporting our portfolio companies to be innovative is at the heart of what we do, and we hope it will lead to similar pioneering practices being adopted at scale and across different sectors.”
Outline planning was secured for the Longbridge site in 2021 for a total of 350 new homes. Detailed planning for the first phase is currently with the local authority, meaning new homes are expected to be built by St. Modwen Homes from the Autumn 2022.
Wider development delivering 1000s of homes and jobs
The vast site in South Birmingham is boosting the local economy, with 7,500 new jobs expected over the coming years in Longbridge. Adjacent to the new electric homes, work has started to create a large veterinary hospital, creating over 100 new full-time jobs. Further new employers are anticipated to move to the area, including a global science business, as it becomes more established as a leading hub for science and technology, medicine, advanced manufacturing and R&D.
The site has been made possible following £20 million of infrastructure investment in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Longbridge has been extensively regenerated with homes, retail, education and green spaces delivered to date. On completion of the regeneration, St. Modwen plans to create a total of 3,000 new homes, 2 million sq ft of commercial floorspace and up to 10,000 jobs at Longbridge.
Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands Combined Authority, added: “I congratulate St. Modwen on building the innovative green homes of the future right here in our region. These new homes will be wonderful places to live, boost energy efficiency and affordability and help us to tackle the climate emergency. Longbridge is a brilliant example that points the way to a more sustainable future for the West Midlands – fast becoming a fantastic hub from which to live, work and play as well as creating high quality job opportunities for our local residents along the way. I’m pleased the West Midlands Combined Authority has been able to play its part – investing over £6m at Longbridge. I wish the scheme continued success.”