Zero-carbon luxury apartment block to be built…on an Industrial Estate

environmental-tower-block-imageRevised plans have been submitted and approved for a technologically advanced block of luxury apartments to be built on a half acre ‘brownfield’ site. The site, which is located on an industrial estate in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, is earmarked to be on the H2 Crossrail route.

The 17 storey block is named ‘The Beacon’, and will use the very latest building technologies and materials to enable residents to live in luxury, and yet pay very little in the way of water, electricity and heating. The tower will comprise 272 apartments, with a communal roof-garden, gym, cinema, bar and atrium with arboretum. Glass lifts will take residents up to their apartments and to the roof, and also down to the automated car-park in the basement.

Energy-saving features include…

  • Balconies and roof spaces with solar panels generating electricity for all inhabitants, thus making it the highest density solar farm in the world;
  • Rainwater collected and used for flushing toilets and watering plants;
  • Heat exchange machinery to extract heat from waste water – such as showers and washing machines – and from ground sources to heat water;
  • Triple glazing throughout.

Studio apartments are selling for £217,950; 3 bed apartments for £527,495. Each apartment will pay an annual service charge of £1,580 (estimated), providing unlimited use of the facilities, including an electric car or bike hire and allocated parking. Each apartment will have A+++ energy efficient appliances fitted, and smart thermostats. Ventilation will also be controlled centrally to maximise efficiency for all residents.

Lumiere Developments’ Director, Ambi Singh, said “The Beacon is the result of a number of years of extremely hard work by everyone at Lumiere and our partners in the design and planning, to deliver the world’s most sustainable residential tower”.

Although this is not the first ‘green’ tower block in the world – Milan’s Bosco Verticale and Shanghai’s new Tower – it is the first residential tower block, which will aim to be energy neutral. Anbi Singh said “It should generate as much energy as it needs for its consumption – so it essentially becomes self-sustaining.”

However, the residents of Hemel Hempstead are less than impressed. It has been variously described as ‘hideous’, ‘a monstrosity’, ‘a carbuncle’ and ‘an eyesore’. And the impact on traffic? Don’t get them started!


PP 4.11.16