Luxury housebuilder Woodstock Homes chooses metered estate from Calor for bijou development
Comfort and familiarity
Woodstock Homes uses mains gas for the majority of its sites, but Chewton Court’s rural location meant this was not a viable option. Keen to give its homebuyers the convenience and familiarity of gas, Woodstock Homes opted for LPG from Calor as the best off-grid energy supply.
“We knew that LPG would be our preferred option for this site as it has so many practical and cost advantages for a housebuilder over other off-grid options,” says Peter Hurst, Technical Manager for Woodstock Homes.
“Air source heat pumps may work well in theory but, in practical terms will emit some noise when in use and the control and operation of this technology is significantly different to mains gas.
“Electric heating is a non-starter for a development of this nature due to its running costs and it would be difficult to meet SAP standards. As for oil heating, this would require each property to have an individual oil tank in the garden, which would severely limit its use by prospective homebuyers.”
Woodstock Homes was convinced to opt for LPG for Chewton Court when Calor explained that even though the development consisted of just four plots, they would still be able to benefit from a communal metered supply.
“The original plan was for each property to have its own individual LPG tank. However, with the area in front of each property designed to house a double garage and off-street parking, underground LPG tanks would need to be installed in the rear,” explains Peter Hurst. “This would have meant that once we’d allowed the necessary safety clearance of 3m radius from the tank lid, it would have heavily restricted the ability of future purchasers to develop their back gardens. It would be more difficult to install features such as conservatories, summer houses, gazebos, BBQ areas, swimming pools and hot tubs, for example. We felt that explaining this to potential purchasers might be viewed negatively.”
However, Calor explained that due to the energy efficiency of the new homes, a single 4000L underground tank would be able to meet the gas demands for all four properties on site and this could be sited in the landscaped area at the far end of the development. This meant there would be no loss of open space or limitations on the use of the gardens on individual plots.
Just like mains gas, the LPG is distributed through a network of underground pipes directly to each home, each of which is individually metered. This allows homeowners to be invoiced directly by Calor for their household consumption, which means that on completion of the development Woodstock Homes will not need to be involved with its energy supply on an ongoing basis.
“As Calor explained that they would remotely monitor the amount of LPG in the tank and top it up when required, it limits the amount of time that an LPG tanker would need to be on the development,” says Peter Hurst. “There’s also no need to access rear gardens, as would have been the case with individual tanks, so homeowners won’t have to spend time making access arrangements for refilling.”
Woodstock Homes believes it has helped saleability to be able to offer prospective purchasers full gas central heating and half of the homes, on the market for £900,000 or more, have already been sold. “The fact it’s just like being on mains gas, with a meter and monthly or quarterly bills puts people’s minds at rest,” says Peter Hurst.
“They also like Calor’s commitment to fix the price of LPG for the first 12 months from the date of moving into the property and its pledge that all residents on the development will pay the same price per litre for their LPG. What’s more, Calor confirmed that residents would be free to switch supplier after two years, if all the residents agree, without needing to change tanks or meters .”
With the cost of connection to the mains gas grid prohibitive for just four homes, Calor LPG made this small but perfectly formed development financially viable for Woodside Homes and a comfortable, attractive place to live for future residents