Hill Holt Wood (HHW) is a 14 hectare deciduous woodland situated on the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire border, just off the A46. Hill Holt Woods Project 1 Hill Holt Wood (HHW) is a 14 hectare deciduous woodland situated on the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire border, just off the A46.
Our Sports Foundation provides sponsorship opportunities for local junior sports clubs and teams in the areas in which we are building new homes. We are commited to giving priority of employment to people living within 2 miles of each site. We will assist local labour initiatives and make a real & lasting contribution to the local community and economy.
We strive to employ local people and we are happy to enter into formal agreements to ensure that they are given employment priority.
Employees gain job related training through our CITB registered training centre at our Sheffield head office. We are dedicated to giving people the opportunity to start a career in the housebuilding industry. We provide training packages for local unemployed people to include apprenticeship schemes with the local college. Gleeson Community Challenge MakeoverAs the proud sponsors of Hallam FM & Cash For Kids™ Superhero Day, we decided to do something special and in addition to the community initiatives we undertake on a day to day basis we offered local community groups the chance to win a £10,000 makeover for their chosen project! Heeley City Farm is a community based and led training, employment and youth project employing over 30 people, mostly previously unemployed, on a range of environmentally based enterprises. Other community-based activities include environmental education, organic gardening, recycling, community composting, energy advice, and food and health projects. Having worked hard to create a super insulated low energy design, reducing the potential energy demand for the building, we worked with Steve Wade from Wind and Sun, to design and install a novel renewable wind and solar grid connected energy supply system.
The farm site had an existing grid electricity supply, to which the new building and renewables systems are connected. It was particularly important to the client and Eco Arc to construct the innovative eco building with a local community based contractor with a track record in utilising local labour with integrated training employment schemes. Gordon Wordsworth, one of the founders of Rebuild has been associated with HCF for many years. It has been inspiring to work with David Gray at Heeley City Farm on this truly up lifting community project to create integrated eco-system of human habitat in balance with the natural world. The building demonstrates a model of contemporary, bio-climatic environmental architecture within an urban brown field context.


The building is a low energy, high thermal mass, passive solar design powered by renewable energy from photovoltaics and a wind turbine. Mounted on an 11m self-supporting tower the turbine is sited nearby to the new building on higher ground so that it will receive good exposure to the wind. First developed in Germany for use with PV systems, Wind & Sun introduced the first of these inverters to the UK several years ago. The site has developed a social enterprise that currently employs fourteen people including the owners themselves.
The meetings present an opportunity to grow community spirit whilst providing residents with essential information on keeping their homes safe. We will facilitate the installation of specialist hardware such as stair lifts but we do not install these items.
The level of thermal mass has been increased to reduce the thermal fly wheel effect and the level of insulation has been bumped up to 250 mm wide full fill masonry cavities and 300 mm insulated Masonite roof structure with a living green sedum roof; to create one of the countries most highly insulated low energy (above ground) buildings powered by renewable solar and wind energy. The building design was conceived as a hybrid, with heavy weight masonry mass walls with a 250 mm wide cavity super insulated with Dritherm.
Very careful air tight detailing has reduced incidental air infiltration to a minimum around the window and door openings through the super insulated fabric of the wall structure. As hot-water requirements in the building are very low - there are no showers or kitchen - this seemed a reasonable compromise. These AC outputs are then paralleled together, synchronised with the grid supply, and can either supply power to the building's load circuits or export power to the grid as appropriate. The social enterprise primarily provides vocational training for young people (who have been excluded from school or are unemployed) and it has contracts for this with statutory agencies. In this situation the grid effectively acts as an 'energy store' instead of a site battery system, avoiding the problems and expense of managing and disposing of toxic batteries from the site at 5 to 8 yearly intervals. The building forms an integral part of the disused brown field site of demolished terraced houses.
The heating is split into three separate zones covering the main sections of the building, with simple programmable thermostats providing time and temperature control to each zone. Output and interface with the grid is via an SMA 700W Sunny Boy inverter – this could accommodate more modules, but budgetary constraints restricted the PV system to 10 modules. The wind turbine has good low wind characteristics whilst being protected against strong winds and should give reasonable yield despite the urban nature of the Sheffield site. Concerns of the Yorkshire Electricity engineers were addressed by using a commissioning procedure developed by Wind & Sun with YE to allow them to accept the wind turbine connection under the G77 guidelines.


Through the education and training provided HHW are able to address wider issues relating to youth crime, dysfunctional behaviour and educational exclusion.
A downside is that the renewables system does not act as a back-up power supply in the event of power cuts, however, this was not considered a big issue of the Heeley site.
With its living green sedum roof, it is a focal point for the inner city land reclamation project to create an urban city farm for the benefit of the whole community. Hill Holt Wood is a living wood with the founders living on site and plans for five eco-houses for employees has been submitted to North Kesteven District Council.
This 'Living Wood' approach to woodland management attracts people to the site who may otherwise be concerned with accessing woodlands alone, such as women and families. The wood is used extensively by the local community and hosts a variety of social and educational activities.
The work being carried out at HHW while appearing to be unique as a whole package within England is relevant to a range of current national and regional issues. Policies focusing on education, health, youth justice, rural development social enterprise as well as direct woodland and countryside management are relevant to the work being carried out at HHW. Since August 2005, Hill Holt Wood has been moving forward in its desire to make the site an exemplar sustainable rural community. Once completed the community will include 5 houses and community hall, built to the highest possible standards of sustainability, in Hill Holt.
These buildings will provide both models of sustainable ecobuild in a rural settings, as well as a centre of learning about sustainability and ecobuild. While the entire project has received Outline Planning Permission, the Woodland Community Hall received Full Planning Permission in August 2006.
The building design is the result of an collaborative effort between Hill Holt Wood, the University of Lincoln and Simons Design of Lincoln. The building will include a circular rammed earth conference hall with a reciprocal frame roof, wood framing and cladding from Hill Holt Wood, a solar photovoltaic array, a biofuel micro-chp system with underfloor heating, an electrical storage battery array, recycled floor tiling and insulation, rainwater harvesting and be integrated with the adjacent permaculture garden. The Woodland Community Hall will include further features in its drive to construct a building that produces significantly less Carbon Dioxide in its construction and operation than another building of equivalent size.



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