Images of climate innovation

Category: Sustainable world

Lilac low impact co-housing

What's this about?

Communities all over the world are building their housing where people can lead happy, green and affordable lives. They are aware that the way housing is delivered has to change to tackle the problems of social isolation, unaffordable housing and climate change. At Leeds, we are supporting a new model for community-led housing based on the Lilac project in Leeds, where residents report increased financial security, wellbeing and carbon savings compared to typical UK households.

Apartment blocks surround a pond

More detail about the research

Ensuring future housing is environmentally sustainable, affordable, and considerate of community needs are major UK policy challenges. To address this agenda, research at the University of Leeds created a low-carbon housing model and first project in Leeds incorporating a pioneering mutual ownership approach (Low Impact Living Affordable Community: Lilac).

Residents report increased financial security, wellbeing, and carbon savings compared to typical UK households. The Lilac model has created further investment from the UK government, new community housing policies, and the first UK city-region hub for community housing. Twelve further projects have since been initiated based on the Lilac project, representing over 1,200 homes extending to the Republic of Ireland.

The use of natural, high insulating materials such as straw and lime, as well as reduced car use, home composting, vegetarian diets, water-saving, and bulk food purchasing achieved an energy reduction of one-third compared to a typical UK house. This really helps reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. Lilac uses a cooperative model of ownership where the value of homes is linked to average wages rather than market value, making homes permanently affordable for future residents.

A cohousing design approach that increases shared spaces means that neighbours regularly meet increasing a sense of community, sharing, and wellbeing.

Entrant: Paul Chatterton , University of Leeds

Copyright: Paul Chatterton, Lilac MHOS Ltd