Pioneering eco-friendly house for sale in Leeds city center with a heating bill of just £200 a year

Tried and tested isn’t a phrase usually associated with houses for sale, but if it were then Jonathan Wilson’s property, now on the market for £635,000 with The Modern House, would get 10 out of 10 and one star from gold to start.

Director of development for pioneering homebuilder CITU, he went beyond the call of duty by selling his Victorian home in North Leeds so he could buy one of the first properties in the climate innovation district in multi-award-winning zero-carbon property which is within walking distance of Leeds city center by the River Aire.

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The purchase aimed for perfection, as Jonathan used his prototype townhouse in the alluringly-named Secret Garden as a test bed for a multitude of design ideas. Many of these ideas are now being translated into apartments and homes in the next phases of construction on the groundbreaking 15-acre site, which will eventually contain 1,000 eco-friendly homes and six acres of open green space.

CITU Director of Development Jonathan Wilson is selling his pioneering home in the Climate Innovation District to buy another prototype property there.

When completed by 2030, the Climate Innovation District will be the UK’s largest sustainable urban development, with a primary school, care home, bars, restaurants, cafes and bakery. Across the river and accessed by a new bridge is CITU Works, the company’s offsite manufacturing facility, and its contemporary HQ, The Place.

The decision to sell the ideal home that Jonathan shares with his partner Millie Duncan, a researcher specializing in reducing carbon emissions, is in the name of continuous innovation. They are moving to do another prototype project in the neighborhood’s newest apartments, Aire Lofts.

“We’re going to use it to try new ideas while allowing things to go wrong with the goal of breaking the rules to do them again,” says Jonathan, who adds, “We’ve lived in the neighborhood for 18 months and we love it. love, which is why we’re not leaving. I’m not sure we can now. The most noticeable life change for us has been the place itself. Living in a neighborhood full of biodiversity with public and semi-private open spaces to use while watching the community around me grow, develop and prosper has been a joy.

“As the person responsible for designing and building places at Citu, being able to see firsthand what works and what doesn’t has been invaluable, plus being a 15 minute walk from the train station and downtown has been transformational, reducing our car miles by 94%.

dining area is filled with light and views” height=”1175″ width=”1762″ srcset=” 320w, 640w” layout=”intrinsic” class=”i-amphtml-layout-intrinsic i-amphtml-layout-size-defined” i-amphtml-layout=”intrinsic”>
The kitchen dining area is filled with light and views

Designed with Swedish place-making experts White Arkitekter, the neighborhood banishes vehicles to a basement, so the development is car-free. People can meet, relax and chat in the streets and on the common terrace by the river. While the houses have gardens, there are no fences so there is no physical barrier to the neighborhood.

Buyers won’t miss Jonathan’s contemporary three-story townhouse, which was designed to maximize views, natural light and space. Another big selling point is its energy efficiency.

The Scandinavian-inspired timber-frame house with rainscreen cladding, triple-glazed doors and windows, and green roof is airtight and has a mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system and solar panels. “We reduced the number of heaters to one and only used it in the winter, so the heating bill for a whole year was £200,” says Jonathan.

The property’s interiors bear the hallmark of Jonathan’s design hero, Dieter Rams, whose ethos is “less is better.” There are no architraves and no plinths and space-saving sliding doors were used.

Room with a view

The downstairs concrete floor and plywood floors on the two upper levels were left exposed and an extra long kitchen island proved perfect for entertaining.

“This whole experience has developed my point of view and that of CITU Design,” says Jonathan, who loves trial and error and moves walls when things don’t line up or he doesn’t get the view he needs. ‘He wishes.

“The design is very contemporary and minimalist, but even people who aren’t in it fall in love with the house because it’s quiet. We didn’t want to be surrounded by things,” he says.

Visitors have compared the property to an art gallery, which is a compliment he loves, although the biggest talking point is the netting, typically used on catamarans, that hangs above the skylight triple height at the back of the house.

The lounge area on the ground floor

It’s perfectly safe and features in the Climate Innovation District’s new show home as an added extra that buyers can opt into.

“We use it every night. Lying there you can see the stars through the skylight and we also have a projector up there so we often throw pillows and watch a movie,” says Jonathan.

One of Millie’s favorite spaces is her bedroom with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the river and trees. “It’s like you can be in the middle of the countryside, even though you’re a 10-minute walk from Leeds city centre,” she says.

The ground floor of the three-storey house includes a large dining area and kitchen, living area, toilet and hidden storage. On the first floor there is a bedroom/living room, a work area and a shower room. The second floor has two bedrooms, including a master suite with shower room and Juliet balcony. Outside is a seating area, shared gardens by the river and a garage in the underground car park.

Jonathan concludes: “The learning will never stop, but this house has been a catalyst for progressive and fun development.” For more details on the sale of the house at Secret Garden, visit

* A new show house has now opened at CITU’s Climate Innovation District, Leeds. The super stylish property provides a viewing experience for those looking to purchase a home or one of Aire Lofts new apartments. Apartment prices range from £198,500 to £295,000. Pictured is part of the site with Aire Lofts, on the right. The showhome showcases collaborations of brands, artists and manufacturers. For more details, visit the CITU website,

One of the bedrooms with a breathtaking view of the river

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Top left is the second floor net/hammock which has a view of the stars
This seating area has a view of the river

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