It is no surprise that we are seeing so many outstanding newly built homes being designed with the environment in mind. With the cost of power forever increasing, and as people become more aware of the impact their home is having on the environment, home owners are seeking to build homes that are not only great to look at, but are admirable in their eco-design. This home located in the small town of Nailsworth, in Gloucestershire, is a newly constructed house replacing a decrepit concrete bungalow, built using 'passive house' technology, for extremely low energy consumption. Built by local Gloucestershire architects Millar + Howard Workshop, come with us on a tour of this eco-conscious contemporary home, and learn a little about modern, eco-friendly design.
Approaching the home from one of the many quaint, narrow roads that the villages and surrounds of Gloucestershire is famous for, it does not look all that different from many other rural homes in the area. The slight elevation allows for a panoramic view of its romantic rural surrounds, and the absence of any nearby neighbours allows for total peace and tranquillity.
As you near the house, the unique façade and structural elements become more evident. A small conservatory breaks up the raw exterior materials, and serve as a passage between the two structures of the home. Larch wood has been used as the timber of choice for the decking, due to its durability and resistance. The high resin content in Larch wood is very weather resistant, therefore does not need to be treated. Due to the sun, the original colour of Larch wood will eventually turn a silver-ish timber tone. If this effect is not desired, it can easily be painted or stained to great effect.
Passive houses are those designed to maximise comfort for its occupants, while using very little energy for heating and cooling. They are built with scrupulous attention to detail, and rigorous design and construction according to the principles developed by government bodies. These principles go above and beyond any energy saving standards currently in place in the UK, with passive house designs achieving a 75% reduction in heating requirements, compared to a standard new build in the UK.
The asymmetrical protrusions in the exterior façade add character and life to the building, setting it apart from its neighbours not only in its eco-friendly design, but also in its looks, too.
To achieve the passive house standard in the UK, a house must have very high levels of insulation, high performance windows with insulated frames, and a mechanical ventilation system with super efficient heat recovery. Passive heat sources such as the sun, the occupants of the home, and the household appliances are all retained as much as possible, covering a large portion of the heating demand. This home is fuelled by a wood pellet stove, is super insulated, and makes use of solar panels and Heat Recovery Ventilation, in order to be more eco-friendly as well as cost effective.
The otherwise muted and nature inspired colour palette of the home is broken up in places with a splash of colour, as seen here with the canary yellow following you up the stairs to the second floor.
The centre of the home has been designed to be hollow, completely opening up the space. One major feature of a passive house is the presence of Heat Recovery Ventilation, or HRV. While it might be a bit of a tongue twister, the technology is rather simple, yet ingenious. Stale air from inside is replaced by fresh air through a ventilation system. This system then retains the heat from the exhaust fan dispensing the stale air, and is transferred to the fresh air. This means the heat is not lost in winter when stale air is dispensed, for example when a window is opened.
Millar + Howard Workshop have done a great job building a stand out home, and we hope this article has given you some food for thought for being more eco-friendly in your own home. To view more eco-friendly houses, click here.