The Perfectly Passive House

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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It's no secret that eco concerns are being pushed into the spotlight and the construction world is having to sit up and take notice. With this in mind, the design sector is making light work of separating those than can and do support more environmentally-friendly techniques and those that don't.

A new build in Stalham Staithe, Norfolk, this house has been totally designed and built with Passivehaus principles at the core and the design team revealed that, ’A number of key factors were instrumental in establishing a brief for the new home. From the outset the client was keen to provide an environmentally responsive and sustainably designed solution with the garden pond to remain a central feature. The new house is approx. 110sqm and comprises of a kitchen, an open plan living room, dining room with three bedrooms and bathrooms and a dedicated utility/plant room. The ubiquitous barn profile provides a simple form of accommodation, which predominates in the local area.’ 

Taking into account both eco and aesthetic values, this house is a design triumph, so let's take a closer look.

Nothing passive about the impact

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus): modern Houses by Forrester Architects
Forrester Architects

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus)

Forrester Architects

While this may be a fantastic example of a passive house in situ, there is certainly nothing played down about the impact that the home has, visually. A large project fully clad with vertical slabs of wood, there is no getting away from the fact that this is as beautiful as it is eco-friendly.

Forrester Architects have strived to create a home that can blend into the surroundings and not make a jarring disconnect from the wider locality. While the house is certainly eye-catching, it is not for negative reasons and as the cladding ages, the camouflage will really start to take shape!

Minimal windows

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus): modern Houses by Forrester Architects
Forrester Architects

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus)

Forrester Architects

You might have noticed that there isn't a huge amount of glazing in place and that is for good reason! A passive house seeks to reduce energy loss at every turn, so by significantly limiting the fenestration, so too do you reduce the likelihood of energy loss. Clever stuff!

From this angle, the house has a slightly monolithic feel about it, but don't be fooled into believing that this is a dark and imposing home, as while there may not be a huge number of windows, there are other innovations that have been put into place!

Up on the roof

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus): modern Houses by Forrester Architects
Forrester Architects

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus)

Forrester Architects

Move up to the roof and you can see that the windows that have been included have been done so with expert precision. Though small, they are angled to capture dazzling sunlight wherever it is in the sky, with a view to flooding the interior wit the bright rays. Now that really is a case of less is more!

We think the use of solar panels is fantastic here, as not only does the house seek to expel as little energy as possible, it also actively replenishes and makes its own surplus! Imagine being able to set all your kitchen appliances, such as a washing machine, on a timer to run at midday; you'd barely have to pay an electricity bill again!

Perfectly positioned

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus): modern Houses by Forrester Architects
Forrester Architects

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus)

Forrester Architects

Here we can see some of the windows that have been included, but again, there is nothing oversized or out of place. It's refreshing to see, given that so many modern builds have used glazing wherever possible! In this wooden fort of a home though, it's all about eco preservation; the breathtaking aesthetics are merely an added bonus!

We can now see that mature gardens are in place as well, helping to bed the house into the landscape. We really would be interested to see how the wood ages and further integrates itself into nature!

Cautiously classic

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus): modern Dining room by Forrester Architects
Forrester Architects

Pond House_Passive House (Passivhaus)

Forrester Architects

Given all the future-proofed technology, eco concerns and modern design that permeate this home, we were a little surprised to see how classically the interior has been decorated, but in a good way. It's the perfect marriage of old and new, with period furniture and art being forever preserved in this conservation castle.

From here, you can see that there is no shortage of natural light and that the sloping roof makes for a beautiful interior, as well as a perfectly angled solar platform. Divine!

For more eco-home inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: 6 Simple Steps To A More Eco-Friendly Home. Even the smallest innovations can have a huge impact.

Would you be keen to take on a passive house build? How would you decorate yours? Share your thoughts with us...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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