Sited within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Hertfordshire the plot Celia and Diana chose had a rather tired bungalow on it. Facit Homes design team engaged in detailed dialogue with the local planning department at Dacorum throughout the design process. The planning officers were enthusiastic about replacing the existing, tired property with a good quality, contemporary design and gave credit to the low carbon nature of the project. Due to the sensitive location, the project was presented to the local planning committee, where 10 out of the 13 councillors praised the design and granted permission.
The new house makes better use of the symmetry and orientation of the site, whilst the overall massing is sympathetic to the location and its neighbours. Large, south facing windows help to keep the house warm in the winter, and solar shading help to keep heat gains to a minimum in summer. The house uses natural, unfinished materials to blend in with its rural context. Diana is a super keen gardener and has set herself the task of restoring the garden to its former glory and creating a new Japanese garden from scratch. The house requires a heating system with an output of just 4 kW (the equivalent of a single radiator) for the entire 200 sqm house! Facit buildings are designed to be airtight, so as not to lose heat. This necessitates the implementation of a heat recovery system that draws in fresh air and expels stale air, while retaining the warmth.