Location: Combe Down, Bath
UK Client: Homes and Communities Agency, Cox Development Partners
Start Date: September 2012
Completion Date: February 2014
Contract Value: £2.5m
Ralph Allen Yard is a comprehensive example of sustainable development (achieved through through public/private partnership) on a tight, brownfield site. It comprises;
- Nine contemporary dwellings, built to Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 (Zero Carbon) standards. - A new Community Building built to BREEAM Very Good standard.
We took a ‘fabric-first’ approach to the design, focusing on creating an efficient, well-sealed and passively controlled base-build.
It utilises the Stewart Milne Sigma 2 closed-panel, homegrown timber frame to achieve high levels of airtightness (less than 3) and excellent thermal efficiency (u-value 0.035). This is a cost-effective, fast-build system (erected and weather- tight within 4 weeks). Pre-fabricated roof cassettes and wall panels proved the ideal solution for the restricted access site and helped to reduce on-site wastage.
The buildings have a south-facing aspect designed to maximise low angle solar gain in Winter, with canopies to shade from high angle Summer sun. The extendable, south-facing sunspaces act as a thermal buffer.
Motorised roof lights are integrated into the roof to distribute natural light deep into each house, with full-height light wells allow whole-house natural ventilation via stack effect.
The southern aspect also optimises performance of the integrated solar PV on the pitched roofs, with bio-diverse green roofs, housing many native plant species, on the flat roofs.
Water conservation is by a communal rainwater harvesting scheme, supplying water to flush toilets, with a SUDs system further reducing surface water run-off via permeable paving and soakaways.
Our legacy is be a positive lasting addition to the community of Combe Down with the lowest energy homes in Bath. Most importantly, the development includes a Community Centre used to record and inform about the past, and also used to educate people about the future of sustainable development.