Low Energy House

This individually designed low energy detached house is set within the local conservation area. The house was designed to suit a client with severe disabilities, and this dictated that the ground floor was fully accessible and without corridors. The layout is based around a central double height kitchen and dining space that acts as the ‘hub of the home’, providing direct access to a ground floor living room, bedroom and accessible bathroom.

The design intention was to mix both traditional and contemporary forms, but to blend these together through the use of high quality local materials. The building reinterprets the materials, shapes and detailing found within the local area with a contemporary twist, and the design approach received the full support of the conservation officer during the early planning consultations. The house is composed of two clearly expressed elements linked by a central double height galleried space. The element facing the street has a conventional pitched slate roof over traditional stone walling but with sharply detailed ashlar stonework, zinc canopy and zinc rainwater goods. The rear has a much more contemporary appearance with a mono pitched zinc roof, sweet chestnut timber cladding and metal sun shading. Chimney stacks are expressed as a strong vertical element of the design which is typical within the surrounding conservation area.

The house is very low energy design, using many ecological products from Natural Building Technologies (NBT) such as clay Thermoplan masonry blocks that provide high levels of insulation and thermal mass and wood fibre insulation. The scheme also includes solar panels and a very efficient Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery system (MVHR) for high levels of indoor air quality. Large windows
bring in generous amounts of daylight to the rear elevation, and sun shading is an integral part of the design to prevent overheating.

The project was constructed by Lamburn Geekie Contractors to an exceptionally high standard and was completed in 2009.