Friday, April 23, 2010

Zero carbon house

Birmingham, UK
Architect John Christophers has completed a project to make his early Victorian two-bedroom semi-detached house more energy efficient as well as extending it to more than double its size. Retrofitting existing housing stock is becoming an increasingly important way of helping the UK meet its carbon emission targets. The development features more than 14 reclaimed materials such as treads made from reclaimed 200-year-old Canadian honeydew maple, once a floor to a silk factory. 100% recycled waste newspaper Warmcell 500 insulation has been used to line the inside of the existing front elevation of the house. Other sustainable aspects include: 36sq m of photovoltaics to generate electricity; the presence of vacuum tube solar panels to provide about 70% of the hot water used; a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system; a wood burning stove; and a rainwater harvesting tank.

The Building Research Establishment has awarded the house level 6 or zero carbon of the Code for Sustainable Homes. “The code rating is based on the whole house without differentiating between the new and the old,” explains Mr Christophers, “The old house has reached the same very demanding standard as the new.”

Since its construction, Christophers and his family have held nine open days aimed at raising awareness and an understanding of sustainability and “to evangelise and inspire enthusiasm”, he says.

Above: Treads made from reclaimed timber.


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