The Green House
The energy used in the house will be from a combination of solar heat and biomass. The orientation of the house and its south facing glazing together with its high level of insulation has reduced the energy requirements to a level where they can be provided over the year by photovoltaic solar panels and a biomass cooker with an integrated boiler. This will ensure that all of the energy used in the house is from renewable sources and that the it is truely carbon neutral.Solar thermal panels will capture energy for water heating and the showers will be fitted with heat recovery heat exchangers.
The Predicted Energy Assessment of the design indicates an Energy Efficiency Rating of 97% and we are working to see how we can improve this. The Environmental Impact (CO2) Rating is 105%
Althought most of the dwelling will be below the ground level the hillside nature of the site allows the reception rooms to open onto a small recreational garden. In the centre of the house is a large covered courtyard which brings light into the centre of the house and plants in this area will create an outside – inside environment. The bedrooms lead off the courtyard and windows will ensure that all living room will have natural light.
The dwelling will be airtight and have a mechanical heat recovery system which will ensure there are three air changes per hour throught the house. Windows in the roofs will be automatically controlled to efficiently ensure a controlled climate. The house will be well lit by led spotlights which, with the controlled ventilation, will ensure that although the living space is below the ground there all will be light and airy. These systems will be fed from batteries and inverters to ensure they are protected from external power failures.
The design of the house, hidden in a slope with a garden and having no features above the ground that would not be found in a rural garden, minimises the impact on the visual environment. Although it is in an area of outstanding natural beauty it has been accepted by the planning authorities as harmonising with the environment. The roof top garden will allow vegetables to be grown for consumption by the residents and will provide for opportunities to recycle organic matter.
Rainwater will be collected and utilised for the garden, flushing toilets and washing. Electricity will be generated from solar panels and the excess exported to the national grid. Wood will be used for cooking, heating and hot water, which together with the solar energy will ensure that there is no caron footprint without external offsets.