Exemplar Projects

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Examples of new build sustainable and green housing

This page outlines a number of examples of local and national housing projects that demonstrate one or several sustainability considerations. You can obtain fuller details of these examples by downloading the attached file of written information, and the picture files associated with the case studies.

Local Examples

Local examples of existing developments relevant to 'sustainable housing' that are already known in the area, include:

Examples in Mendip
Eco House - Lower Coxbridge

Lower Coxbridge, Near Glastonbury. Architect: Mark Orme; Contractor: Chris Anderson.
An energy and water efficient stone and timber-clad house designed by and for architect Mark Orme and his family, using a timber frame-masonite-warmcell system. The house uses passive solar gain and lots of natural lighting ....

Eco House - Lower Coxbridge

Low Impact
Low impact developments in Mendip include bender communities at the Kings Hill Collective (planning application submitted for 5 year temporary use) and Dragon Hill. The King's Hill application has just gone to a Public Inquiry ...

Straw Bale Studio, Dragonworks, Leigh-on-Mendip
This is not a house but it is a useful local example of a straw bale building has been granted planning permission and built locally. A design studio, with large light-and-warmth creating south-facing windows ....

Examples In South Somerset

House at Bruton
Architect: John Dodds (Devon), Contractor: Tom Gillam (Glastonbury)
This house is a self-contained three bedroom two-storey extension built in 1997. It has shingle cladding ... It cost no more to build than a more conventional house, and provides a good example of what can be easily achieved ...

South PethertonSouth Petherton

Camelot Self Build, South Petherton
Camelot Self Build Housing Co-operative; Architect: Innis Wilkins via Knightstone Housing Association; Project Manager: Chris Anderson; Assisted by: The Walter Segal Self-Build Trust.
This is a self-build, affordable housing project of 11 houses, from 3 to 6 bedrooms, for Knightstone Housing Association - the residents moved in during November 1997. The project used the 'Walter Segal' system ...

Low Impact
Local low impact developments include Turner's Field and the 'bender' communities of Tinkers' Bubble. Tinkers Bubble gained five year temporary planning permission in 1999, based on a Section 106 agreement ...

Large Section Softwood Timber Frame, Keinton Mandeville
Design and Main Contractor: The Timber Frame Co. Ltd with Gary Bain Architects. The area's first large section UK grown softwood timber frame house ... The enthusiasm of the timber framer involved change this from being a fairly typical part timber frame house to one with much higher levels of sustainability. The clients are delighted with the outcome....

Taunton Deane

Housing Association Eco-House, Taunton
Knightstone Housing Association have built an energy and water efficient timber frame house in Alfred Street in central Taunton ... going for a BREEAM green building award. The house is timber-frame, has no car parking space, and also includes grey-water recycling, a cycle lock-up and in-built systems to aid recycling ....

UK Examples of Sustainable and Green Housing Projects

All the following projects prove very clearly that 'it can be done'.
The Findhorn community in north-east Scotland promotes the integration of environmental and community awareness into people's lifestyle and spiritual philosophy. Since the 1980's the Findhorn Foundation has been gradually building a demonstration eco-village.
Walter Segal Self-Build Housing Projects
These are timber frame houses designed to be relatively simple to construct and therefore amenable to a low skill self-build process. The Walter Segal Trust generally fosters an environmentally and socially aware approach to building, and the Trust has won a number of awards for environmentally aware design, primarily for its community buildings.
Integrated Solar House Built in the 1970's at Brighton Polytechnic
This house was built at very low cost by John Shore and Frances Pulling as a research project with Brighton Polytechnic (as it then was). It was designed to be very low cost and very high efficiency, generating its own power and collecting its own water. In the modern era, it was probably the UK's first example of a truly 'sustainable house' ...
Brian Stichcombe's Straw Bale House, Brecon.
This straw bale house at Cwmdu in the Brecon National Park provides a very valuable planning precedent. Brecon National Park is the planning authority rather than the local Council. The fact that the house has been granted permission (after a long battle with the local planners) in a National Park, means that it can be used as an example ...
Environment Trust 'Green Homes' Projects
This is one of the most important examples of a sustainable housing project as it integrates economic and community issues into the project as well as technical design issues. The Environment Trust's Green Homes are brick built, energy efficient houses, that are built and managed in order to secure long term affordability of housing .... (Download more info here).
Darnall Houses, North Sheffield Housing Association
North Sheffield Housing Association have demonstrated that advanced environmental concepts can be incorporated in housing within conventional budgets. This case study illustrates how the principles of green architecture can be put into practice. Two semi-detached, three bedroom houses ... Built of locally produced bricks ...
ZED: Zero Energy Development, Bio-Regional Development Group, Sutton, Surrey.
This is a large scale integrated, mixed development project, including up to 100 homes and work space for up to 20 businesses, in Sutton (Surrey). Lead by the BioRegional Development Group and the Peabody Trust, London's largest housing association. The project was able to come about because of a innovative and pioneering policy that Sutton's Councillors and Officers chose to include in the local plan .... The project has also valued the additional environmental benefits that will arise as a result of the development's high degree of sustainability. This led to an important ruling by the DETR on valuing environmental benefits which could be very important for Councils that want to encourage affordable sustainable housing projects ...
Architype EcoLite Houses
Architype have launched their EcoLite housing, which they propose is a total housebuilding solution to Agenda 21 requirements. The houses are built from low impact materials, the shell can be constructed in a single day, and heating costs are claimed to be as low as £1.00 per week for a family house ....
Comely Green Place Sustainable Housing Project, Edinburgh.
This is described by project partners Wren & Bell as 'the largest sustainable housing project in Scotland'. Comely Green will provide social housing based around a number of four-storey blocks of flats built with timber frame system. One of the main aims of the project is to encourage more sustainable building development in the future ...
Eco-House 'Showhomes'
Two good examples of eco-house 'showhomes' that demonstrate a wide range of low energy, low water-use, natural material solutions, and clever design, are the Ecohome at the CREATE Centre in Smeaton Road, Bristol (Tel: ) and the EcoHouse run by Environ in Leicester (Tel: ).
North British, the county's largest housing association, has recently launched a joint venture company to produce factory made sustainable timber framed housing which is ecologically sound and economical to build. The Greenframe project has been developed with TRADA, the BRE and Huddersfield Technical College ...
The Living Village Trust and The Six Bells Housing Project
The Living Village Trust is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee which is run by a paid board of directors. The inspiration of the trust was a belief in the need for sustainable development that creates local identity, community spirit, self sufficiency (in the broadest sense) and environmental awareness through good design and construction.
Daily Telegraph Best Contemporary House 1998, South Devon
John and Mandy Perry's house in South Devon was built with a green-oak frame, rammed earth and local stone walls. Two innovative features are that the house is divided in two by an internal greenhouse garden, which also forms the main entrance, and also has its living accommodation on the first floor to take advantage of wonderful views ...
The Hockerton Housing Project
This is a development of five earth sheltered houses on a 25 acre site. The houses are amongst the most energy efficient, purpose built dwellings in Europe. They are designed to have no secondary heating requirements and all energy needs will be supplied by renewables ....
The MERCi Green Building Skills Course
Whilst not a project that built houses, the green building skills course run by the Manchester Environmental Resource Centre in 1998 is highly relevant. The pilot project involved training six unemployed single mums in basic green building skills, and was totally oversubscribed. One trainee is now on a full-time construction course ....

International Examples

A number of international examples are also relevant; most are included in a separate document.
The Village Homes Development, City of Davis, California
Nearly every week, foreign dignitaries and notables from the United States visit Village Homes, a 240-home 60-acre development designed in 1975 to recreate a traditional sense of community and to conserve energy and water in the most efficient way possible. Solar water heating and passive space heating designs are incorporated into the design ...


Energy Efficient Refurbishment: Newark and Sherwood District Council
The energy conservation programme implemented by Newark and Sherwood District Council influenced the accounts of the property services and housing departments, the health authority (which benefited significantly because of healthier tenants), and social services (less benefits to pay because of the employment generated). ... on an outlay of £16.4 million on 7127 dwellings, there was a simple payback period of 3.9 years ...
The Wise Group, Glasgow
The Wise Group is a highly successful job creation, economic development and training project based on the refurbishment of social housing in run-down areas for increased energy efficiency, poverty reduction, environmental improvement, job creation and community regeneration ...  (Download more info here).
Mendip Affordable Warmth Programme
Mendip Council's affordable warmth programme for its housing stock was initiated in 1991, and is seen as one of several Best Practice examples in local government circles. The programme has had high levels of tenant involvement throughout and has raised NHER (National Home Energy Rating) values in Council housing stock from an average of 3 in 1991 to an average of 7 in 1999. In particular the strategy is noteworthy for charging lower rents for less efficient homes. Mendip are now working to extend the programme to private sector rented housing.
Contact: David Lindsey-Bloom, Energy Efficiency Officer.
House Renovations and Conversions
There are now many, many examples of ecological and energy efficient house renovation or conversion projects. For example Gale & Snowden Architects in north Devon have been involved in both small and large house projects involving sensitive conversion or refurbishment. Many members of the EDA, the Permaculture Association and AECB have worked on their own home - over the years the magazines of all these organisations have included many informative articles on such projects. These organisations are good sources for advice and contacts for architects, builders and interior designers that understand the principles and practice of sustainable house refurbishment or conversion.



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