Lighthouse, the first net zero carbon house in the UK has opened at the BRE's OFFSITE2007 exhibition. With unrivalled levels of efficiency in terms of the construction method, energy use, CO 2 emissions and carbon footprint, this high performance, prototype sustainable home is the first to achieve the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6, the standard to which all new homes should be designed and constructed by 2016.
Designed by Sheppard Robson with Kingspan Off-Site and engineers Arup the Lighthouse prototype is a two-and-a-half storey two/three-bedroom house, part of a family of houses and apartments, which explore how housing can respond to changing demographics to create socially varied sustainable communities. It creates a new model for future living, challenging the traditional house layout to encourage lifestyles, which are inherently 'light' on the world's resources.
The Lighthouse is a simple form derived from a 40 degree pitched roof accommodating the PV array. It is constructed using Kingspan Off-Site's TEK Building System, a high performance SIP's (Structural Insulated Panel) based system which, for the Lighthouse, will provide a high level of thermal insulation and performance, reducing the heat loss by potentially two thirds of a standard new house. The architectural form is defined by a sweeping roof which envelops the central design concept - a generous open-plan, top-lit, double height living space.
"The environmental criteria has given us an opportunity to explore architectural solutions to modern living with sustainability integral to the design.' says Dan Burr design director for the project. "Houses need to be attractive places to live where the environmental systems and construction methods do not compromise the occupant's quality of life or their ability to adapt their home in the future. To this end, the Lighthouse situates the living space on the upper levels making the most of the light with sleeping accommodation at ground level; leaving an impression of space and light within otherwise compact dimensions."
Lighthouse is future-proofed to address predicted increase in temperature due to climate change. This is achieved through the incorporation of a wind catcher providing passive cooling and ventilation and bringing daylight and reflected sunlight into the heart of the home and supported by window openings on the east and west elevations, shaded by balconies and shutters to restrict direct sunlight and heat gain.
Integrated building services include water efficiency techniques, such as low volume, water efficient sanitary ware and appliances, renewable energy technologies, including a biomass boiler, building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) and solar-thermal array, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR). Services in the Lighthouse will also be integrated with smart metering and monitoring, which records energy consumption and enables occupants to identify if any wastage is occurring, helping to promote more environmentally aware lifestyles. Designed in line with Lifetime Homes and Scheme Development Standards, every building material has also been specified according to its ability to optimise the sustainable credentials of the house design.
This house has practically no impact on the local environment and puts very little pressure on utilities. Despite its overwhelmingly green credentials it is a building that does not compromise on the design elements.
ARCHITECT: SHEPPARD ROBSON