Eco House

Bordon – Part of Bordon Eco Town

Client: East Hampshire District Council
Lead Consultant/Architect: BBM Sustainable Design Ltd
Cost Consultant: FT Allen Limited
Building Services Consultant: Robinson Associates Ltd
Structural Engineer: BBP Consulting Engineers
BREEAM Assessor: SRE
CDM Coordinator: Boulter Mossman Chartered Surveyors
Access Consultant: Jayne Earnscliffe
Landscape Architect: Chris Blandford Associates
Contractor: Westridge Construction Ltd

Brief Description

In order to demonstrate to existing and future residents of Whitehill & Bordon that green living can be enjoyable, East Hampshire District Council commissioned Riches Hawley Mikhail to design a two bedroom, four person exhibition house to demonstrate the opportunities of living a zero-carbon and sustainable lifestyle as well as a showcase for some of the technologies that such a lifestyle would include. BBM Sustainable Design were appointed to prepare the specification and construction information and provide contract administration services for the building phase of the project.

The brief required the house to be designed as an exhibit, open to the public for a year, and then in the future it would become a family home. The project has provided a rare opportunity to test new design solutions and technologies for carbon neutral living without losing sight of the role that design plays in creating a liveable home. The clients wanted a visible demonstration of energy use and technologies, but not at the expense of a comfortable and pleasant living environment.

The rooms in the house are organised to respond to both the environmental and exhibition requirements of the brief. A central circulation route allows easy movement of the public as for an exhibition. In terms of reducing the demand for energy to heat the house, the sedentary spaces: the living room, dining area, main bedroom and study, are located in the warmest part of the house. These south facing rooms benefit from two passive design features built into the south facing wall – a winter garden and a Trombé wall. The kitchen, bathrooms and the entrance hall are in the coldest part of the house, forming a buffer to the walls that face north and therefore don’t benefit from the warmth of the sun.

The winter garden traps heat between two layers of glass in winter, in summer the outer layer of glazing can be left permanently open, providing a covered area at ground floor for a table and chairs, and a balcony off the master bedroom at first floor level.

The Trombé wall works from the sun heating an area of clay blocks that provide thermal mass, which stores and radiates heat internally, a timber screen gives shade so the wall does not overheat in the summer.

The open circulation not only creates views to different floors but it also acts as a route for passive ventilation to all the rooms. At the centre of the staircase is a service duct connecting to the mechanical ventilation unit.

The ground floor is fully wheelchair accessible, conforming to the requirements of Lifetime Homes. This standard comprises 16 Design Criteria that can be universally applied to new homes to make them more convenient and accessible to the broadest range of homeowners including elderly people and those with physical disabilities. It includes future adaptation features which are explained in Section 8.0.

The design has considered future changes to the house and there is a clear strategy to help improve the ease for demolition and salvage.

BBM were separately commissioned to produce a Home User Guide as a best practice example of making an easy to understand manual describing the workings of the house and its systems. The guide has been conceived to communicate predominantly through illustrations and photographs with jargon-free descriptions and annotations.

Research/ Teaching, Residential