THE VERY FIRST OAK FRAMED PASSIVHAUS HOME IN THE UK
Much conventional traditional housing in the UK is very poorly designed in terms of energy conservation and ecological awareness. Most houses are poorly insulated and consume unnecessarily high levels of energy (usually from non-renewable sources) and at the same time produce high levels of waste and pollution. Such energy consumption occurs initially when the building is constructed, continues throughout its life time (through the fossil fuel resource demands of use, repairs and renewals) and extends beyond its removal because its demolition wastes then have to be accommodated elsewhere. For Dr Garnett’s project, we proposed a sustainable approach in line with many of the Scarborough Borough Council policies relating to physical, social, economic and sustainability issues. On a broader level, the proposals for the project also supported several other policies and statements including the following:
• The UK Government’s ‘Communities and Local Government’ national planning guidance for sustainable development.
• The UK Government’s commitment under the Kyoto Protocol and additional target to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of the 1990 level by 2012.
• The Royal Commission on Environment Pollution recommendation to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% of the 1990 level by 2050.
• The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific assessment and recommendations to act.
• The UK Government’s ‘Code for Sustainable Homes ‘recommendations for Level 6 carbon neutral homes.
THE OAK PASSIVHAUS DESIGN BRIEF
The proposed house needed to be a low carbon, eco-dwelling within a traditionally scaled envelope. It needed be a low embodied energy, super insulated, Passive House construction. Most of the space heating was to be from passive solar gain, heat generated by the occupants, domestic electrical appliances and heat recovered from the mechanical ventilation system.
Resources consumed in and during construction were vigorously considered, and used as efficiently as possible, so that the resource could be reused or recycled without creating carbon emissions, pollution or rubbish. This awareness of the cyclical nature of the eco-systems offered a demonstration of a sustainable way forward in which we the couple would live in balance with the natural world.
This joint project from Oakwrights & Ecoarc, was very much led by the vision of the self-builder Dr Garnett and is currently being considered for several awards. Look out on the Oakwrights Social media platforms for updates.