People, and the things they do, generate heat all the time. This should be enough to keep warm inside a home on a freezing, overcast day. Achieving this means that a building is sustainable. This is the first premise of the design of Max Fordham’s house.
Designed and built in collaboration with Max, bere:architects, Price & Myers and Bow Tie Construction, this three-bedroom Passivhaus home is an exemplar of collaboration, innovation and solution-focused design. Set in a tight, urban infill site, previously Max’s garden, the project shows what is possible and achievable as a technical concept for the housing sector.
“An important test bed project for a lifelong environmental innovator”
RIBA London Sustainability Award Winner 2019
The building’s thermal envelope, its ventilation system and its windows are designed so that the heat loss on a freezing cold winter’s day is no more than the heat generated by people living in the house.
The high performance thermal envelope completely wraps the building’s structure, eliminating thermal bridges. The envelope is also airtight, eliminating uncontrolled air exchange. The ventilation provision needed to provide healthy environments is then controlled and minimised mechanically, with heat recovery efficiency in excess of 90%.
As well as providing beautiful daylight, windows allow solar radiation to warm a house during the day. At night, a window typically loses ten times as much heat as a wall. On freezing overcast days, more heat is lost through a window at night than gained during the day. We have altered the behaviour of the windows so that they are net contributors to the building’s heat balance, even on a freezing, overcast day. Automated, insulated shutters allow the windows to become much more insulating at night so that the windows are thermally a net benefit every day. The windows and their positions are designed so that electrical lights are not needed during the day.