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Stackyard News May 2012

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Revolutionary ‘Lily Pad’ Eco Home Gets Go Ahead

A revolutionary ‘energy neutral’ eco house which will produce its own electricity and sell the excess it creates back into the grid has been granted planning permission.

An artisit's impression of The Craves

Lily Pad eco home

“The Craves” will be a brand new 4 bedroom property built in Little Harrowden, Northamptonshire and will be constructed using novel sustainable construction techniques with innovative renewable energy capture and storage facilities. It will feature a range of cutting edge renewable energy technologies allowing it to be self sufficient in terms of energy and services, utilising photovoltaic panels, passive solar gain, ground source heat pumps, and storage of energy within the building itself.

Costing in excess of £500k to build, the property is designed to blend in with its natural surroundings, sitting adjacent to a lake and using low reflectivity external finishes. The building comprises two main rotunda towers which will accommodate the main living space and are designed to look like Lily Pads from above, as befits its lakeside setting. The rotundas are linked by a large atrium and entrance hall, with substantial glazing, which forms an integrated part of the energy flow and ventilation systems.

The house was designed by Home Revolution Limited, a company specialising in the creation of innovative buildings that minimise energy usage and maximise renewable energy capture and storage. Their first project several years ago was a rotating house that is able to track the sun for solar heating, or turn away from the sun for cooling. The Craves will be built to an air tight specification, featuring mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, gaining most of its heat from passive solar and water source heat pumps.

Thermal stores within the building will provide cooling during hot weather and heating during cold weather. The lower floors feature battered walls with a locally coloured stone or brick, while the upper floor is covered with external zinc cladding. The roof, with large overhangs to provide solar shading, is water proofed in seamless fibre glass, with a sedum growing layer on top. Power will be provided by a 20 kWp solar PV array.

Fisher German were instrumental in establishing Home Revolution with Robin Hamilton and architects CadenzaVM. The three organisations work very closely together, and Fisher German’s planning expertise established that the building would be outstanding and exceptional from the point of view of contemporary design in order to gain planning permission.

Kay Davies, head of Planning at Fisher German, comments “Gaining planning permission for dwellings in the countryside is notoriously difficult unless they are for agricultural purposes. However, where a dwelling is so exceptional in terms of the highest standards of architecture and innovative design, National Planning Policy provides a window of opportunity to bring forward such projects. We were able to demonstrate that The Craves met this extremely high standard and secure planning permission.”

Construction of the 4 bedroom property is likely to begin in the next 6 months and will be take approximately 1½ years to build.

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