This case study is from the SUSTAINCO project. The Green House - a privately owned, retrofitted home in the village of Cusop, near Hay-on-Wye in Herefordshire. It is a highly energy-efficient building which makes best use of its natural surroundings and resources, including light and solar gain.
The property was originally a 1960’s built dormer bungalow, but has essentially been encased in a new highly insulated and efficient shell with solar thermal providing domestic hot water and rain water harvesting. The original dormer bungalow was typical of its time in vernacular construction type. It was built in the traditional 300 mm cavity wall construction, single glazed, with low levels of thermal insulation and heated by an old and inefficient oil boiler. The new building is wrapped around the original structure therefore maintaining the exact same floor plan. The walls were significantly increased in width to include 300 mm thickness of thermal insulation. The original roof has been replaced with a zinc barrel-vaulted structure containing 400 mm of insulation, which is higher than the original roof ridge line. The windows and doors which were installed are high performance double glazed components and are argon filled. The new elevations make the most of passive south facing exposure to sun light which is used to both day-light and heat the building naturally. Most of the lighting is low energy. Heating is provided by a town gas powered condensing boiler and domestic hot water is provided by solar thermal panels supplemented by the boiler.
Name: The Green House
Net heated floor area: 236 m2
Designer: CO2 Architects Ltd.
Location: Cusop, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, England
Investment cost: £ 265 000;
Approach: A high energy-efficient building which makes best use of its natural surroundings and resources including light and solar gain.
Construction typology: Retrofit of masonry and timber, hung on a Glulam frame which utilizes the original masonry structure as thermal mass, with high levels of insulation.
U-value walls: 0,24 W/(m2K) (ground floor), 0,12 W/(m2K) (first floor)
U-value roof: 0,11 W/(m2K)
U-value windows: 1,70 W/(m2K)
Heating strategies: The south elevation has the largest glazed area which has a mezzanine floor between ground and first floors thus creating a space to collect heat gained from the sun.
- Minimized waste of construction material
- High levels of insulation
- Robust construction details
- Utilization of natural light and solar gain
- Low emissivity glazing
- Low energy lighting
- Renewable energy for hot water
- Reduced water use (rainwater harvesting) and wastage
What is special?
It is unusual to see such a radical retrofit to an existing building. To the untrained eye, it would not be unfair to assume that the original building was completely demolished and a new structure put in its place as there are very few visible signs of the original dormer bungalow. Instead, the architect has locked in the embodied energy of the original structure (thus minimizing waste and utilizing its thermal mass) and used this as the framework on which to hang the new highly insulated facades. The initial preference for steel to be used as the first floor external cladding was to reduce maintenance to a minimum. The client was an employee of a steel manufacturer and wished to promote the sustainable use of their products, however, the steel was changed to timber for technical reasons as it could not be bent to the curves of the elevation.
Delivered energy demand: (according to bills data collection, average values of years 2011 and 2012)
Electricity: 646 kWh/y; 2,7 kWh/(m2 y)
Gas (for heating and domestic hot water): 4503 kWh/y; 19,1 kWh/(m2 y)
CO2 annual emissions: 1167,4 kg CO2/y; 4,95 kg CO2/(m2 y)
Renewable energy production: A 2-panel (4,2 m2) - solar thermal installation with a 210 liter twin coil solar thermal store.
National energy certification level: Commercial Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rated: B (82)
Building emission rate: B (83)
Energy use for lighting: 1,2 kWh/(m2 y) (based on full-time occupation)
Heating system: Wall mounted conventional condensing gas boiler with: Worcester Greenstar 30CDI. Distribution via a mixture of wall hung radiators with TRVs and underfloor heating which have grill holes throughout the floor and are controlled by ‘zoned’ heating controllers (2 on the first floor and 3 on the ground floor) with room thermostat and boiler timer/programmer. Heating can be supplemented with multi-fuel boiler in lounge.
Domestic hot water generation: Solar thermal collectors: 4,2 m2 feeding thermal store – 210 liters supplemented by gas condensing boiler and electric immersion heaters.