Passive House/Passivhaus | Pond | Norfolk Broads

Interior Design / Listed and Conservation / New Build

A new-build house in Stalham Staithe, Norfolk Broads has been designed to Passivhaus (Passive house) principles by London based studio forresterarchitects.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads is Britain’s largest protected wetland. With the status of a national park, it is a particularly sensitive location to new-build developments. The local environment is dominated by the large expanse of water, the Barton Broads. Interspersed between the water courses are rich and varied collections of buildings. There are attractive views in all directions. The roofs of the buildings of the Broads act as dominant visual markers within the landscape and aid orientation.
 
From the outset, the client was keen to provide a responsive and sustainable solution with the garden pond to remain a central feature. The new house is approx. 110sq/m and comprises of a kitchen, an open plan living room, dining room with three bedrooms and bathrooms and a dedicated utility/plant room. The ubiquitous barn profile provides a simple form of accommodation, which predominates in the local area. The proposed house draws reference from the vernacular forms, materials and how they are positioned in the landscape. The proposed location of the house aims to contribute to the local character resulting in a considered roof-scape.
 
From the initial stages, the house has been developed under the Passivhaus Planning Package (PhPP). The PhPP was used as a key design tool and has been used to refine the building to ensure an energy efficient solution. A Passivhaus is a voluntary building standard. It exceeds the statutory requirements of the current UK building regulations. The principles of the Passivhaus concept aims to reduce the need for space heating and cooling. This is achieved by adopting a fabric first approach to the design. High levels of insulation to the thermal envelope with exceptional levels of air tightness. The need for heating need is reduced to the point where a traditional heating system is not considered essential. For example, the building is orientated due south but has been turned a further 10 degrees to the East. In the early morning, the bedrooms gain warmth a little earlier from the solar gain from the sun as it rises. East facing clerestory bedroom windows have been incorporated into building fabric.
 
The materials are simple yet robust. The house is clad with rough sawn untreated Siberian Larch, which is used not only for the walls but also across the entire roof. In response to our discussion with the Broads Authority the solar panels appear flush and integrated into to the roof . The installation of solar thermal and photovoltaic panels supplement the environmental strategy. Photovoltaic panels used to generate electricity and solar thermal panels used to heat the water. In keeping with the Broads Authority’s desire to encourage sustainable drainage. A sustainable drainage solution was employed. The SuDS proposal adopts many techniques. A water permeable terrace collects, treats and stores the rainwater to then release the water into the environment. A rainwater harvesting system has been incorporated for the provision of garden irrigation.

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