Lakeside House, Rayleigh

This house, expected to meet the needs (and budget) of an average family, offers a living experience normally associated with the luxury homes of the ultra-wealthy. This project combines a numerous technologically innovative energy-saving features, and an awareness of wider sustainability issues, with a powerful architectural response to its unique setting.  Extensive glazing takes full advantage of the natural pond and mature landscaped gardens, giving the open plan, partly-double height living area a feeling of space far beyond its physical dimensions.

Sustainability is integral to the concept – but never allowed to compromise the architecture.  A Nibe Fighter 360 air-source heat pump recovers waste heat from the kitchen and bathroom, eliminating the need for any carbon-based fuel source on all but the coldest days of the year.  A Stovax wood-burning stove provides a carbon-neutral supplementary heat source – as well as a focal point for the building’s interior.  Linking the heat pump to under-floor heating maximises environmental efficiency and keeps the living space free of radiators.

All the kitchen appliances were specified to meet the most exacting energy efficiency standards, and virtually all of the lighting in the house uses low-energy lamps (without compromising on aesthetics).  Water is conserved throughout, with aerated showers and flow-limited taps.  Rainwater is collected for watering the garden, with any surplus water flowing directly into the pond, which is preserved as an integral part of the home’s eco-strategy.

All the materials used in the construction are from sustainable forests – including the timber frame and cedar boarding, which are inherently eco-friendly.  Levels of insulation well in excess of those required by Building Regulations, together with finely crafted windows and external doors, work with the heat pump to minimise heating bills throughout the year.

The design – based on the Code for Sustainable Homes – also promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle.  The study is provided with additional power and data connections, promoting home working for those who don’t need to commute.   And for that extra sense of well-being, the house has been designed to comply with Secured by Design standards, making this home secure as well as ecologically sustainable.