A unique zero carbon house in inner city Birmingham, meeting the stringent requirements of Level 6 of the UK Code for Sustainable Homes. It’s an eco-house that will produce at least as much energy as it consumes, and it’s been built around an existing house!
Designed by John Christophers of Associated Architects as a family home, the ground-breaking carbon-neutral building is now occupied as a family home. It’s an extension of a redbrick Victorian house, converting a 2-bedroom semi-detached into a 4-bedroom dwelling with a studio loft. It extends upwards and outwards: upwards to catch the sun otherwise obscured by a taller neighbouring house, sideways for more space. The original 1840 brick house is preserved, as are the mature ash trees in the garden. Integration with the surroundings is important, and the design takes account of the neighbouring architecture.
New York Times feature with ten pictures, 16 December.
The house is part of the Old Home Super Home network.
Winner of a RIBA award for architecture and nominated for the 2010 RIBA Manser Medal for the best new house (“a robust and thoughtful design of exceptional quality”), covered by Architects Journal. It also won the Retrofit Award 2010 in the single domestic dwelling category, and 2011 BREEAM Award for “the best examples of sustainable design and construction across the UK and the world”.
“I have seen the future – and it’s in Birmingham.” – Ruth Bloomfield’s cover story in The Times.
Green Building magazine ran an 8-page feature on the house.
The design conforms to Level 6 (the highest level) of the new Code for Sustainable Homes. It’s not the first Level 6 house under the sun, but as far as we know it’s the first in the UK to incorporate an existing building, and may be the first to be lived in. (For similar projects, or to record yours, see other Level 6 and zero-carbon houses). Architectural flair, user-friendliness, and a pleasing living space are as much a part of the design as the demands of the Code.
This is another milestone in the history of eco-homes and energy-efficient buildings in the UK – seven years ahead of the government target, which decrees that all new homes should be carbon-neutral by 2016. We see it as a contribution to the groundswell towards green lifestyles and the enjoyment of a sustainable way of life, in the shadow of global warming caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It’s designed to protect the environment and enable its occupants to enjoy the environment.