1980s to Mid 1990s


Reyburn House1984-90

A custom-built, superinsulated passive solar house, west London. Built for architect Stephen Reyburn, it consumed 70% less energy for space heating than if it had met the 1990 Building Regulations. It met the ‘good practice’ standards of Denmark or Switzerland 30 years ago; i.e. 165 mm fully-filled cavities. The extra cost of the energy efficiency measures was relatively low.



The Reyburn House, London SW13.


Pictures © Stephen Reyburn Architects.


Reyburn House S Side Reyburn House Loft










Internal solid wall retrofit of a Grade II Listed Victorian house, south-west London. Since the terraced house and its neighbours are legally protected, the work was carried out internally. This avoided changing the house’s appearance as seen from the street.


A small timber-frame office building, Birmingham. Four times the normal UK level of insulation; draughtproofed almost to Swedish standards; sunspace in high-performance glazing. Energy-efficient ventilation, lighting and appliances. Building materials chosen for low environmental impact. Energy costs 70% less than a normal building of the same size and function.


The highly energy-efficient renovation of two Victorian townhouses in a Conservation Area, west London. Architectural work by Stephen Reyburn Architects. By utilising internal solid wall insulation, they were brought up to the thermal standards of new Danish houses of the time but without changing their external appearance.


Lower Watts House 280605Lower Watts House, a new 290 m2 custom-built detached house in Charlbury, Oxon. The construction timescale was restricted to eight months, yet it incorporated a range of proven energy-efficient and ecologically-sound features, based on previous mainland European experience. It also had to blend into a conservation area dominated by historic stone buildings.

Energy costs for space and water heating, cooking, lights and appliances together for the last 20 years have been 75% less than the figure for a ‘Building Regulations’ house. Its construction cost of £560 per m2 was standard at the time for a new one-off private house or a social housing development.


Lower Watts House, Oxfordshire.

Clockwise: Viewed from the garden to the east; from the south and from the street to the west-south-west.

Pictures 1 and 2 © Liz Reason and Stephen Andrews.

Picture 3 © Google streetview.

LWH from S LWH from Street










The 3,500 m2 Elizabeth Fry Building (EFB) at the University of East Anglia. Still one of the UK’s most energy-efficient non-domestic buildings, with very low bills. EAA’s principal tasks were to provide strategic advice to the rest of the design team before the building’s shape or form were decided and later to help the architects with construction detailing.

Consumes 65% less energy per m2 than a normal shallow-plan, naturally-ventilated building and 80% less than an air-conditioned building. Overall, probably the best energy performance yet of any major UK non-domestic building in a user survey.

Very good summer comfort without a need for air conditioning. In fact, comfort is slightly higher than in a normal air-conditioned office. RIBA Regional Award 1995; Civic Trust Award Commendation 1996. The government report on the building’s performance is on the UEA website. UEA describes the EFB’s gas bills as ‘negligible’.


EFB N Side 050914


The Elizabeth Fry Building, University of East Anglia, Norwich.


Viewed near the entrance on the north.

Picture © South Studio Architects.


EFB J CIBSE Front Cover


The cover of Building Services journal when it reported on the results of an independent user survey.

Magazine © Building Services Publications Ltd



EFB Interior





Internal view, second floor room on the north side of the building.

Picture © South Studio Architects




New farmhouse, rural Herefordshire. External cavity walls built largely with an outer leaf of locally-quarried stone. High levels of thermal insulation and extensive passive solar features, including enlarged south-facing windows and a triple-height space, with overhead glazing, making up a third of the south roof, with an appearance reminiscent of a barn conversion.

This glass was specified for maximum visible light transmission, moderate summer solar heat gain and 20% of the heat loss of single glazing. The building uses an estimated 75% less space heating energy than if it had only met the Building Regulations and provides high comfort standards throughout the house.