Mid 1990s to Mid 2000s



New detached bungalow, small town in east Berkshire. Has a basement and a finished loftspace within the thermal envelope to overcome severe planning constraints; i.e, in effect, it is a 2.5-storey house.

The building employed in situ concrete construction and an insulated permanent formwork system. The air leakage of 1.2 air changes per hour at 50 Pa before remedial work was a record low for a UK building in the mid 1990s. Since 1996, measured energy consumption for all purposes has been 75% less than the UK norm.


Embleton House 040914






New energy-efficient detached ‘bungalow’, east Berkshire.




New headquarters for the Greenwood Trust, an environmental organisation in Coalbrookdale, Shropshire. Built of timber harvested within 3 km of the site. Extremely well-insulated and draughtproof, with a Swedish mechanical ventilation & heat recovery system. Measurements 1999-2001 suggested that the building consumes 80% less energy per m2 than typical small, naturally-ventilated UK offices.


A house in a small East Suffolk village. In appearance, it matches the local vernacular but it stays comfortable over an East Anglian winter using relatively minimal space heating energy.


A stone barn conversion, Herefordshire/Monmouthshire border. Incorporated fairly high energy efficiency standards without losing the character of the original building. Measurements in winter 2000-01 suggested that, despite the restrictions and difficulties of conversion work, its energy performance was significantly ahead of that of new UK housing to the Building Regulations.


Advice to a design-and-build contractor on 12,000 m2 of proposed new government-owned residential buildings on the south coast. The design team’s costings showed a good return on investment from an improved thermal envelope combined with simplified space heating and ventilation services.

The high-efficiency building envelope, combined with the simplified HVAC system would save over 80% of the space heating energy consumption measured in the client’s existing buildings. The net added cost would give a return on investment of 14% per year at 1999 natural gas prices.

The proposal would also avoid the risk of internal condensation. This was a serious problem in the client’s existing building stock and gave rise to high maintenance bills.


Extension and refurbishment of a listed house and stable block and conversion partly to commercial use near Tetbury, Glos. Aimed to conform to UK best practice in energy efficiency and other environmental aspects;


A 22-unit social housing development in the St. Nicholas area of York. Timber-frame construction. One day’s design advice resulted in improved energy efficiency standards at a reduced initial cost versus the initial proposal.


A new 190 m2 detached house in the market town of Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. Detailed design advice was provided to the architects, who had not undertaken such a project before. High energy efficiency standards were achieved in load-bearing cavity masonry wall construction, with a timber I beam roof. Measured gas use since 2001 has been 25-30% of the UK norm, electricity 50-60% of it. A profile of the dwelling originally prepared for the Zero Carbon Hub is available at the Low Energy Buildings Database.


Ross-on-Wye House 040914




Low-Energy House, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.


Picture © EAA.




A new headquarters building for the Ecology Building Society, Silsden, Yorkshire. The architects aimed to meet international best practice and out-perform earlier UK projects. Bradford District Design Award Building of the Year 2004. Sustainable Building of the Year 2005. RIBA White Rose Award for Sustainability 2006.


EBS 040914



The Ecology Building Society Headquarters,

Silsden, West Yorkshire.


Picture © Hodson Architects Ltd, Cleethorpes.





A 9,000 m2 replacement for Whitecross School, Hereford. Advice on energy and other green building issues to Herefordshire Council in their negotiations with the PFI contractor and their design team.


A new 290 m2 house on the edge of the Forest of Dean, south Herefordshire, within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Constructed on a self-build basis in externally-insulated, rendered masonry construction. Advice to the owners and to Neill Lewis Architects on designing the thermal envelope to very high energy efficiency standards for the time.

Measured heat consumption is around 25% of normal and thermal comfort is higher than normal. Some information on the dwelling’s design and construction is available on the owners’ website. A profile of the building, originally prepared for the Zero Carbon Hub is now available at the Low Energy Buildings Database.






The Oxlet, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.


Picture © David Wadge.




Advice to the architects on detailing the thermal envelope of a new 150 m2 timber-frame house on the Oxon./Bucks. border, also a masonry basement. The proposals were substantially re-designed to reduce thermal bridging and improve the thermal insulation, all within the existing wall and roof thicknesses. These were very constrained by planning regulations.


A 180 m2 stone barn conversion near Hereford. As the external appearance of the walls could not be changed, the aim was to retrofit the building internally to high energy efficiency standards without incurring excessive costs.