The code for sustainable homes has been developed by the British government to reduce carbon emissions and promote higher standards of sustainable design in general. The code looks at 9 key aspects of a design and uses a 1 to 6 star rating to judge the sustainability performance of a new home. The aspects evaluated against the code are;
- surface water runoff (flooding and flood prevention)
- health and well-being
There are a variety of sustainable housing designs currently on the market; here are ten of the best.
Fincube by Studio Aisslinger
German design firm Studio Aisslinger developed the Fincube in 2008 as ‘A vision of temporary living’. The transportable structure has a minimal design and aims to be as close to nature as possible. This is achieved through the use of sustainable, recyclable materials during the construction process which are sourced locally reducing C02 impact.
ZEB Pilot House
The Zeb (Zero Emissions Buildings) Pilot House designed by international firm Snohetta, is a concept building created to develop and test methodology for the building of houses with integrated sustainable solutions.
To achieve its ZEB-OM classification, the project was required to document and verify a minimum of 100% Co2 offsetting. This was achieved through the use of renewable energy generated through integrated photovoltaic and solar-thermal panels. The ZEB Pilot House is said to generate three times the amount of energy needed to run it and also includes other sustainable technologies such as a rainwater collection system and an efficient heat exchanger.
The Waste House Project from Brighton University has been developed as a way to investigate ecological architectural design. It is a building constructed of 85% ‘waste material’ sourced from household and construction sites. Materials used include vinyl banners, thrown away bricks and off-cut timber from other construction projects, and household waste such as; DVD’s and video cassettes and denim jeans.
The first of its kind in Europe, the waste house has been attributed an EPC ‘A’ rated low energy building certification and has led to Brighton University being named as “Among the pioneers leading the HE sector’s transition to a low-carbon future.’
Home for Life
Developed by Dutch company AART, the Home for life or active house is a design focused on low energy consumption and a ‘low-carbon future’. Using underfloor heating, solar heating and solar cells along with whole-house mechanical ventilation and heat recovery methods, Active House is designed specifically for the European housing market.
Active House stands out as a particularly interesting design as it has been created with comfort and control in mind. Designed to be comfortable and liveable with ample space and light, the building is aesthetically approvable as opposed to many of its dreary counterparts. The key materials used to construct the house are timber, concrete and glass.
Off Grid Home
The Off Grid Home has been developed by Ábaton Architectura specifically with remote locations in mind that cannot be connected to an existing electrical grid or water supply. Currently located in Western Spain, the Off Grid Home was built using a mixture of cement, iron beams, stone and wood, most of which was locally sourced. Natural ventilation, use of sustainable materials and a design optimised for solar gain make the Off Grid Home a winning design for the future.