Houghton Regis in Bedfordshire as Mixed Tenure was our response to Housing Competition for Aldwyck Housing Association. We developed an integrated architectural, structural and services solution to create a sustainable and low-cost neighbourhood that didn’t rely on ‘bolted-on’ greenwash. The expense of installation and site conditions rendered PV and wind turbine solutions inappropriate. The neighbourhood will run on a district heating system, fuelled by a biomass boiler. At present, the cost of biomass is comparable to a unit of gas powered electricity. We have installed twincoil hot water stores to each dwelling to allow the future installation of solar hot water.
As summertime temperatures continue to increase and modern building standards mean that buildings are airtight and highly insulated, a key challenge for homes of the future will be space cooling. We have met this challenge by creating a whole-house ventilation system and using a mixture of heavy and light weight construction in the structure of the building. An inlet fan brings air through the labyrinthine floor slab, regulating diurnal variations in temperature by exploiting the relatively constant temperature of the ground (10 – 12 degrees celsius).