St Katherine’s Field, Worcestershire
With an increasing demand for sustainable housing, a group of local businesses came together to design and build the first residential development in the UK to achieve AECB (Association of Environment Conscious Builders) Silver Standard.
Taylor Lane Timber Frame was selected by award-winning residential development company, IE Developments, to construct a site of seven homes, with a key concept being that they adopt a low-embodied energy design.
The decision was made to use an adaptation of the PassivHaus standard, an approach that delivers a home with excellent thermal performance and energy efficiency, through exceptional levels of airtightness and high levels of insulation, as well as designing out of thermal bridging.
Simply put, the amount of uncontrolled air-leakage from these properties is kept to an absolute minimum, resulting in far lower levels of energy being needed for heating the properties, even on the coldest of days.
Whilst it’s possible to build a house, incorporating PassivHaus principles, using the traditional brick and block method, IE Developments came to Taylor Lane having decided to build using timber frame due to the far lower levels of embodied energy associated with this method of construction.
Great advances in timber frame have been made over the years, such as modern permeable airtightness membranes, building boards and sealing tapes which allow the timber frame walls to ‘breathe’, therefore controlling moisture build up, whilst at the same time eliminating draughts, one of the major causes of heat loss.
Further advantages of using timber frame for such a project are highlighted in the UKTFA’s Fabric First philosophy, which stresses the importance of the use of timber frame as the core fabric in a building, due to its sustainability, cost efficiency and thermal performance.
The aim of this project was to embrace the sustainable and energy-efficient challenge, and set about achieving a system of constructing a commercially viable home that performed through fabric energy efficiency and didn’t rely on expensive ‘bolt-on’ renewable paraphernalia.
The first completed property on the Cradley development was awarded the AECB Silver Certification – the first in the UK.