Alas, our first planning application was refused. Reasons provided:
“The proposed 4 bedroom house by reason of design, materials, siting and bulk represents an overly dominant, visually intrusive and unneighbourly form of development that fails to respect the siting, rhythm, materials and massing of the surrounding buildings as well as complementing, responding to and reinforcing local architectural character, locally distinctive patterns of development as well as the character and local distinctiveness of the adjoining townscape, detracting from existing suburban character and sense of openness of the close.”
Phew! So, it doesn’t look exactly like the house next door. We want to make the new house “fit in” if possible. But, sustainable houses, particularly when trying to minimise embodied carbon and achieve near PassivHaus performance, by their very nature don’t look like ‘pastiche’ houses. So, we have a bit of work to do revising the design. The image above is our second attempt.
The design uses significantly more insulation in the walls, roof and floor than standard buildings. The windows are all triple-glazed, high performance, orientated to maximise solar gain. The design will minimise cold bridges and the house will be virtually airtight, with a modern heat recovery system. The windows are shaded to prevent overheating in the summer. The entire building is wrapped in thick insulation (like a tea cosy) finished externally with render or timber cladding. This is one of the simplest, most tried and tested construction techniques for low carbon / PassivHaus homes. Using render and timber helps keep embodied energy levels to a minimum (brick, in contrast, has considerable embodied energy).
The finished house will use 90% less energy that a modern house of the same size.
But, we still need to convince Merton Council.