Green Pastures: contemporary eco homes outside London
“We started looking at moving outside London to get a bit more space for our money and we wanted a better work/life balance,” said Anna Hayden during our recent trip to her and husband Russel’s Passivhaus home in Stockport. With dreams of fleeing the capital for our own eco-friendly abode, we’ve looked to our sales listings for contemporary eco homes outside London that boast green credentials.
This house, in a quiet village in Berkshire, is one of a small number in the UK whose impressive energy performance has merited a certification by the renowned Passivhaus organisation. It is the work of Gresford Architects, whose design is based on the forms of a traditional barn, and uses black-stained douglas fir cladding and a zinc roof, which has been wired for solar panels.
London-based architects A-Zero have built their name with elegant, sustainable designs. This large family home in the Buckinghamshire countryside is no exception, being so energy efficient that the current owners collect money from the ground-sourced heating system rather than it costing them.
Lewes, East Sussex
BBM Sustainable Design designed this five-bedroom house, which looks over the historic town of Lewes from its hillside position. The loft space contains a mechanically ventilated heat recovery unit and solar thermal pump. Meanwhile, the surface of the south-facing roof elevation is made up of integrated solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, allowing the house to operate without energy costs.
Blackboys, East Sussex
Access to this house is via a long, private drive off a quiet country lane, making it the perfect country bolthole. The peaceful setting includes 1.5 acres of woodland, in which the house’s larch-clad exterior sits unobtrusively. The architect, Jamie Bannon, concentrated on the building’s sustainability, putting photovoltaic panels on the roof to provide hot water and insulation.
Shipton Gorge, Dorset
This oak-clad house sits in a quiet, secluded location with sea views. It was designed to have a minimal environmental impact, incorporating a timber-frame construction, clad in English oak, which ensures it sits comfortably within the rural surroundings of the Bride Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Triple glazing, solar panels and extensive insulation are among many features that have contributed to a very rare ‘A’ rating for energy efficiency.