RuralZed System - the Environment Centre (tEC)

Six two-storey houses achieving code level 6 have been built in Upton, Northamptonshire. Two of the houses are currently up for sale, two are being rented and two are under shared ownership. The total development cost was £150,000 for 102m² (£1.470/m²), which Zedfactory claim is only 10% more than a conventional build.

Challenges Encountered
The solar panels were imported from China and therefore have an enlarged carbon footprint, but hopefully UK or at least European suppliers will become competitive soon. It is a tough challenge to balance environmental excellence and cost, but this building shows a way to achieve this goal.

Passive Measures
The building has a solar passive construction by incorporating south facing sunspace, high thermal mass floors and shading for summer comfort. Sustainable materials have been sourced, including a timber structure, high thermal mass floors made of eco-concrete (with incorporated renewable materials), insulation made with Rockwool inert mineral wool and use of non-toxic materials for interior design. A ZEDfabric Wind Cowl passive heat recovery ventilation system supplies and extracts air to and from a building to maintain good air quality whilst minimising heat loss. The heat recovery system used is 70% efficient.

Technologies Employed
  • Solar thermal panels heat the 300L dual coil water tank
  • Energy saving appliances rated A++
  • Wind turbine
  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Biomass boiler providing heat and hot water (when thermal panels are not sufficient)
  • Water consumption is managed by using duel flush toilets, aerated taps and by harvesting rain water. A green roof reduces storm water run-off.

Awards and Achievements
This is an affordable design with one of the most efficient constructions. The RuralZed team has also thought about urban planning and how to coordinate houses like the one shown, in order to build sustainable high density neighbourhoods.

Link: Building.co.uk Page last updated: 23 August 2010
The content of this website reflects the author’s views. the Environment Centre (tEC) and the INTERREG IVA 2 Mers Seas Zeeën Cross-border Cooperation Programme Authorities accept no liability for the accuracy of the claims made and any use that may be made of the information contained therein.