Country House, Devon

Houses & Extensions

Country House, Devon

The starting point for this project was an existing stone house. Our objective was to create a home on the site with minimal carbon emissions in its construction and use. Re-using the materials that were already on site reduced the carbon footprint due to manufacturing and transport significantly and set the entire project on a sustainable path.

The interior of the existing house was poor. The spaces felt damp, cold and dark. So everything was stripped from within the stone shell, and a new house was built inside it, with a reconfigured design that created light, open spaces in a highly insulated fabric.

The existing extensions were demolished and replaced with a new single-space extension across the full width of the house. This re-used stone from the side, framing a simple, modern half glazed elevation, opening the house to a fantastic rural view for the first time.

The structure was drylined internally with great attention paid to achieving an airtight shell. A clear cavity was maintained, and a U value of <0.15 W/mK˚ was achieved for all external walls, floor and roof. Every component used build was considered in terms of sustainability. For example, aluminum was used to construct trims and fascias, as its recycled content was know to be in excess of 95%, and zero maintenance during its lifetime made for absolutely minimal embodied energy in its use. The sole heating system for the house is a ground source heat pump, driving underfloor heating throughout the house, which has proven to be unnecessary in the summer months, such is the efficacy of the insulation. This is governed by programmable thermostats for space heating, and supplies all necessary hot water via a pressurised system. A constant and detailed dialogue with the client was maintained throughout this project, very much driven by shared technological goals as well as the aesthetic and spatial qualities of the build This project illustrates that dealing with old structures is compatible with the greenest of aims.