ECOS, (formerly known as the Somerset Trust for Sustainable Development) is a charity which has been behind several green house building initiatives. Although not self-build, their houses are excellent examples of what is possible and are open to viewing on certain occasions. At present there are two schemes which are complete or nearing completion and one in the pipeline.
Great Bow Yard
This is a development of four flats and eight houses on a third of a hectare10,000 square metres (ie. 100m x 100m) A hectare is very nearly 2.5 acres site which incorporates a communal garden. There is also an area of office space and a restaurant on the site. These are in a converted wharehouse.
The houses were completed in 2007 and met the then current standard of BREBuilding Research Establishment. EcoHomes rating “Excellent”. Those shown above have sun spaces behind the timber shading structure.
Features of the houses include high levels of insulation, rain water harvesting (for flushing toilets), sunspaces, solar panels (thermal and PVPhoto Voltaic. referring to the generation of electricity from sunlight) and use of local timber cladding. A sustainable drainage system is included.
Design by Stride Treglown Architects.
This is a small development of five houses built to Code for Sustainable Homes level 5. There are three terraced houses each with three bedrooms and two detached houses with four bedrooms.
Ecological aspects of the design include
- timber frames with Diffutherm and Warmcell insulation
- sedum roofing
- exceptionally high levels of insulation
- natural paints and plasters
- solar and biomass energy sources