The Tree House in Clapham, London is a recently completed and very elegant example of a self build detached house. It has, on occasion, been open to the public as part of the London Open House programme. Situated on a small urban plot of land dominated by a large sycamore tree it has taken its theme partly from the tree. It has a quite complex timber frame reaching three storeys and very considerable effort has been put into the choice of building materials and its energy use.
After its first year of use it has come out carbon neutral mainly because of its massive insulation, air tightnessA measure of how leaky a building is to air. In other words, how draughty it might be. There are now standard fan pressure tests to check how air tight a house is and the Building Regulations have minimum standards for all new houses (L1A – Conservation of fuel and power in new dwellings (England)). A much higher degree of air tightness is covered by the Passivhaus standard, its rooftop solar collection (both PVPhoto Voltaic. referring to the generation of electricity from sunlight and solar panels for hot water) and its ground source heat pump which utilizes four 25 m. deep bore holes.
The builder of the house, Will Anderson has published an excellent book, ‘Diary of an Eco-Builder‘, which goes into the detail of the whole of their building process and the thinking behind it. Well worth getting.
Architect – Constructive Individuals