Newbuild Houses, Lancashire
The site is on the very Northern edge of the Preston City development area and close to the Western Bypass, now under construction. Formerly in the green belt, the original farmhouse was replaced about 5 years ago with a new home and the former barn has been converted to a residential unit in the past.
Recently this area of Preston was allocated for regeneration with Bartle Lane forming the northern boundary and both properties, which had large parcels of land, seemed appropriate for development as part of this regeneration. The owners took the decision that they would add to the market offering of typical ‘estate’ dwellings by developing them for upmarket residential use. The brief was to create hybrid houses in a manner that they would be sufficiently traditional so as not to discourage that section of the community but offer a more contemporary style of living at the same time. Internally they are highly, technically, specified and the installation of extensive bi-fold doors will allow the integration of inside and outside living. In some instances, the bifolds open on two elevations leaving no visible means of support.
There are 7 detached houses on the larger site offering over 200 sq. metres of accommodation per dwelling, whilst the smaller site has almost identical accommodation but of about 180 sq. metres per dwelling.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of these houses is invisible. Given that there is no mains gas it was decided that the houses would utilise ground source heat pumps to provide the hot water and heating. Having taken this decision, the idea was extended to work towards zero energy properties and the houses have been orientated to maximise sunlight so that the entire south facing roofs are solar collectors for electrical generation. These are fully integrated rather than added to the roof structure. High levels of insulation ensure that heating loads are low and whole house, heat recovery, ventilation ensures that it will not be necessary to open windows except in extreme conditions. They are highly efficient and have so much electrical generation that they will be exporting to the national grid for a significant amount of the time.
There is also no mains foul drainage and only limited surface water capacity. Both existing houses, plus the 10 new ones, are connected to a large on-site treatment plant. The overflow of treated water is passed trough a reed-bed on the southern boundary finally draining into a holding tank. Once full this water is pumped into the surface water drain in Bartle Lane. This development is almost self-sufficient.