PAD studio has revisited their first private residential commission after a decade-long study to determine the long-term environmental impacts of low-energy design. The five bedroom family home is located in the sensitive New Forest National Park in southern England, in a highly protected Site of Specific Scientific Interest.
PAD studio was originally commissioned by clients Jenny and Julian Gray to build a new environmentally conscious home on a large 18 acre plot, set against the fringes of an ancient woodland. Designed to nestle into the landscape, the timber clad home features a simple rectangular form overlooking a natural swimming pond, flanked by a self-contained guest annex. Both the annex and main house feature large south-facing glazed elevations tempered with timber louvre shutters to maximise solar gain, and green roofing.
Driven by their clients desire to live harmoniously and care for the delicate surrounding ecosystem, PAD studio’s design approach includes sustainable systems including high levels of insulation, a ground source heat pump (GSHP) supported by mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR), solar photovoltaic panels (PV), evacuated solar thermal panels (for water heating) and a rainwater harvesting system. The building is sealed for airtightness and benefits from a long concrete retaining wall, a slender spine which supports the buildings’ thermal mass strategy and hugs it into the rear earth berm (which contains the earth removed to form the swimming pond and basement).
Thanks to the clients’ diligence and care for the home and its surrounding environment, PAD studio has been able to monitor its energy and environmental performance since completion in 2009. PAD studio recently analysed data captured by Purmetrix in 2021-22, finding the New Forest House is 97% cheaper to run than a new home built to 2021 building standards.
Utilising a combination of an GSHP, PV array and solar thermal to provide energy for the space heating, water heating, fans, pumps and lighting, the regulated operational energy of The New Forest House performs as a net zero home with CO2 emissions ranging from -2.46 to -0.76 (Kg CO2/m2/year). Further, the embodied carbon value (including sequestration) of New Forest House is 43% less than the current RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge and 2021 Building Regulations. By using solar and ASHP technology, the home has used 110% less energy compared to if it was powered by gas.