Buiding Projects

Dial Cottage: A Journey Towards Decarbonisation

Civilisation is in the midst of a transition to a post-hydrocarbon era. Adapting to this future challenge requires living without resort to fossil fuels for power, transportation and heating. Transitioning our homes to operate free of their reliance on fossil-fuels involves decarbonising its construction process and its operation in use. The UK’s journey towards decarbonisation has already started with the declaration of a ‘Climate Change Emergency’. South Norfolk District Council’s own declaration in February 2019 was a call to action in preparing communities;

“for the changes that will be necessary”

Dial Cottage directly responds to that challenge. This is a building design solution that delivers immediately, a home that makes the transition to a fossil-fuel-free existence, one ready for the post-hydrocarbon phase. It self-regulates its internal air temperature without resort to mechanical appliances, is naturally ventilated, generates its own energy, harvests its own water and manages its own waste.

It is these building characteristics that will be imperative in a decarbonised world. Energy independence with an off-grid capability will assist in reducing issues of grid capacity and form an integral part of smart micro grids. Annually, Dial Cottage will generate a surplus of energy, sufficient to power another dwelling.

If predictions of a warming climate and population increase prove accurate, then another building imperative could be to include better conservation and harvesting of our most precious finite resource, water. At Dial Cottage, all its water will be sourced on site.

Dial Cottage’s story of transition is to become a book, in which, Robert and Belinda Ashton will share thejourney working towards decarbonising their lives.

Fossil-fuel free dwelling Buiding Projects

Getting Homes Ready To Operate In A Post-Hydrocarbon Era

Houses, if they are to remain fit for purpose transitioning to a post-hydrocarbon era, will need to operate free of fossil fuels. It may also be necessary for these homes to have an off-grid capability given recent National Grid concerns over future grid capacity. If predictions of a warming climate and population increase prove accurate, then another building imperative could be to include better conservation and harvesting of our most precious finite resource, water. But the biggest challenge, will almost certainly be heating these fossil-fuel-free homes.

“Almost 80 per cent of homes with an EPC use mains gas to power central heating………. there remains a major job to be undertaken to realise such ambitions in the 26 million homes currently inefficiently heated in other ways and by other sources.”  

                            – Andrew Warren,Chairman, British Energy Efficiency Federation

Another luminary, Lord Deben, Chairman of The Committee on Climate Change, has advised the UK government that no new homes should be connected to the gas grid after 2025. Presently, 40 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption is for heating buildings, with 85 per cent using fossil-fuel based natural gas.

What’s needed in getting homes ready to operate in a post-hydrocarbon era is addressed by a proposed development of eight fossil-fuel-free dwellings in the Essex village of Copford. A project that espouses the tenets identified in this article’s opening paragraph. ‘Grenestrete’, as it is known, seeks to realise Andrew Warren’s ambitions, it also follows Lord Deben’s advice, while aspiring to operate beyond the UK Governments ‘Zero Carbon’ ambitions for 2050.

Third-party verification of ‘Grenestrete’s’ predicted energy efficiency and carbon emissions, was undertaken by Elmhurst Energy,producing a Design SAP Rating of 119A. Of the 15million registered EPC’s in the UK, Grenestrete’s’ SAP rating would be one of the fifty highest lodged. Once built, these homes would be ranked in the top 0.001% of the country’s most energy efficient dwellings.

Three years of post-occupancy evaluation will seek to demonstrate how this project bridges the performance gap. ‘Grenestrete’ seeks to eradicate emissions entirely from buildings.