Civilisation is in the midst of a transition to a post-hydrocarbon era. Dial Corner provides an opportunity to adapt to this emerging future. The future challenge is to live without resort to fossil fuels for power, transportation and heating. To decarbonise our homes we need to operate them free of their reliance on fossil-fuels. Read more “A Unique Property: Dial Corner Building Plot For Sale”
Howgate Close is a standout eco home project located in the picturesque countryside of Nottinghamshire. Learn more about the story behind it by watching the interviews in this video, or read our previous article on the project for further details. Read more “Interviews at Howgate Close Eco Homes”
The Eco Homes Project, Howgate Close, is offered as a template for every village in England.
With £1 per day energy bills at Howgate Close, these eco homes are genuinely affordable. Discover more about them here. Read more “Eco Homes in Howgate Close: Genuinely Affordable Homes”
Dial Corner is an innovative building project to create a fossil fuel free dwelling in Norfolk, creating an opportunity to construct in a totally different way and create a home with no energy bills and in harmony with the natural world.
In this update video, Dr Jerry Harrall discusses the Howgate Close eco home project at the CLA 2021 National Conference, held in Westminster, London. Read more “CLA Guided Tour of Howgate Close, December 2021”
CLA’s 2021 National Conference ‘Towards Net Zero’ (QEII Conference Centre on Thursday 2nd December at Westminster) provided an intense 6.5hrs, over 5 sessions, delivered by 14 speakers with 550 delegates in attendance listening to “a font of pragmatism”. Read more “Local Homes For Local People: Howgate Close”
Perhaps nowhere in the UK is the process of decarbonisation at a settlement scale more apparent in the built environment than in the Nottinghamshire village of Eakring. Once the country’s largest inland oilfield, it’s now generating enough renewable electricity locally to power the village several times over. Seventy years after the last drop of oil was extracted, Eakring is expanding with nine fossil-fuel-free homes, ‘Howgate Close’. Read more “Eakring, Nottinghamshire: A Story of Transition”
“By practical example, to act as a catalyst for change towards ecologically sound and sustainable ways of living.” That’s an excerpt from Hockerton Housing Project’s (HHP) 1995 Mission Statement. The designers of Howgate Close for twenty-four years have been living an autonomous lifestyle in the UK’s largest collection of earth-sheltered dwellings. Read more ““…ecologically sound and sustainable ways of living.””
18th August 2021
“…trapping and storing the sun’s energy”
– Brenda and Robert Vale
The nine dwellings of Howgate Close are designed to operate free of fossil-fuels, deliver low to no heating bills while maintaining steady state internal air temperatures.
Achieving a ‘zero-heated’[i] status, requires the application of passive solar design[ii] techniques allied with a high thermal mass superstructure and a super-insulated envelope. Empirical data[iii] supports the premise that high thermal mass buildings can significantly reduce heating loads together with a concomitant reduction in green-house gas emissions.
The passive solar design techniques applied at Howgate Close are millennia old. Troglodytes selected caves with southerly entrances, Neolithic settlers built dwellings on the southern shores of Skara Brae, Orkney Isles and Saxon farmers orientated barn openings for threshing and drying. These intuitive building design decisions of orientation and material selection were instrumental in heating, cooling and ventilating ancient buildings.
Modern day champions of passive solar design, are Architects, Professors Brenda and Robert Vale. Their extensive Cambridge University research led to the 1975 publication ’The Autonomous House[iv] which elicits “trapping and storing the sun’s energy”[v]. Putting these techniques in to practice, the Vales converted their Witcham Toll family home, described in their book, ‘The Self Sufficient House’. Later in 1991, they optimised these techniques in their Southwell home (7miles from Howgate Close) of which a forensic account is given in ‘The New Autonomous House’. The Southwell home builder, Nick Martin, commissioned the Vales to design the Hockerton Housing Project (HHP) which later became the architectural precedent for Howgate Close.
The four basic principles of passive solar design;
- Southerly building orientation – optimizing solar gains for heating, lighting and ventilation
- Selective Glazing locations – maximising glazing on the south elevation for solar gains, reducing glazing to the north, east and west to reduce heat loss
- High thermal mass structure – using dense building materials to act as a large storage radiator, stabilizing internal air temperatures
- Super-insulation envelope – which reduces the rate of heat loss from the buildings while increasing their capacity for retaining stored heat.
Howgate Close delivers.
[i] DETR. 1998. Building A Sustainable Future. General Information Report 53. P13
[ii] SZOKOLAY, S.V. (2007) Introduction to Architectural Science: The basis of Sustainable Design
[iii] HARRALL, J. (2014) Reservoirs of Heat: The defining characteristic of high thermal mass buildings.
[iv] VALE, Brenda & Robert. (1975) The Autonomous House: design and planning for self-sufficiency
[v] VALE, Brenda & Robert. (1975) The Autonomous House: design and planning for self-sufficiency