An Aluminum-Clad Green Energy Home in England

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May 15, 2013
Originally published in The Furniture Issue
as
A Family Affair
Green Orchard, the home Paul Archer designed for his parents outside Bristol, England, sows the seeds of an active retirement.
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  Sliding aluminum panels on the facade of Green Orchard not only mirror the local flora, they also allow residents Fred and Edna Wadham to control how much sunlight enters their 2,150-square-foot home.
    Sliding aluminum panels on the facade of Green Orchard not only mirror the local flora, they also allow residents Fred and Edna Wadham to control how much sunlight enters their 2,150-square-foot home.
  • 
  A Closed System
To make doubly sure that those high-performance windows are well covered, Archer designed and manufactured (with help from Fred) a system of electronic sliding shutters. Drawn, the shutters keep things cool when the sun is strong and hold in the heat on winter nights.
    A Closed System

    To make doubly sure that those high-performance windows are well covered, Archer designed and manufactured (with help from Fred) a system of electronic sliding shutters. Drawn, the shutters keep things cool when the sun is strong and hold in the heat on winter nights.

  • 
  Keep the Home Fires Burning
Using wood for heat and energy keeps the Wadhams’ environmental footprint small and helps avoid the use of coal- or nuclear-powered electricity. Come winter, the couple relies on an Esse wood-burning stove for cooking, heating, and feeding a set of small radiators. In summer, they use the stove’s electric component, which is powered by solar energy.
    Keep the Home Fires Burning

    Using wood for heat and energy keeps the Wadhams’ environmental footprint small and helps avoid the use of coal- or nuclear-powered electricity. Come winter, the couple relies on an Esse wood-burning stove for cooking, heating, and feeding a set of small radiators. In summer, they use the stove’s electric component, which is powered by solar energy.

  • 
  Going Underground
The site the Wadhams found for their home was designated as “green belt” land, which meant that there were restrictions on the size of the structure’s footprint. Because it’s critical for the pair to live on a single floor, especially as they grow older, Archer tucked the home’s three guest rooms—vital for four visiting children and eight grandchildren—all belowground. Not only does that keep the home’s layout trim, but with the living spaces and master bedroom at ground level, the couple will be able to stay in the house for longer, getting more use out of the energy and resources expended to build it.
    Going Underground

    The site the Wadhams found for their home was designated as “green belt” land, which meant that there were restrictions on the size of the structure’s footprint. Because it’s critical for the pair to live on a single floor, especially as they grow older, Archer tucked the home’s three guest rooms—vital for four visiting children and eight grandchildren—all belowground. Not only does that keep the home’s layout trim, but with the living spaces and master bedroom at ground level, the couple will be able to stay in the house for longer, getting more use out of the energy and resources expended to build it.

  • 
  “The entire facade is made of sliding thermal shutters. They’re all individually electrically operated so the whole exterior is mobile, which creates all sorts of varying compositions. The aim of the project was to create an architecture that was a direct reflection of its sustainable strategy, rather than just bolting on green technologies.” —Architect Paul Archer
    “The entire facade is made of sliding thermal shutters. They’re all individually electrically operated so the whole exterior is mobile, which creates all sorts of varying compositions. The aim of the project was to create an architecture that was a direct reflection of its sustainable strategy, rather than just bolting on green technologies.” —Architect Paul Archer
  • 
  Keep the Heat
“We installed our first one some years ago,” says Archer of heat-recovery ventilation systems, “and it was an enormous box the size of a small shower room. Nowadays, you can get a mechanism that is only slightly bigger than a toaster and is very cost-effective.” Here, Archer installed a rooftop heat-exchanger mechanism by Vent-Axia that transforms heat from the stale air being drawn out of the house into fresh air, which is then distributed inside.
    Keep the Heat

    “We installed our first one some years ago,” says Archer of heat-recovery ventilation systems, “and it was an enormous box the size of a small shower room. Nowadays, you can get a mechanism that is only slightly bigger than a toaster and is very cost-effective.” Here, Archer installed a rooftop heat-exchanger mechanism by Vent-Axia that transforms heat from the stale air being drawn out of the house into fresh air, which is then distributed inside.

  • 
  A Clear Advantage
Modernists love glass, but large windows can be massive energy-wasters, letting in (and out) far too much heat to be sustainable. The windows at Green Orchard, from the British firm George Barnsdale, are sealed units (meaning no gaps between the panes of glass), double-glazed, and filled with argon gas for protection against both heat loss and gain.
    A Clear Advantage

    Modernists love glass, but large windows can be massive energy-wasters, letting in (and out) far too much heat to be sustainable. The windows at Green Orchard, from the British firm George Barnsdale, are sealed units (meaning no gaps between the panes of glass), double-glazed, and filled with argon gas for protection against both heat loss and gain.

  • 
  Yesterday’s News
One of the quickest routes to green design runs straight through Fleet Street. The Wadhams’ walls are padded with nearly a foot of recycled-newspaper insulation by Warmcel; the insulation in the roof goes a few columns farther—it’s a full 16 inches thick.
    Yesterday’s News

    One of the quickest routes to green design runs straight through Fleet Street. The Wadhams’ walls are padded with nearly a foot of recycled-newspaper insulation by Warmcel; the insulation in the roof goes a few columns farther—it’s a full 16 inches thick.

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