Britain’s most energy efficient home?

Colin Usher, an architect in West Kirby, has won an award for the most energy efficient home in Britain. Whilst it looks like any other house, it only costs an astonishing £15 a year to run.

The four bedroom detached house, which was designed in such a way that it has an even temperature all year round, uses insulated concrete and a futuristic heat pump which converts the outside air into heat that warms the house. There are also solar panels on the roof of the building that keep electricity bills to a bare minimum.

Mr Usher, director at John McCall Architects, won the award at the 2015 Buildings and Energy Efficiency Awards under the ‘Domestic New Build Category’.

Amazingly, the total building costs for the house were just £440,500 – including purchasing the land and the demolition of the property that was there before. This is similar to the average market price of four bedroom properties in the West Kirby area.

The architect said:

“I have always had a real curiosity in energy efficiency, and building this house has given me a great opportunity to test out a few of my theories. All the risks that have been taken to make this happen have definitely paid off”

He goes on to explain:

“This building contradicts the myths that an economically fuelled home is expensive and looks different to other non-economical houses. My energy-saving methods have not made my house look or feel any less homely or comfortable.”

Mr Usher has expressed how proud he is of the technical aspects of his house, which is more or less air tight sealed, with pumps and an ingenious design used to keep fresh air circulating throughout.

Some of the major components of the house have been listed below:
• The concrete that the building is made of retains heat so that when the heating isn’t on, the house loses just one degree of heat per day
• The building has a clever air-to-water heat pump that produces hot water
• The water from this resourceful pump also heats the floor
• There is a remarkable level of insulation throughout the house, wrapping around all of the window and door frames
• The windows are triple glazed
• There is a ventilation system in the building that cleverly draws the warm moist air out of the bathrooms, kitchen and utility room, whilst also blowing fresh air into all of the living spaces throughout
• The house is designed so that the ground floor rooms are tall, which means that the warm air rises to warm up the floors upstairs
• Usher built the solar panels facing south so that they generate 3,338kW hours/year

When asked if he is happy with the results of his home, Usher stated:

“I am very pleased with the results, I suppose you could say that it’s what I’ve been working towards for my whole career. The house is beautiful, it has superb high ceilings and very spacious, big rooms. Everyone that has come to visit me so far has said that it is lovely and warm inside.”

This just goes to prove that not all ECO home options are expensive – perhaps it’s time for more people to take note and try a few ideas of their own?

PE/SRJ                                                            07/12/15