The Renewable House

Built at the BRE Innovation Park for Insite 2009, this demonstration house was designed to illustrate that low cost and low carbon are compatible, a theme which has driven C-Zero’s research and development programme ever since.

The detached three bedroom home was designed by C-Zero and Archial architects to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, with a build cost of £75,000. This was pretty good at the time, although Code 4 might be considered old hat now.

Unlike many other houses that meet Code Level 4, the Renewable House features very few additional technologies. Instead the performance of the house was made possible through the use of materials which have been used to create a thermally efficient and low carbon building envelope. In this case we used Hemcrete® – a material made from natural and renewable hemp and lime, provided by partner Lime Technology.

In building the Renewable House, C-Zero and its client – the National Non Food Crop Council – wanted to show that a sustainable house could look like a normal house in which people would actually want to live. Unlike other houses at the BRE – which are more technology demonstrators than houses – the Renewable House sits happily alongside traditional buildings. Visitors might wonder at first glance why it is there, but they also see it as the only house they could actually live in.