Saint-Gobain’s collaborative new-build project with The University of Nottingham could answer to the demands on the UK’s housing stock. The student-designed Nottingham H.O.U.S.E (Home Optimising the Use of Solar Energy) officially launched on 25th June at the University Park Campus, with Zero Carbon Hub and Build Offsite in attendance to help mark the occasion.
Saint-Gobain worked with the University of Nottingham to build Nottingham H.O.U.S.E, assisting a group of Architecture and Engineering students to create the vision of a viable starter home for the UK market.
Now, after touring the world and becoming a finalist in a European design and build competition, the Nottingham H.O.U.S.E has returned to the University campus for its official opening to over 100 guests, which included members of industry bodies, housebuilders and senior figures from leading construction companies.
Guests at the event were given a tour around the two bedroom L-shaped home, set over two storeys, with students and project leaders on hand to answer questions and talk through the features of the house.
The house has been designed to perform at the lowest level of energy usage possible, ensuring optimisation of fabric and services, to meet the Zero Carbon Hub’s FEES standard and the Government’s agenda for reduction of impacts on climate change and fuel poverty. This benefit means that the house is so low in energy, with an EPC rating of A and a zero carbon design (to current zero carbon definition) that the scheme does not require any allowable solutions. In actual fact this is a positive monetary design ensuring the home owner financially benefits.
The design could contribute to the UK’s housing shortage and, in particular, increase the viability of affordable homes, while still achieving the world’s most stringent design codes of Passivhaus and UK Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 (zero carbon).
In 2010, a 45-strong team of students from the University represented Britain in the first ever Solar Decathlon Europe, which took place in Madrid, Spain. The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E competed against 18 Universities from around the world in designing and building Europe’s most energy efficient home. The H.O.U.S.E has also paid a visit to Ecobuild as well as featuring at Shanghai Expo.
Saint-Gobain worked in collaboration with the University, specifying a range of products and solutions for the build in addition to providing valuable technical expertise and guidance. Collaboration between industry and the academic world is becoming increasingly beneficial and is a key part of Saint-Gobain’s global and UK strategy.
Mike Chaldecott, Managing Director of British Gypsum and Chair of the Saint-Gobain Habitat Group, said: “The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E project represents the importance of industry and academia working together to overcome some of the most challenging issues faced by the housing market today. Together, Saint-Gobain and The University of Nottingham have demonstrated how low-energy architecture can lend itself to the mass-market with a versatile and modular design.
“As a company, we are committed to delivering sustainable construction solutions that will enable new homes to meet the new FEES standard suggested for the 2016 zero carbon target – Nottingham H.O.U.S.E is a great example of this.
“The project provided a great learning opportunity for us and the students, and the house is something students in the future can build on. Collaboration is key to innovation, and co-developing with experts in the industry, as well as encouraging the next generation of talent, will allow us to create a more sustainable habitat.”
92% of the students felt that they learnt more about design and construction from working on The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E, than if they just learnt from lectures and the studio teaching environment. (Dr L Rodrigues, 2010), so this hands-on ‘live-project’ experience has proved invaluable preparation for the real world of work.
Ben Hopkins, one of the student project lead designers of the H.O.U.S.E, said: “The opportunity from Saint-Gobain and the University allowed us to take forward the skills we gained into the industry. The project enabled us to enjoy what we do and redefine our career choices beyond architecture, opening doors to a diverse range of paths, which have included, contracting, graphic design and academia.”