Cedar Barn, Hanslope – Simple and Sustainable

Cedar Barn is a traditional timber-framed family home located in Hanslope near Milton Keynes and is currently setting the benchmark for sustainability in conventional new-build housing.

Completed in December 2014 by owner, developer and builder Deluxe Developers working closely with project architect, Milton Keynes based 3d Architects, Cedar Barn has achieved Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

Whilst sustainability is most often associated with modernist buildings, eccentric designs and sometimes overly conspicuous technologies, Cedar Barn’s true innovation is its achievement of the highest environmental standards within a very traditional family home without the need for complex designs and expensive or obtrusive interventions.

Conceived as an “exceptionally sustainable” property by 3d Architects in order to comply with the local planning committee requirement that any new build in the area needed to be “innovative” in its conception, Cedar Barn combines a number of simple solutions and sustainable materials alongside a mix of renewable-energy technologies.

Designed to resemble a traditional barn conversion, the timber-framed and clad building has been wrapped in extremely efficient surfaces with U values that are significantly better than those given in Part L1A of the Building Regulations. This has included exceptional levels of insulation, triple-glazed windows and careful consideration has been given to the removal of thermal bridges.

Cedar Barn has presented many opportunities to maximise the use of renewable technologies. By deploying the latest thin-film solar PV panels Cedar Barn has an overall on-site electricity generation of 15kW, whilst a ground-source heat pump system has been laid at 1m below surface for underfloor heating.

State-of-the-art control and monitoring equipment also ensures that the combined electrical and thermal energy, ventilation and insulation perform to their optimum. It also enables all the systems to be reviewed and recorded on an hour-by-hour basis, with every technology within the house controlled from a mobile phone or tablet.

Cedar Barn has already achieved over 154 per cent improvement on Building Regulation Part L1A 2010 and zero net CO2 emissions and is currently producing nearly three times the electricity it uses.

Although Cedar Barn is now occupied by the developer’s family, such is the success of this innovative carbon-negative project, he is using the project to showcase to the building industry and home buyers that renewable energy and sustainable construction is an easily achievable proposition.

Ken Wallace, Associate Director at 3d Architects, comments:

“There is nothing that has not been done before in terms of the materials and technologies deployed but I believe it is unique to combine all these into a building that looks like a converted 19th century barn. The best systems for conserving natural resources and for delivering renewable energy do not have to be ostentatious and futuristic. Sustainability should be pragmatic and conducive to comfortable living and local character.”