UK-based Simon Conder Associates converted a 19th century railway carriage into a carbon-negative modern day home. Part of a group of five beach houses called El Ray, and located near Kent, UK, the original building was terribly dilapidated but still showing architectural potential. It became a cozy daylit house that uses wind power and solar energy to create optimal thermal conditions and a dreamy atmosphere for an entire family.
The new house is cradled inside a highly insulated timber structure, with the old carriage as the center point of the main living area. Fully glazed elevations, in combination with smaller openings, frame stunning views of the adjacent lighthouse, coastguard station and nuclear power station. The beauty of the location is fully reveled through extraordinary views of the beach and sea from the observation platform that is the sloping roof deck.
The house has thick, well insulated walls, roof and floor, which minimize thermal loss and the yearly electricity bill. The external cladding and decking is made from a FSC certified hardwood called Itauba, while the floors and joinery are constructed from FSC certified birch plywood. A wood-burning stove is used sometimes as a supplement to the passive solar gain during winters and is combined with under floor heating powered by a wind turbine. The architects expect the house to generate more electricity than it will consume over the year. The excess energy would be fed back into the National Grid.