Is this a home or a grassy green hill? That's exactly the kind of confusion Richard Hawkes was going for with the zero-carbon Crossway house near Kent in the UK. Wanting a low-cost home with a small footprint, Hawkes kept finding more ways to make the now-certified Passivhaus even more sustainable than he originally envisioned. Not only does it have a beautiful living meadow on its roof, which insulates the home, but several renewable energy sources provide heat and electricity to keep the carbon footprint super low. Hawkes also mixed all kinds of recycled goods into the lime mortar, and achieved part of the superior thermal massing with 26,000 clay bricks that were dug and formed just four miles from where the home has taken its eye-catching vaulted shape.
The 20 meter roof span is covered in beautiful flowers during the spring time, and integrated into the snowy landscape during winter. But nobody will go cold since a combined photovoltaic and thermal solar system and a biomass boiler produce plenty of energy and heating. Summers are comfortable too thanks to the insulating properties the green roof, clay bricks, and timber vaulting that further obviate the need for any energy intensive insulating materials like concrete.
Newspaper, car tires and crushed bottles were mixed into the lime mortar to finish the interior, which has a warm, and natural ambience. Triple glazing and a heat recovery ventilation program further enhance the home’s overall comfort, matching the unparalleled exterior aesthetic. This is one of the UK’s original zero-carbon homes, which officially gained Passivhaus certification in July, 2010, and frankly, all we can say is wow!