The key to any net-zero or energy efficient house is a tight and high performance envelope, and this is exactly the strategy used to design The Houl -- a net-zero carbon home located in Scotland. Designed by Simon Winstanley Architects, this contemporary, single-story long-house has been carefully set back into the landscape and constructed sustainably to create a living space with a very low level of energy consumption. Passively designed to make the most out of the day's sun, the three-bedroom home also has super-high insulation levels that meet Passiv Haus standards.
The house makes use of classic solar passive design strategies like clerestory windows on the north side, and principle rooms on the south side — both arranged to take advantage of the sunlight and shading in order to minimize overheating. The entrance is situated on the northeast side and located under a cover to shelter it from the prevailing winds. Ancillary services, like the kitchen, utility room and a bathroom are located to the rear the structure. The roof line matches the angle of the adjacent slope, and the whole building tucks neatly into the hillside.
Constructed of lightweight, but highly insulated steel and timber frame construction, The Houl is insulated to Passiv Haus standards to minimize heat loss. Gaps are also sealed tightly to eliminate infiltration. The exterior is clad in cedar weatherboarding, which has weathered to a natural silver grey color, and the roof is ﬁnished in pre-weathered grey standing seam zinc. All of the windows and doors are triple-paned. An air source heat pump works in combination with a heat recovery ventilation system that heats and cools the home efficiently. Meanwhile an on-site wind turbine generates all the power needed.
The Houl by Simon Winstanley Architects has been added to the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) shortlist of seventeen buildings for the 2011 RIBA Awards in Scotland.
Images ©Andrew Lee