This new home set to break ground in the English countryside looks like the future residence of the Teletubbies. But it's not child's play - the Serenity House is designed to be certified under the extremely energy-efficient Passive House standard, and it features a menu of advanced sustainable technologies. Baca Architects was liberally influenced by the aesthetic of exotic sports cars to envision a high-performance house that reinvents the English country manor for this century.
First things first, this house is huge at 16,000 square feet and is estimated to cost over 11 million dollars to build. That’s a lot – so what does it have to justify the extravagances? The sumptuous curves and bulbous look may take some getting used to, but just like how a super car is sculpted to speed through air, the house is similarly shaped to reach peak performance in its environment. Since it is going to be a certified Passive House it will sip energy like a fine Chardonnay. This means that it has good solar orientation, triple pane windows, little if no heat loss from thermal bridging, and lots of insulation.
This doesn’t mean the house can forgo all heat and cooling. It relies on two systems that are integrated to not only keep the house cozy, but efficiently heat the pool nestled in the middle of the courtyard. The first is a ground source heat pump which utilizes 490-foot deep wells, which is well over standard depths for this technology. The heat pump uses the ground as a sort of thermal battery by dumping excess heat in the summer and retrieving it again in the winter. With any luck and some good engineering the system balances itself out through the year. The other technology is a gas fired combined heat and power generator which can supplement the home’s energy usage while keeping it warm in winter and providing hot water.
This much technology would be overkill for a regular residence but starts making sense in larger spaces. To make up for the electric-intensive systems, the house has an integrated solar electric system custom designed for the arching roof. The intention is to offset the home’s total electricity consumption. The home also features a large rain catchment system, but the interior is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the architecture, with sweeping spaces that collect at the garden courtyard. The centerpiece is a waterfall cascading from the roof into a pool.
Via CIBSE Journal