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Project of the Year – Residential

Project of the Year – Residential

Project of the Year – Residential 

Recognising UK residential new-builds or refurbishments that most effectively demonstrate high levels of user satisfaction and comfort, and deliver outstanding measured building performance, energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. 

Winner: Lark Rise – Bere Architects 

Lark Rise is the UK’s first certified PassivHaus Plus home. It is an ultra-low energy, all-electric, two-bedroom detached property, on a north-west facing slope on the edge of the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire.  
As well as aiming to create the most sustainable home in the UK, the project wanted to demonstrate the ‘building as power station’ concept.

Two years of monitoring showed that Lark Rise generates twice as much energy as it consumes and draws 97% less energy from the grid than an average UK home for all uses, including heating. With a 12.4kWp photovoltaic array and a 13.8kWh battery, it also exports 10 times as much energy as it imports, so acts as a small renewable power station.

Lark Rise is kept at 20-21°C all year round, using natural, night-time purge ventilation, high-performance glazing and exposed thermal mass to minimise summertime overheating. 

The mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MVHR) system provides hygienic ventilation and a fine F7 filter on the incoming air removes particulates.Timber is sustainably sourced and untreated, while off-gassing is avoided by the use of paints and finishes with zero volatile organic compounds. 

The result is an elegant, comfortable and healthy building that uses only a fraction of the energy required by a home of a similar size built to the minimum Building Regulations. 

While costs on Lark Rise were relatively high per square metre because of the quality of finishes and fittings used to meet the client’s requirements, Bere Architects is now applying the lessons learned elsewhere and is currently producing similar performance houses for one-third of the cost on optimal sites and with simpler finishes. 

Bere Architects scored well for its attention to detail – both in terms of design and delivery of the project and its submission – and for the quality of its evidence. This demonstrates the need for attention to detail throughout the life of a project if performance is to be maximised. The practice 'really maxed out with providing all the performance data they could', said the judges, and demonstrated that the model is replicable on a larger scale at a lower cost.

Judges' comments:

Their attention to detail both in terms of design and their submission is what they scored well in.

A groundbreaking development which was used also to understand how building homes to this specification could be adopted more widely and challenge the need to fulfil energy demand through additional grid capacity.

The submission acknowledges the costs associated with this, but also demonstrates that the model is replicable on a larger scale at a lower cost.

Project Team:

Building Services Consultant: Energelio / Alan Clarke
Building Owner: Private client
Building Occupier: Tenants
Project Manager: bere:architects
Quantity Surveyor:  ATC Chartered Quantity Surveyor
Architect: bere:architects
Mechanical/Electrical Engineering Contractor: Green Building / Whisbro / Manor Electrical 
Main Contractor: Sandwood Construction 
PV and battery design and supply: Darke & Taylor


Highly commended: Cameron Close - WARM: Low Energy Building Practice
Flagship Group, Orchard Close - Finn Geotherm

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