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Eco-friendly home gets go-ahead in Midlands; Alison Jones discovers the delights of owning a revolutionary 'energy neutral' family friendly eco house - which produces its own electricity and sells the excess it creates back to the national grid...

Byline: Alison Jones

Estate agency Fisher German has revealed that a revolutionary 'energy neutral' eco house - which will produce its own electricity and sell the excess it creates back to the national grid, has been given the planning go-ahead in the East Midlands. The Craves will be a brand new fourbedroom property located in the ancient village of Little Harrowden, Northamptonshire.

It will cost in excess of half a million pounds to build, using novel sustainable construction techniques with innovative renewable energy capture and storage facilities. Featuring a range of cutting edge renewable energy technologies, it will be self-suf.cient in terms of energy and services, utilising photovoltaic panels, passive solar gain, ground source heat pumps, and energy storage within the building.

While it will be undeniably striking to look at, it is intended that The Craves will blend with its natural surroundings, sitting adjacent to a lake, and using low re?ectivity external ?nishes.

The building's two main rotunda towers, which will accommodate the prime living space, are designed to look like Lily Pads from above, in keeping with the lakeside setting. The rotundas are linked by a large atrium and entrance hall, with substantial glazing, which forms an integrated part of the energy ?ow and ventilation systems.

The house was designed by Home Revolution Limited, who specialise in the creation of innovative buildings that minimise energy usage and maximise renewable energy capture and storage.

The company's project several years ago was a rotating house that is able to track the sun for solar heating, or turn away from the sun for cooling. The Craves will be built to an air tight speci.cation, featuring mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, gaining most of its heat from passive solar and water source heat pumps.

Thermal stores within the building will provide cooling during hot weather and heating during cold weather.

The lower ?oors feature battered walls with a locally coloured stone or brick, while the upper ?oor is covered with external zinc cladding.

The roof, with large overhangs to provide solar shading, is water proofed in seamless ?bre glass, with a sedum growing layer on top. Power will be provided by a 20 kWp solar PV array.

Fisher German were instrumental in establishing Home Revolution with Robin Hamilton and architects CadenzaVM and the three organisations work closely together.

Kay Davies, head of Planning at Fisher German, said "Gaining planning permission for dwellings in the countryside is notoriously dif.cult unless they are for agricultural purposes. However, where a dwelling is so exceptional in terms of the highest standards of architecture and innovative design, National Planning Policy provides a window of opportunity to bring forward such projects. We were able to demonstrate that The Craves met this extremely high standard."

Construction of the four-bedroom property is likely to begin in the next six months and it will take approximately one and a half years to build.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 17, 2012
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