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Low Energy Building

The terms “eco housing” and “low energy housing” are broad terms with even broader interpretations. In the context of the Josie Home, our aim is to build homes that are kind to the environment, cheap to run and comfortable and beautiful to live within.

The success of low energy housing (such as the PassivHaus and Zero-Carbon buildings) begins with the design itself. Simple, but critical, considerations such as orientation on the site, position and size of windows, and a “fabric first” approach to the building, will ensure that the Josie Home requires the minimum of energy for heating and lighting.

Design principles sound simple, but require expertise to implement effectively in order to deliver a low-energy building:

  • orientate the house on the plot to maximise natural light and winter sun, whilst minimising overheating in the summer, and optimising options for microgeneration of energy
  • ensure that the fabric of the building provides optimal insulation year-round, with a careful balance of air-tightness and ventilation to deliver a comfortable, healthy home
  • select the most appropriate heating system to care for vulnerable residents whilst minimising financial and environmental costs
  • incorporate microgeneration of energy (such as domestic-scale solar / thermal / geo / wind energy) as appropriate to the site
  • maximise the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials and resources at the building stage and in the day-to-day functioning of the finished homes.

Colin Usher (BSc(Hons) Dip Arch ARB RIBA) is an eco-housing expert with a background in both low energy housing and housing for people with special needs. The Josephine Sara Foundation is delighted that Colin has agreed to act as our consultant as we develop the plans for the Josie Homes. His own experimental, award-winning zero carbon house acts as inspiration for the JSF: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-34995666

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