Camden Mews (aka Max Fordham House)
- Original design
- Bere Architects, 2018
The 2019 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2020 programme mid August 2020 (exact date to be confirmed)
The environmental engineer Max Fordham’s new home is an ultra-low energy, all-electric, contemporary home – one of the most advanced high-performance houses in the UK. Max, now in his 80s, has designed it to be capable of working as a zero-heat house on the coldest day of a typical year. It is an exemplary project in its technical performance, its restrained use of glass, the embodiment of some of the core values of its owner, the collaborative way it was delivered, its exquisite design detailing and its construction quality.
The key process innovation was to create a new form of design and construction team collaboration to minimise the risks of dispute caused by expecting a contractor to deliver exemplary technical quality and a challenging innovation, while also requiring them to tender and perform to ‘top-down’ requirements. What was also needed was a multi-skilled and genuinely innovative contractor that would earn the respect of architect and client as a true fellow-innovator and collaborator, rather than simply a delivery vehicle.
Fabric-first, Passive House approach requires only a tiny fraction of the energy required by a similar size home built to the minimum requirements of UK Building Regulations (for all uses including heating) while being comfortable and healthy year-round.
Super-insulation (0.083W/m2K - 0.149W/m2K for opaque elements) without cold-bridges, draught-free construction using a continuous VCL (0.38ACH N50), high-performance triple glazing with insulated frames (0.6W/m2K glazing, 0.72W/m2K frames), and a heat recovery ventilation system (92% heat recovery).
‘Building metabolism’, an approach developed by Max Fordham, reduces peak heating loads on the national grid by utilising internal gains to compensate for heat losses, therefore minimising heating and cooling needs.
Specially designed, automated, insulated shutters on windows close during winter nights when windows would be losing heat. An innovation of client Max Fordham, they were extensively prototyped and developed by Bow Tie Construction.
Energy use (from as-built PHPP energy model):
- Heating demand: 13.4 kWh/m2a
- Peak heating load: 9.6 W/m2
- Primary Energy demand(regulated and unregulated): 105 kWh/m2a
6kWp of PV. All-electric building, simple and robust in operation. Eliminates on-site fossil fuel use and ready for a future 100% renewable national electricity grid.
The ventilation system runs continuously, providing hygiene ventilation with heat recovery. Occupants can adjust the ventilation with the ‘boost’ button or in summer by simply opening windows.
Interior temperatures: very comfortable 20-21degC year-round, while summer overheating is kept to a minimum (overheating to >25degC <1% of the time) using natural ventilation, high-performance glazing, and thermal mass.
Excellent indoor air quality. Stable internal temperatures and low humidity, prevent condensation and mould. An F7 filter on the MVHR’s incoming air removes particulates and pollen, so has been found to relieve the symptoms of asthma-sufferers. Finishes are zero-VOC.
Environmental damage from harmful construction industry supply chains is a major contributor to environmental damage world-wide. Camden Mews uses healthy, natural materials throughout. All timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests and untreated, which seems to be becoming increasingly difficult to achieve. Ecologically friendly zero-VOC finishes avoid off-gassing and we avoid harmful substances and manufacturing processes.
The roof garden over the ground floor living space contains a hazel coppice which will grow to four or five metres in height. The leafmould underneath is also the perfect feeding habitat for ground-feeding birds such as blackbirds.
Other roof gardens and planters also contain plants that support biodiversity.
The building occupants benefit from tiny energy bills, with a heat demand reduction of over 90% compared to a standard building regulations house and overall energy reduction in excess of 80%.
The building achieves its substantial energy reductions while creating a very comfortable interior environment. The temperature in the house is kept at 20-21degC year-round, while summer overheating is kept to a minimum (overheating to >25degC<1% of the time) by controlling the amount of south facing glazing to provide only what is needed for adequate daylighting and by using natural night-time purge ventilation, high-performance glazing, and exposed thermal mass.
Indoor air quality is also excellent thanks to ample fresh air even in winter and low humidity levels, thereby avoiding the health risks of condensation and mould. The MVHR system provides hygiene ventilation and a fine F7 filter on the incoming air removes potentially harmful particulates.