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Case Study

Springfield Meadows

Summary

Springfield Meadows is a project of 25 high-performance homes, which provide comfortable, low-carbon living. Residents benefit from diverse shared outdoor spaces, including a wildlife pond, an orchard and private gardens.

The design is guided by Passivhaus principles and constructed using the Biond system, an off-site manufactured, closed panel timber frame construction, insulated with Lime-Hemp and natural fibre insulation.

Springfield Meadows has been awarded One Planet Living Global Leader status by the leading environmental charity Bioregional.

Key information

  • Client and developer: Ssassy Springfield Ltd
  • Architects/designer and contractor: Greencore Construction Ltd
  • Location: Southmoor, Oxfordshire
  • Project type: New build
  • Number of homes: 25
  • Sector: 9 affordable homes, 16 private units
  • Key dates: 18 units complete, full completion estimate December 2021

Key facts/highlights

  • Zero embodied carbon
  • Net-zero energy in use
  • The second phase of the project locks up more carbon than it emits and generates more energy than it uses
  • Awarded One Planet Living Global Leader status by Bioregional
  • BBO Wildlife Trust partnership
  • Elimination of gas utilities to create an all-electric development
  • PV panels to make it net-zero energy

Energy performance

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI): Net zero in operation
  • EPC rating: A
  • Space heating demand: 15 kWh/m²/yr (Passivhaus), with ongoing monitoring
  • Dwelling Fabric Energy Efficiency (DFEE): 42.3 kWh/m²/yr
  • U values: 0.14 W/m²K (Passivhaus classic, uncertified)
  • Air tightness: 0.6 ACH (Passivhaus classic, uncertified)
  • MVHR installed
  • Direct electric heating, hot water and cooking
  • PV panels, are estimated to generate more electricity than used over the course of the year

Current monitoring is being undertaken with meter readings but the developers are about to put in place a detailed programme with a research institute to collect more detailed data.

The second phase of the project locks up more carbon than it emits and generates more energy than it uses. This is as a result of the lessons learned in the first phase of the project. Once carbon neutrality was achieved, the developers wanted to get to climate-positive. 

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

A whole life carbon assessment of the individual panels that the homes are constructed from has been undertaken, with a study of a ‘typical’ individual house being undertaken as of the writing of this case study, with results to be made available in the future. 

Everything is designed so that it uses mechanical fixings that can be withdrawn to allow components to be reused or recycled. 

Some houses incorporate smart technology (specified by the clients so there are various price points), with the aspects that link into energy control and energy monitoring considered for future projects. 

The Bioregional One Planet Living sustainability framework was chosen as it considers the wider aspects of the development as well as carbon and energy. 

Materials and construction

  • Minimising the use of high energy materials including concrete and steel 
  • Use of cross-laminated timber for the upper floors (and any flat roofs). These lock-up 125kg of CO²e/m² of floor
  • Cellulose insulation in the roofs

The project makes use of Biond Building System, a closed panel timber frame that is insulated with Lime-Hemp and wood-fibre insulation. The external wall panels lock up 32kg of CO²e/m² per wall. The following link is the output from a Bath University Research project on the system. 

https://www.biond.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/biond_laymans-guide.pdf

EV charging

Each dwelling has a provision for two EV charging units. 

Access to green space and amenities

Over an acre of shared space including a wildlife pond and an orchard.

Nature and biodiviersity

Developers worked with Berkshire Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire Wildlife Trusts to design the public open spaces and all landscaping for biodiversity gain. This is part of the One Planet Living action plan that arose out of considerations for the nature and biodiversity on the site. The BBO WIldlife Trust advised on the design phase and are carrying out monitoring for the next 5 years. 

Scalability/buildability

The panelised Biond system is pre-fabricated and lends itself to fast onsite construction at any chosen scale. For a normal house, erection on site can be carried out within a few days, with the aim to deliver a weather-tight superstructure in three weeks. 

Further links and information

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Case Study

Hurst Close MMC Demonstration Project

Summary

A demonstration project of two ‘flat pack’ homes built using a standardised platform kit-of-parts, delivered to site without the need for a heavy goods vehicle and assembled by a semi-skilled and diverse contractor team.

The 3-bedroom homes have been designed and built to achieve Passivhaus standards (uncertified), to be maintenance-free externally for thirty years, have low running costs and be available for social affordable rent.

The project was one of several small-scale projects commissioned by the London Borough of Ealing who were seeking to explore a range of MMC solutions.

Key information

  • Client: Ealing Council
  • Developer: Buildeco Offsite Architecture
  • Sub-contractor: B-Line
  • Architects: C.F.Moller Architects UK
  • Location: Northolt, Ealing
  • Engineers/consultants: Conisbee Consulting Engineers, XCO2 Energy, Butler & Young Associates (M&E)
  • Panel Manufacturer: GMOC
  • Project type: New-build
  • Number of homes: 2
  • Sector: Social Housing
  • Key dates: Handover – 16th November 2020

Key facts/highlights

  • Whole life carbon calculation of the building taken from the extraction of raw materials through to manufacturing, transport, assembly, operational use, end of life and disassembly
  • At the end of the buildings life, the system is reconfigurable to form other types of buildings
  • Fabric first approach with Passivhaus principles (not certified)
  • Reduced foundation costs, due to lighter building weight
  • Building assembled within ± 1mm
  • Site assembly by hand by a diverse, trained, multitask workforce
  • Delivered entirely in ‘white vans’, removing use for an articulated lorry
  • Achieved EPC ‘B’ without renewables, with renewables has the potential to achieve EPC ‘A’

Energy performance

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI): 53 kWh/m²/yr
  • EPC rating: B
  • Space heating demand: 22.7 kWh/m²/yr
  • Dwelling Fabric Energy Efficiency (DFEE): 42.3 kWh/m²/yr
  • U values:
    • Roof – 0.14 W/m²K
    • Ground floor – 0.13 W/m²K
    • Suspended floor – 0.16 W/m²K
    • Walls – 0.14-0.15 W/m²K
    • Door – 0.45 W/m²K 
    • Windows vary between 0.8-1.6 W/m²K, g-value 0.52-0.64
  • The tenant reported that to date their monthly bill in the coldest winter month was just £23
  • MVHR installed

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

  • The buildings can be disassembled at end of life, with panels being able to be reused and reconfigured. It is designed in such a way it can be disassembled in reverse order
  • Use of MMC to minimise material waste
  • Carbon reductions of between 30-50% were achieved due to the lightweight structure requiring shallower foundations and fewer site deliveries
  • Only 2 skips were used for waste material throughout project delivery

Materials and construction

The UK manufactured panels of the build system are constructed from non-combustible materials, Light Gauge Steel (LGS) & Magnesium Oxide boards (MgO boards), and the assembly of the panels is within ± 1mm and the overhaul dimensions of the building when assembled is within ± 2mm in all directions.

  • Floor, walls, ceiling and roof panels are almost identical
  • The building components do not use any nuts, bolts or screws and the whole building is assembled using one tool
  • To assemble the full superstructure from ground level to roof took a total of 28 man-days in three phases

EV charging

There is provision for a 32amp single phase charging point.

Thermal comfort and resilience

  • CIBSE TM52 compliance
  • Energy-efficient lighting
  • Solar control glazing

Access to green space and amenities

  • 120/150m² private rear gardens
  • 250m to the local bus stop
  • Shops within walking distance

Safety and security

The scheme complies with Secured by Design.

Scalability/buildability

The system is a standardised and is scalable using Panelised MMC category 2 (Pre-Manufacturing – 2D primary structural systems), which can then be designed to any size.

Quotes

David Baptiste, Head of Housing Development, Ealing Council

“The project was completed to a high quality build and energy standard which is endorsed both by the development department and residents living in the accommodation.”

Robert Turner, Project Officer, Ealing Council

“The Quality of the finished produce was excellent – better than the other demonstration projects, it achieved the promised thermal performance, the buildings are contemporary and attractive, and they are constructed from materials and using techniques that will minimise long term maintenance.”

Further information and images

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Case Study

Kiss House component based building system

Summary

Kiss House are developing a multi-storey single dwelling Passivhaus construction system, allowing the rapid on-site assembly of high specification homes using low-complexity, repeatable and clean methods.

The system is intended to be scalable and initially, a series of front runner projects will be constructed to prove the concept.

The Kiss House team were experts in best practice low energy construction. Their background was in bespoke one-off housing. Whilst bespoke house builds can lead the way in terms of innovation, they are generally highly inefficient as they require a project team to reinvent the wheel every time. They are like prototyping exercises, never really to be repeated.  Kiss House wanted to find a vehicle to transfer all the lessons they’d learned. 

Key information

  • Client: Various
  • Developer: Kiss House
  • Architect/Designer: Kiss House
  • Location: Multiple
  • Engineers/consultants: Kiss House
  • Project Type: New build
  • Number of homes: 1-10
  • Sector: Private Housing
  • Key dates: Handover – Start date late 2021

Key facts/highlights

Kiss House have created a building system that can:

  • Achieve Passivhaus certification
  • Be low in embodied energy
  • Work across different geographical locations.
  • Be configured into different housing typologies
  • Easy to erect
  • Use natural materials
  • component-based design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) flexibly off-site
  • Be predominantly timber and using waste and native timber
  • Displace petrochemical-based products eg steel and concrete
  • Eliminate wet trades
  • Significantly reduce local distruption/traffic movements
  • Be measurable and adaptable
  • Enable a feedback loop for continual improvement and innovation
  • High embodied carbon materials are also excluded by design

Energy performance

Kiss House is using wall and floor sensors to monitor fabric performance and room sensors to monitor internal conditions. They will be collecting energy usage data to compare with predicted data. They are developing their own soft landings equivalent for this with a BPE partner. 

  • Energy Use Intensity (EUI): Building EUI inclusive of building-mounted renewables as required to achieve Passivhaus Plus certification is anticipated to be < 10kWh/m²/yr
  • EPC rating target: A
  • Environmental Impact Rating target: A
  • Space heating demand: As this project is being designed to meet Passivhaus Plus in a variety of locations and orientations, it should be capable of delivering lower space heating demand than 15 kWh/m2/yr
  • Heat pump:5 kW PUHZ_H_Monobloc ASHP with a SCoP of 3.18 for DHW & 4.01 for space heating
  • Dwelling Fabric Energy Efficiency target (DFEE): 32 kWh/m²K
  • Dwelling Emission Rate target (DER): -5.79 kgCO2/m²/yr (Net Zero Carbon)
  • U values: Area weighted U-value of opaque elements targeting 0.11 W/m²K
  • Air tightness: High performance triple glazing with Air tightness < 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pa (equivalent to ≈0.7 m³/h/m² @ 50 Pa)
  • PV will be sized to achieve Passivhaus Plus so will vary with location

Whole life carbon/resource efficiency

Kiss House uses product design industry CAD modelling technologies to develop the construction system in high granular detail that is constructed using off-site manufacture as a system of non-volumetric building materials. This reduces waste and allows high-density transportation. 

Material and process embodied carbon information is embedded in the building model, giving full transparency of carbon values for all components used in the construction system and allowing targeted component development to reduce environmental impact. High embodied carbon materials are also excluded by design.

Stages A1 to A3 ( from BS EN 15978) Embodied carbon data are embedded into product data to enable fast analysis of component level carbon.

Thermal comfort and resilience

  • Passivhaus PHPP frequency of overheating checks
  • CIBSE TM59 design methodology for the avoidance of overheating in homes

Healthy and non toxic materials

Kiss House is pursuing WELL certification.

International WELL Building Institute announced plans to enter the single-family home market in May this year. They have created a panel of experts to collaborate on establishing the standard and Kiss House anticipates adopting the standard as soon as it becomes available.

Scalability/buildability

  • The construction system allows a majority of building assembly to occur off-site
  • Highly detailed models enable precise purchasing of materials, reducing waste
  • The construction system is process specific and site activities are defined as part of the system
  • On-site activities are repeatable and building-agnostic (i.e. the processes on site are the same whatever the building format or size). 
  • One guiding principle is to always exceed minimal space requirements
  • Adaptability is inherent in the system due to non-load-bearing walls and easily accessible services

Quotes

Mike Jacob, Director of Product and Innovation, Kiss House

“We realised that to develop new product innovations we would have to engage in radical collaboration as a team; with academia and research institutions and with specialist skills and expertise within the wider industry.

It has been a steep learning curve for the last three years, we have evolved hugely as we’ve begun to understand and harness the power of product innovation and to decarbonise construction in our attempt to respond to the need for better housing.

Ultimately, we realised that the only way to achieve our goals and help change housing was to develop a new building.”

Further information and images

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Video

Video – Net zero and the role of MMC

The first event in conjunction with out Build Net Zero Now campaign.