HOUSE is a home in Nottingham

Zero carbon ‘HOUSE’ designed and built by students ‘comes home’ to the University of Nottingham

This June, the Nottingham Home Optimising the Use of Solar Energy (HOUSE) comes home. It will officially take pride of place on Green Close – a ‘living lab’ of seven eco-homes on University Park.

Design and construct a low cost, zero carbon, family starter home, transport it to Spain, build it, landscape it and open it to the public. That was the challenge faced by a group of students from the Department of Architecture at The University of Nottingham when they agreed to enter the first ever Solar Decathlon Europe in 2010. Mark Gillott, Professor of Sustainable Building Design, said: “It was one of the toughest challenges we have ever set our students and they excelled, winning praise from the competition judges for the building’s sustainability credentials.”

With the support of Saint-Gobain, their industrial partner, The University of Nottingham student and staff team were the only UK team brave enough to enter this international competition. The architecture students became the first in the country to design and build a zero carbon house as part of their degree course for this prestigious competition.

The Nottingham HOUSE is based on German Passivhaus standard. With its heavily insulated building fabric, well considered use of glazing, good day lighting and optimised solar gains, the Nottingham HOUSE requires minimal energy for space heating. It has been specially designed to work as part of a terrace, as courtyard housing or as a semi-detached property. The offsite prefabricated modular design makes it easy to construct – in fact, in Madrid the HOUSE was built in a week.

The Solar Decathlon legacy

The house was exhibited in London at EcoBuild 2010 before being shipped across the channel to Madrid for the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010. After the competition it had to be dismantled and brought all the way back again. Over the last few months it has been adapted for the UK climate and is now permanently sited on Green Close as part of the Creative Energy Homes Project.

The result of this extraordinary journey provides an exemplar ‘zero carbon’ solution, that is a viable, repeatable, family home suitable for the UK housing market of the future. It will also play a key role in future teaching and learning and research studies.

Professor Gillott said: “Not only will the Nottingham HOUSE act as a research test bed but also as a teaching and learning facility to inform people about energy saving and renewable energy technologies.”

Pic credit: University of Nottingham

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