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11 Jul 2019

Rees Farm: The future of new builds

Owen Stinchcombe built the energy efficient house of his dreams, complete with Solar PV and ground source heat pump technology, linked up to a battery storage system and operated by innovative smart controls.

Key Facts

• 4000m² new build property
• 15kW Hybrid Kensa ground source heat pump
• Integrated with Solar PV & battery storage
• Smart operating controls
• Grass sedum roof

Owen had been in property development for a number of years, so was used to purchasing and renovating houses. He searched for a suitable plot for five years, and eventually found a site in rural Gloucester where he could build the high-tech eco-home of his dreams.

It was important to Owen that the house was as environmentally friendly as possible. He commented: “We designed the build as close to Passiv-Haus standards as possible to provide maximum energy efficiency. This is my ‘forever home’ and I wanted it to be comfortable and cost-effective to run in the future. I’m practically self-sufficient in terms of power and heat.”

The plot has a little Cotswold stone cottage on site which Owen built directly on top of with a cleverly designed cantilever. This allowed the second floor to overhang the original dwelling without any external support. This means from a certain angle, the new build appears to be floating.

A grass sedum roof adds an additional layer of insulation. Although glass has been used frequently throughout the build, Owen compensated by installing high levels of insulation, and the original stone walls of the cottage heat up and retain warmth very well.

There was gas in the area, but not directly to the property and it would have cost Owen thousands to get the infrastructure in place. Owen researched renewable heating options and when he compared the efficiency of gas to a ground source heat pump, the latter returning 300% versus 90%, he knew this was a better route to go down.

He was recommended a 15kW Hybrid ground source heat pump by UK manufacturer Kensa Heat Pumps; a model specifically designed to provide ample hot water and space heating. The system is integrated with a 6kW Solar PV array on the roof linked to battery storage, which allows Owen to charge the ground source heat pump and take advantage of time of use tariffs. As he decided early on in the project that he would use ground source technology, he designed a plantroom in the basement specifically to house the heat pump unit.

Owen was keen to have simple and seamless heating controls across the build. The ground source heat pump is integrated with a whole house heat monitoring system which can be controlled through an app. The property is carefully configured to maintain a constant ambient temperature.

Underfloor heating was specified throughout the property which works very well to provide a constant and comfortable low-grade heat throughout the house.      03452 224 328

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