Touchwood Homes

Fox Barn Passivhaus

Fox Barn is a new build passivhaus in a Hampshire village designed to fit in with the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The clients approached Touchwood since they needed a super insulated, air tight frame to ensure the building met the PH specification, which coupled with our passivhaus foundation system provides a home requiring minimal heating, but with a great amount of thermal mass so a stable internal temperature.

This home is featured in the Passivhaus Trust Gallery

Fox Barn Back Story:

Building their own home was a dream for town planners, Paul and Lisa Jackson, who had already gained consent for a new house they had designed themselves in November 2010. The initial planning permission had not considered construction or energy use as it was not a requirement of the local planning authority.

The site was a former single storey barn set between two existing dwellings. A key driver was that the design should be contextually appropriate to the village setting within the Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Following the bitter winter, having had to pay huge domestic oil bills, they decided their new house should have low energy requirements. Lisa, inspired by her father’s visit to a low energy house that used the principle of recovered heat back in the 1980s, and already familiar with the Code for Sustainable Homes wanted a solution that they could trust would work reliably. After researching Passivhaus principles, they decided that this system would guarantee a home which would provide thermal performance and comfort, with very low energy requirements.

The simple plan and envelope of the house suited the Passivhaus approach and an initial review of the design by Brooks Devlin confirmed that achieving Passivhaus standard was possible. A visit to the Ecobuild show in London reviewing whole house solutions introduced the Jacksons to Touchwood Homes, an English Company who create bespoke air tight homes using structural timber I beams.

Touchwood’s team of Architect Peter Smithdale (Constructive Individuals) and Energy Consultant Roderick Williams (Williams Energy) were commissioned to complete the passivhaus planning package (PHPP) to ensure the house meets the criteria.

A revised planning application was submitted to deal with super insulation and revised glazing arrangements to achieve the correct levels of solar gain.

The house is performing exactly as predicted and is consistently a comfortable 20/21 degrees with no heating. The Jacksons are delighted to have achieved an A rated EPC and are expecting confirmation of passivhaus certification very soon.

Barn – Now

The Jacksons moved in to their new home March 2013 just before the unseasonably cold Easter. Their experience so far is excellent.

Living in a Passivhaus is very comfortable, it is naturally light with large areas of glazing to the south. The temperature is consistent, there are no draughts or cold spots, the air is fresh and the house is quiet. Equally it does not overheat, triple glazing prevents significant heat gain in summer.  There are no radiators, no boiler and potentially no bills.

Key Facts:

  • Approx -£15 / month fuel ‘costs’ after RHI and FiT subsidy (i.e £15/month profit!)
  • Treated floor area: 210m2
  • Air permeability at our frame completion of 0.13m3/m2/hr.  (0.2 at final test)
  • EPC Rating A (102)
  • Primary energy use / m2 floor area – 2kWh/m2/year
  • Build cost approx. £1300/m2
  • Build time: 10 months
  • MVHR – PAUL Novus 300 – designed, supplied and installed by Touchwood
  • Renewables: 3.6kWp PV & solar thermal