Minimum energy-maximum space: higher-density attached family housing

N.K. Burford, J. Thurrott, A. D. Pearson

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    In 2016 all new houses in England and Wales must be zero carbon. To date most work in zero carbon housing has been carried out on detached family housing typologies. Practice has shown that one of the overriding factors in the struggle to achieve zero carbon status (Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6) is the projected significant increase in construction cost. While grant funding can offset some of this increase, further costs savings will be required to allow developers to deliver affordable homes within reasonable profit margins. One result of this will be a reduction in design quality; which will impact on the quality of the spaces provided and the robustness and longevity of the construction and finishes. In order to deliver better design standards, higher density attached family housing models should be considered to ensure that a proportion of the projected increase in cost of the building fabric can be transferred to the internal volume of the house, thus achieving better quality living spaces. The following paper reviews the context for future housing provision in the UK and examines two existing medium density terraced housing developments. The existing examples reflect two contrasting approaches: one derived from low-energy principles utilising minimum space standards, the other reflecting the need for high quality spaces but at premium cost. A new medium density terrace model is proposed that deals with these conflicting demands to demonstrate that it is possible to provide affordable, high quality, higher density, family housing whilst meeting low energy targets.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)62-73
    Number of pages12
    JournalOpen House International
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


    • Zero-carbon
    • Family-Housing
    • Urban Housing
    • Sustainability
    • Medium-Density


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