Family project to build eco dream home

Dorset Echo: HOME PRIDE: Erin Pank, Sarah Small, Freddie Pank and Jono Pank with the model of the Passive house which they have been given planning permission to build HOME PRIDE: Erin Pank, Sarah Small, Freddie Pank and Jono Pank with the model of the Passive house which they have been given planning permission to build

PLANNERS have given a family a chance to create an eco-friendly home that will be the first of its kind in Dorset.

Architect Sarah Pank, who goes under the professional name of Sarah Small, has designed a state-of-the-art eco-house for the plot where her family is currently living in Verlands Road in Preston, Weymouth.

After successfully achieving planning permission she and husband Jono are now one step closer to their dream home to live in with young children Erin, seven, and two-and-a-half-year-old Freddie.

The proposed two-storey house has been designed to Passivhaus standards, a rigorous German standard for energy efficiency, with an insulation that requires no heating.

There are only 26 certified Passive houses in the country, and it is believed this will be the first in Dorset.

Jono said: “We tried looking locally in Preston for a family house for several years, but unfortunately we couldn’t find any that were suitable.

“We then came across the bungalow, which doesn’t quite fit with our living requirements, but has a good size south facing garden and lovely sea views across the bay towards Portland.

“We thought we could do ‘something’ with it, so we bought it.”

After two years of feasibility studies with Sarah continuing to work on the designs, the family decided they would need to knock the bungalow down and rebuild.

Jono said: “It was then that we realised we could do something different and looked into the concept of building to the German Passivhaus standards, which are recognised as the best method to create comfortable, healthy low energy buildings.”

Passive houses involve building the external walls, floor and roof with large amounts of insulation and airtight so there is no heating requirement while fresh air is mechanically brought into the house and stale air taken out.

Sarah said: “Building a new home to the Passivhaus standards makes sense with the current rising energy bills.

“It will be amazing to have an annual gas bill of under £100.

“We are always conscious of how much we spend on heating the house. As an architect we need to look ahead and provide solutions for rising energy bills.”

The next stage for the family is to find a suitable local builder.

Comments (6)

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7:57am Tue 17 Dec 13

IslandJim1 says...

Best of luck to Sarah & family, a brave move. Personal I have always found the Passivhous very counter productive in the grand scheme of house building. They are excessively expensive & difficult to detail and build. The chance of finding a builder who is able to provide the quality of build required on budget and on time is nye impossible in this country (just look at the Pennsylvania heigh noddy houses on Portland, a site still not complete after 3years, which incidental were originally touted as Dorset's first PassivHous development, I presume the standard has never been met??). And when poor detailing or workmanship compromises the air test results, out comes the expanding foam and silicon sealant, 2 materials that degrade over a short period of time. I also have an issue with air tight construction, trapping pollution (dust, odours, water vapour even pests and parasites) within the envelope of the building thus requiring further expensive and power dependent technology to replace a simple and effective trickle vent or air brick, I think we're causing ourself's trouble in the long run (increase in asthma suffers in the UK can be linked to poorly ventilated modern buildings). I'm all for highly insulated homes with passive solar gain and efficient heating, but they should be naturally ventilated and able to be mass produced cheaply otherwise the standard of building in this country will never increase, and modern efficient homes will continue to be the one off Grand Designs for those who can afford it.
Best of luck to Sarah & family, a brave move. Personal I have always found the Passivhous very counter productive in the grand scheme of house building. They are excessively expensive & difficult to detail and build. The chance of finding a builder who is able to provide the quality of build required on budget and on time is nye impossible in this country (just look at the Pennsylvania heigh noddy houses on Portland, a site still not complete after 3years, which incidental were originally touted as Dorset's first PassivHous development, I presume the standard has never been met??). And when poor detailing or workmanship compromises the air test results, out comes the expanding foam and silicon sealant, 2 materials that degrade over a short period of time. I also have an issue with air tight construction, trapping pollution (dust, odours, water vapour even pests and parasites) within the envelope of the building thus requiring further expensive and power dependent technology to replace a simple and effective trickle vent or air brick, I think we're causing ourself's trouble in the long run (increase in asthma suffers in the UK can be linked to poorly ventilated modern buildings). I'm all for highly insulated homes with passive solar gain and efficient heating, but they should be naturally ventilated and able to be mass produced cheaply otherwise the standard of building in this country will never increase, and modern efficient homes will continue to be the one off Grand Designs for those who can afford it. IslandJim1

8:00am Tue 17 Dec 13

MattWey77 says...

Will Kevin be coming to Weymouth (well Preston) to document the construction of this new house?

Hope all goes well with the build :-)
Will Kevin be coming to Weymouth (well Preston) to document the construction of this new house? Hope all goes well with the build :-) MattWey77

10:58am Tue 17 Dec 13

cj07589 says...

Yes all the very best to them! Imagine not having an electricity or gas bill ever, all new housing should be like this!
Yes all the very best to them! Imagine not having an electricity or gas bill ever, all new housing should be like this! cj07589

7:06pm Tue 17 Dec 13

JamesYoung says...

Now if the government could just do something about the situation where land without planning permission is worth around £5,000 an acre, and land with planning permission is worth about £500,000 an acre, then we might have a chance of everyone owning one.
Now if the government could just do something about the situation where land without planning permission is worth around £5,000 an acre, and land with planning permission is worth about £500,000 an acre, then we might have a chance of everyone owning one. JamesYoung

9:32pm Tue 17 Dec 13

JonoPank says...

Hi, thanks for the comments all.
Your points are very poignant islandjim,
We have worked through a very lenghty process to get us to where we are today, including Sarah attending RIBA workshops on Passivhaus design. We've learn't alot over the two year design process and Sarah has evolved the design from the foundations up to make the house as straightforward to build to the standard as possible.
During the summer, the heat recovery system can be switched off, windows opened like any normal house and with the help of opening roof lights, the sea breeze will be drawn through the house, cooling it naturally.
By designing a nice but basic home from the outset and by keeping the passivhaus standard at the core of the design process, we are confident that this won't cost much more than a conventional build, and will provide significantly lower living costs over time.
We are getting ongoing insight from a number of people who have and are currently working on passivhaus's and the selection of our suppliers, as you highlight, will be critical to achieving our aim and reaching the passivhaus certification.
All the best,
Jono
Hi, thanks for the comments all. Your points are very poignant islandjim, We have worked through a very lenghty process to get us to where we are today, including Sarah attending RIBA workshops on Passivhaus design. We've learn't alot over the two year design process and Sarah has evolved the design from the foundations up to make the house as straightforward to build to the standard as possible. During the summer, the heat recovery system can be switched off, windows opened like any normal house and with the help of opening roof lights, the sea breeze will be drawn through the house, cooling it naturally. By designing a nice but basic home from the outset and by keeping the passivhaus standard at the core of the design process, we are confident that this won't cost much more than a conventional build, and will provide significantly lower living costs over time. We are getting ongoing insight from a number of people who have and are currently working on passivhaus's and the selection of our suppliers, as you highlight, will be critical to achieving our aim and reaching the passivhaus certification. All the best, Jono JonoPank

10:36pm Tue 17 Dec 13

smilealoft44 says...

My sister lives in a house where she gets no electic or gas bill on acount of not paying the bills and being cut off. Thats eco living.
My sister lives in a house where she gets no electic or gas bill on acount of not paying the bills and being cut off. Thats eco living. smilealoft44

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