Ha Ha House

Ultra-low energy home constructed in the grounds of a listed villa, within the Warberrys Conservation Area of Torquay.

The significant heritage constraints and adverse planning history - which included a number of dismissed appeals - have informed the layout and single-storey form. The approved design carefully ensures the building does not harm the setting of the historic villa with the proposed green roof creating a continuation of the original lawn - forming a ‘ha-ha’ between the two properties.

The constraints have also resulted in an unusually high form-factor for Passivhaus certification (4.18) which more often utilise a compact two-storey form. The high form-factor required careful consideration was given to the method-of-construction to deliver high levels of insulation within realistic parameters of cost and thickness.

The proposals, which have been developed with specialist consultant Passivhaus Homes, use a vapour-open timber frame construction to achieve u-values below 0.08W/(m²K) for all opaque elements - this approach simplifies air tightness details and removes thermal bridges.

The site orientation allows for significant beneficial passive solar gains amounting to 20% of the overall space heating requirement. Summer overheating is managed through integrated elements of building design.

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