The Prince's Natural House - BRE Innovation Park Watford
The Prince’s Natural House demonstrates a simple, low-tech and easy-to-build way for volume house builders to meet increasingly stringent low carbon targets for new homes.
Built by The Prince's Foundation for Building Community, the house is a highly energy-efficient structure that still reflects many people's preference for traditionally designed buildings.
It is constructed from natural materials including aerated clay block, lime based renders and plasters, and insulation using compressed wood fibre and sheep's wool. The thermally coherent shell, which delivers energy efficiency and good indoor air quality, is simple and quick to build and is designed to appeal to an increasingly eco-aware homebuyer.
“The Prince’s Natural House doesn't wear its 'greenness' as if it was the latest piece of haute couture.”
HRH Prince of Wales
Key features include:
- Natural materials - the solid walls are made from strong, lightweight clay blocks that have high levels of thermal insulation, but lower embodied energy than conventional bricks. The walls are a single skin of aerated clay blocks with external lime render, with an internal wood fibre board, which provides good insulation. The roof tiles are clay and the floors and windows are made from FSC-certified timber.
- Ease of manufacture - the simple construction can be built using conventional skills but is quicker than traditional ‘brick & block’.
- Versatility and adaptability – it can be constructed in a range of architectural forms including paired dwellings, squares and terraces. It can be subdivided to configure a family home, maisonette or smaller flat, reflecting changing demographics and people's needs over the long term.
- Health and wellbeing - the use of natural, non-toxic materials provides a healthy environment, promoting air movement without mechanical air-conditioning. A research project is examining the impact of natural materials on air quality, on allergy resistance and on general wellbeing.
To find out more about the Prince's Foundation: www.princes-foundation.org