The Prince’s Natural House, BRE Innovation Park, Watford
The Prince’s Natural House was built in 2011 to demonstrate how a traditional, low-tech house can be designed as an alternative for housebuilders seeking to meet stringent low carbon targets for new homes; whilst still constructing in large volumes.
The house is located at the BRE Innovation Park near Watford and is constructed from natural materials to produce a home that is comfortable, attractive, healthy and adaptable. The house shows the building community that low energy usage can be partnered with traditional design aesthetics.
Out With The New, In With The Old
When this elegant, Regency-style white, two-storey property was originally built in 2011, it featured plain, contemporary, tilt & turn timber windows. Four years on it was decided that these windows should be replaced by timber sliding sash windows. It was felt that sliding sash windows would give the building more character and kerb appeal appropriate to the period design of the house. Sash windows have been a part of British architecture dating as far back as Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian times so this window design was the obvious choice.
Design & Efficiency
As member of the Wood Window Alliance, Bereco Ltd were chosen to supply the new windows for the house, the windows needed to be of traditional design but at the same time offering energy efficiency. The windows and doors supplied have 24mm Low emissivity double glazing combined with argon gas to the cavity and warm edge spacer bars to achieve a whole window U-value of 1.2W/m2K. Sliding sash windows, by design are difficult to achieve good air-tightness, this necessitates careful detail design so it is quite an achievement to produce a sash window with these qualities.
Sustainability & The Environment
The sash windows selected are from Bereco’s traditional range and the timber used in the manufacturing process is from 100% FSC slow growth northern pine, engineered to remove defects, preservative-treated and then coated with water-based microporous paint to very specific standards, in factory conditions. This gives them a negative carbon footprint (thanks to their carbon storage), an expected 60-year Service Life and extended maintenance periods of 8-10 years.
A dual colour paint finish from Bereco’s heritage range of exclusive colours was chosen with London Dust outside to give a period appearance while inside Linen was chosen for its soft neutral look, this is complemented by chrome Brighton fasteners and angel locks.
The Natural Concept Adopted at Poundbury
The concept of the Prince’s Natural House has been adopted on the Poundbury development in Dorchester where multiple contractors are striving to create a new way to live on a 400 acre site.
When work began in 1993 on the site, the idea was simple; to create a high-density urban quarter of Dorchester which gives priority to people, rather than cars, basically a walkable community.
One of the house builders Zero C have entered into a joint venture with the Duchy of Cornwall to create a number of properties that will utilise the ideas of the Princes Natural House at the BRE Innovation Park. The aim is to demonstrate that energy efficient sustainable homes are viable for volume house builders and they can compete in the market place whilst retaining the traditional foundation of British architecture.
Visiting the Princes Natural House
Visits can only be booked during the opening hours for the park which are Mon-Fri 9-4PM. Upon arrival at the park all visitors need to report to reception to obtain their visitors badge and back to reception when finished to return their badge and sign out.
To visit the Princes Natural House visitors need to book with BRE by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org a minimum of 24 hours before your intended visit.
Bereco have supplied the windows to Zero C for their phase of the build at Poundbury, keep your eyes open for pictures and a full case study in the near future.