Eco House Design: Chelsfield House

During our visit to Bath we were invited to Chelsfield House, the 95th SuperHome in the UK.  8m²of solar panels, photovoltaic electric panels, underfloor heating, an air-heat-source pump, argon filled double glazing and loft and roof insulation, are some of the green features that make this a full-on eco house.  The 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom property has a carbon saving of 62% and takes less than 11KW to heat up. To put that into perspective,  a three bar electric fire uses approximately 3KW, and blasting at full power it will heat a reasonably sized room. You can see then that Chelsfield, which is considerably larger than a room, is highly energy efficient.

eco house


Nick Sandy from ST8 (Building Matters) Limited., Chelsfield’s project manager, showed us around and told us about all the clever developments. We were especially impressed with the rain water harvesting, heat recovering and energy saving systems. We’ve explained these projects in more detail, below.

inside chelsfield

Rain water harvesting

Chelsfield House has two green roofs that are placed at the front and back of the property. The rain fall is naturally filtered through these sedum roofs and stored in a 6,400 litre rain water harvester, kept under the lawn. The harvester supplies the house with water for the washing machine, plants and toilets. A square metre of sedum can hold up to 60% of the water that falls on to it; it releases slowly into the rain water harvesting system and stops flash flooding. The green roofs are not only practical, they have aesthetic purposes too, as they look like wild flower meadows during the summer months. They additionally attract wildlife and provide food for insects.


Heat recovering ventilation:

Heat recovering ventilation should exist in every home as it keeps the air in your house moving, keeping areas dust-free. The excess heat and condensation that are created in bathroom and wet areas (for example when you’ve taken a shower) are extracted by the ventilation system, passed through a heat exchanger and re-distributed throughout the whole house changing the air every 2 hours. Whenever someone enters the bathroom, the system kicks in as it assumes they will create heat. This stand-by mode means that no heat is wasted and moisture will be recycled, helping prevent mould problems and keeping the air fresh. The cool, filtered air is additionally optimal for asthmatics and since the boiler needs to generate less heat, the system is also energy saving.

eco homes

eco friendly homes

Energy management integration

Every little bit helps and when it comes to energy saving, that can mean a lot. Chelsfield House has an Idratek integrated whole house energy management system that controls and monitors the entire house. Hot water is turned on when the motion sensors detect that a person enters a room, and lights are turned on in the same way. Doors need to be kept shut in order to optimise the system, as the sensors are integrated within them. Forgetting to leave windows open, letting cold air in, won’t be an issue as the system notifies you of that too.

eco house design

eco building

Maintaining multiple temperature zones means that guest rooms can be kept at a low temperature, and areas you spend more time in, at a comfortable level. To top it off, an energy efficient cladding covers the house, helping further to save money on energy bills. The Dryvit system used on Chelsfield House is an 80mm external insulation render, which reduces energy usage and operates as a “thermal blanket”.

Once a dull-looking detached 1960’s building, Chelsfield is now a beautiful Italianate-style villa, with very impressive eco credentials. However, it wasn’t an easy project to undertake. It took 1 year to get planning permission and 18 months to build, but we’re sure the homeowners are pleased with their lifestyle choice now. Nick Sandy says: “As a company we dealt with the whole process from obtaining the planning permission, dealing with building control, to designing the energy systems and co-ordinating the specialist contractors and trades to work together and produce an outstanding property and family home.”

If you’d like to transform your house into a SuperHome, post your job on and start finding quality, local tradesmen. 

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