Gifford House, Devon

Gifford House, Devon

Client: Richard Quincey
Architect: Richard Partington Architects
Type of works: supply of Aldus® low-energy timber windows to complete a self-build eco-friendly home.

Taking a positive step towards an eco-friendly lifestyle was a huge consideration in the design of Gifford House 2020, a self-build property in Devon, which has included the installation of Rationel windows and doors.

Engineer Richard Quincey and his wife were looking to move, but came to the conclusion that the ideal property was not out there in the open market. This prompted them to look at building their own property, and the availability of a plot of land in Devon turned that thought into reality.

High on the list of priorities was that the finished house – designed by Richard Partington Architects – should have extremely low energy requirements, and be capable of exceeding UK targets for years to come.

There was also the thought that as much natural light as possible should be allowed into the property, not only to give it a bright and airy feeling, but also to ensure the use of electric lighting was kept to a minimum.

High levels of insulation, deep stud timber-frame construction, low-energy ventilation and heat recovery, and low-energy appliances and lighting were all part of the overall design concept.

An important factor in achieving the high levels of insulation, and light ingress into the building, was the specification of the Aldus® range of windows from Rationel Windows. The window itself is made from solid softwood timber sections, while the exterior face houses an aluminium cladding to further enhance the insulation and durability, and reduce even further the maintenance demands. Fitted as easily as traditional timber windows, the Aldus® range is made-up from timber sections with a minimum of 90% heartwood externally from sustainable forests in Northern Scandinavia.

The robust fixing system makes use of synthetic clips, which ensure the aluminium cladding is not in direct contact with the timber; allowing ventilation and drainage in all necessary areas.

While the Rationel range of timber windows and doors already enjoys the benefits of low-maintenance demands combined with long-maintenance cycles, the Aldus®, with its aluminium cladding, further enhances these features.

Some 26 window types have been used, each being individually tailored to meet the size of its allotted space.

Automatic mechanical window controls can be found on the installation to bring the required and necessary levels of ventilation, while the glass used has been developed to provide advanced sound insulation properties combined with excellent energy and solar advantages.

Rationel’s part of the contract included the supply of fixed light and side-hung windows along with double-sliding patio doors. Also fitted with tilt-and-turn terrace doors and a panelled entrance door, with other windows including side-guided, top-swing, tilt-and-turn and combination units.

All ground floor windows were supplied to Secured by Design specification.

Figures indicate that the carbon emissions for the house are 6kg CO2/m2/year – three times better than the 2006
new-build standard, and five times less than the average dwelling. With Gifford House being twice the floor space than the average home, this makes these figures even more impressive.

Gifford House is a prime example of clever design, forethought and the selection of the right products combined to make our day-to-day lives demand less on the environment. Indeed, it should be used as an example for the rest of the housebuilding industry to follow.

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