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Case Study: 95A Robinson Road, South West London

A single-storey, 3-bedroom new build eco home, with a wildflower meadow roof, built with SIPs Eco Panels to create a truly carbon neutral, sustainable modern home, featuring an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM sustainability certification, and energy bills of just £150 a year.

Location: Colliers Wood, South London, SW17. UK

Materials: 169mm thick SIP walls, 194mm thick SIP roof panels, 254mm deep metal web joist deck & 89mm x 38mm CLS internal stud walls

Area: 104.7m2

BREEAM Rating: Excellent

With energy prices rising out of control, and households everywhere expecting bills to increase even further, any new build must tackle the challenge of keeping those costs down.

SIPs panels are often considered the construction material of choice for a carbon-neutral, sustainable build for their incredible insulation properties, for their responsibly sourced timbers and 100% recyclable EPS insulation.

For this reason, SIPs Eco Panels are the perfect choice for the client with energy costs at the forefront of their mind.

Below we’ve highlighted how our self-build client used SIPs Eco panels to build a sustainable eco-home that not only keeps those spiraling energy costs down, but this carbon-neutral home actually produces more energy than it uses each year.

Sustainability, rising energy costs and carbon-neutral values were not the only considerations for the brief as the client did not compromise on a high-quality, luxurious finish for this family home.

The challenge – a carbon neutral eco home

The client wanted to build a completely carbon-neutral home that was eco-friendly, energy-efficient and completely self-sustaining, also featuring a wildflower meadow roof to offset any ecological impact the house might have on the surrounding environment.

It needed to be airtight, so that there would be very little thermal energy lost through the walls, but needed to be light and airy, so it could avoid problems like damp and condensation, whilst also feeling like a comfortable family home.

As well as the challenges usually presented by a regular house build, there was also the structural integrity of the roof to consider. Most roofs are able to bear a load of 40kg per m2. This Sips roof was required to bear 140kg per m2 for the wildflower meadow.

The area of the build also presented a challenge, with the land being off a main road and behind some existing residential structures. The build would have to be minimally invasive to the neighbours in terms of noise and access.

The emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, and a scarcity of both materials and labour added additional challenges to this self-sustained eco build.


The solution

To create an airtight, incredibly well-insulated and energy-efficient home, the client was keen to use our SIPs Eco Panels, and sent the blueprints over to our team. Then it was just a matter of waiting whilst their panels were delivered, ready to be assembled.

For the superstructure of the house, the client used a SIPs Eco panel kit including 169mm for the outer walls, 254mm deep metal web joists for strength and stability, and 89mm x 38mm CLS internal stud walls to make the house’s internal structure.

To deal with the challenge of the roof needing to take loads of up 140kg per m2, the client used 194mm thick SIP roof panels. These were strong enough to accommodate both the 2ft wildflower roof garden, and the 3.2 kW PV solar panels.

Extra care and attention to detail was put into making the house airtight, sealing and taping up any gaps. This ensured minimal heat loss through the walls and solar heat gain through the triple-glazed and insulated windows.

Because the house was a closed, airtight system, a mechanical ventilation heat recovery system provided filtered air throughout the house, combating both condensation and damp, and it also stopped the house from feeling stuffy.

Heating and hot water are provided by a 4kW air source heat pump. This operates at 300% efficiency, and in comparison, a typical 30kW boiler in a similar sized three-bedroom property operates at about 89%.

Due to the build being situated on a small area of land away from the main road and behind some residential structures, there was potential for a disruptive presence like cranes and other machinery, noise, and tradesmen going back and forth.

However, because SIPs panels are fabricated off site, not only did this build take less time, but there was less of an intrusive presence from builders, machinery and noise. There was also less building waste, so less need for skips to store and transport it.


The results – a quality and energy-efficient eco-home

Quality, energy efficiency, and minimal ecological impact; this build demonstrated what can be achieved in these areas, all thanks to the inherent nature of our fully-insulated SIPs panels.

Making the house airtight ensured a closed system with very little thermal loss.

The wildflower meadow and 3.2 kW PV solar panels served the twin purpose of being minimally disruptive to local wildlife, and provided the house with 20% more energy than the family used on an annual basis.

The client was delighted, and felt we had achieved every aspect of the brief, including being a luxury family home:

“It’s like when you get in a Bentley. You can just feel the solidity of it and the quality, and it feels different living there.

When we lived in a Victorian semi-detached house our energy bills were nearly £2,300 a year – we’re anticipating our energy bills will be £150 a year in our new eco home. Why isn’t every house like this?”

With an energy bill reduction of nearly 94%, this build also received a lovely write-up in The Times.

Because of the results of the build, the client has now gone on to form a sustainable building company called Whitebroom, based on all of the principles achieved during the building of 95A Robinson Road.


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