Daylight and natural ventilation key to newly launched VELUX CarbonLight Homes

The design strategy of the completed VELUX CarbonLight Homes was released today as the homes were unveiled at an opening ceremony in Rothwell, Kettering, attended by Heather Wheeler MP, The Mayor of Kettering, local Councillors and the project partners.
Paramount to the design of the two zero carbon homes, which form part of the VELUX Model Home 2020 project, is that they conform to the principles of Active House, addressing the dual challenges of energy design and liveability.
They will actively promote the health and well-being of occupants, generate a sense of community and advocate a respect for the environment, as well as achieving a 70% on-site reduction in carbon emissions with the remaining 30% offset by energy efficiency improvements to existing properties elsewhere in the borough.
Project partner, HTA Architects, has made innovative use of building technology, natural daylight and ventilation to minimise energy consumption and produce a healthy indoor climate that will make the CarbonLight Homes an attractive place to live. The scheme emerged as the winner of the Innovation Award for Building Technology at the prestigious British Homes Awards 2010.
Each property's demand for fossil fuel energy for heating, hot water and electricity has been reduced to a minimum. The dynamic building envelopes will regulate heat transmission throughout the day and the night. They will reduce the energy needed for cooling in the summer by employing natural ventilation and will utilise passive solar heat gains in the winter.
The homes promote energy self-sufficiency, using solar heating in combination with air-to-water heat pumps for hot water and space heating. Similarly, natural ventilation is used to cool the buildings with the triple height atriums around the stairs allowing for stack and cross ventilation. In hotter months, the homes can be opened up and cooled using purge ventilation while internal and external screening help to control solar gain and create a comfortable indoor climate. In winter, natural ventilation works alongside a Mechnical Ventilation system with Heat Recovery which recycles heat from the kitchen and bathrooms into the living areas.
Windows play an important part in capturing solar energy and regulating the temperature of the CarbonLight Homes as well as allowing high levels of daylight into the buildings. The homes have been designed with a minimum average daylight factor of 5% throughout, which is three times greater than the Code for Sustainable Homes requires, reducing the need for artificial light and promoting occupant health.
The home control systems will also help occupants reduce their energy consumption and ensure a healthy indoor climate. Windows can be opened at a pre-arranged time while a climate control system opens and closes windows and blinds automatically when the weather changes.
Keith Riddle, Managing Director at VELUX Company Ltd, comments:"We are extremely proud of the completed homes and the progress in zero carbon housing that they represent. While the industry is making headway in designing and building homes that meet our energy targets, the impact on the health and well-being of the occupants is all too often overlooked. By adopting an innovative approach to building technology, daylight and natural ventilation, our CarbonLight Homes are intended to act as a benchmark for future sustainable design in the broadest sense."
Ben Derbyshire, Managing Director of HTA Architects, adds:"The CarbonLight Homes' high average daylight factor, intelligent use of natural ventilation and dynamic building envelopes make them a truly unique residential development, which provides an indoor environment that will actively promote occupant health. Space, light and air are key ingredients in a recipe that we believe will appeal to home buyers and which we believe could be replicated more widely – bringing the good life to the volume market."
The CarbonLight Homes will now be open to the industry for six months, before becoming the subject of post occupancy evaluation for one year. The results will be fed back to the industry to help influence future low carbon housing design.
Experiment 5: CarbonLight Homes
CarbonLight Homes are the first new homes in the UK designed and built to the new UK Government definition of zero carbon. They are designed to be real homes for real people, with construction techniques suitable for use by mass house builders. CarbonLight Homes use nature in an intelligent way to maximise daylight and encourage a sustainable lifestyle. The design is open plan and incorporates high levels of daylight and natural ventilation, intended to minimise energy consumption among residents and generate a sense of community. The homes show that common-sense design can be used to create inspirational sus-tainable houses that can be easily replicated by UK housebuilders.
CarbonLight Homes were developed in a strategic partnership between Architects HTA, the VELUX Group, Kettering Borough Council, WILLMOTT DIXON and North Northants Development. WindowMaster, VELFAC, Drexel and Weiss and Sonnenkraft supplied the products for the house.
CarbonLight Homes are the fifth of six buildings in Europe to be constructed by the VELUX Group as part of the Model Home 2020 experiment. They will be completed in 2011.
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Press photo: From the left: Keith Riddle, Managing Director of VELUX Company Ltd.; cutting the ribbon Heather Wheeler, Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire; Jørgen Tang-Jensen, CEO VELUX Group, Ben Derbyshire, Managing Director of HTA Architects. Photo: John Robertson
About Model Home 2020Model Home 2020 is an experiment launched by the VELUX Group as part of our strategy to take an active part in developing sustainable buildings for the future. It is our vision of how future buildings can be both climate-neutral and comfortable and attractive places to live in through daylight and fresh air. The project is in full accordance with the next generation of design principles frequently referred to as 'active house' ( The objective is to achieve a balance between energy efficiency and optimal indoor climate with a building that dynamically adjusts to its surroundings and yet is climate-neutral.
Model Home 2020 comprises six demonstration projects. The two experiments in Denmark were built in a partnership between the VELUX Group and VELFAC. Each of the Model Home projects was implemented in close cooperation with local and regional partners, suppliers, architects, engineers and researchers.
In the VELUX Group, we believe that one experiment is better than a thousand expert views. Each building must reflect and respond to the different climatic, cultural and architectural conditions of the countries in which they are built. The houses will be open to the public for 6-12 months after completion and then sold. Each house will be monitored during occupancy to learn how the experiments turn out in real-life conditions. The houses in Denmark – Home for Life in Aarhus and Green Lighthouse in Copenhagen – have been in use for a year and a half, those in Germany and Austria opened in the autumn of 2010, and those in the UK and France will follow in 2011.