The Whitworth Co-Partnership LLP has just completed 9 new single storey dwellings for local elderly residents, the Suffolk village of Coddenham, as part of an expansion of a sheltered housing development.

The steeply sloping site presented access challenges that have been overcome by a gently sloping ramped path that meanders through the site to provide appropriate wheelchair access to all housing units.  The client brief was for high quality housing units that have very low running costs. This has been achieved by careful orientation of the buildings and the use of high levels of insulation and air tightness which substantially exceed Building Regulation requirements. Low energy lighting is used throughout with air source heat pumps serving underfloor heating and mechanical ventilation/heat recovery systems (MVHR). Each unit has an estimated annual running cost of less than £300.

These dwellings were designed to make the most of the site, with large areas of south facing glazing to maximise heat gain from the sun in the winter, with good roof overhangs on the south side to help prevent overheating in the summer. Living spaces are located on the southern side of the houses with high ceilings to create bright spacious living accommodation which overlooks private courtyard garden spaces.

Each house has a living room, kitchen/diner and garden room which opens out on to the courtyard garden.

The houses have been constructed with underfloor heating via an air source heat pump system and all walls have been constructed using dense blockwork to maintain a stable thermal environment preventing significant fluctuations caused by variations in external conditions.  The houses are highly insulated and achieve very high levels of air tightness to provide exceptional thermal performance and energy efficiency. All of the blockwork was constructed from Ligancite Carbon Negative blocks to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction fabric.

The MVHR system used is 94% efficient in heat recovery to ensure minimal heat loss with high air quality thus providing a very comfortable internal environment.

The houses have been arranged in small groups scattered around the site, which in turn creates a number of landscaped communal garden spaces, with the backdrop of mature woodland to the east.