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Award winning sustainable home – created in just 8 months

In 2015, Colin and Alison Heal built their own sustainable home from scratch.  From start to finish the whole project took a mere 8 months.  Yet the result is a beautiful, contemporary building which is fully sustainable, zero carbon and still providing huge benefits three years on.

In 2016 the building was awarded the prestigious Most Sustainable Construction award at the Hertfordshire Building Future Awards.  Judges described the home as “an inspirational private residence that achieves zero carbon in use.  The approach is exemplary with exceptional attention to detail.”

Three years on and the stylish, timber-framed home is still producing numerous benefits for the proud owners.  Not only is it a sumptuous, comfortable, family home it also generates its own electricity and saves 3.5 tonnes of carbon each year.

Colin explains “We wanted to demonstrate how modern design and methods of construction can be used to create not only a sustainable home, but an attractive and desirable property.  We wanted to show that there are other ways to build new houses and we have done just that.  We have created our dream home – one that is truly sustainable, whilst still being innovative and contemporary.  We built it in a fraction of the time of typical traditional new builds, with minimal environmental impact.  Although I would say it cost around 5% more to build sustainably, we receive an annual income of nearly £3,000 from the electricity and ground source heat we produce.  On top of that, you can’t put a price on the feelgood factor.”

The biggest contributor to the energy saving in this property is the recycled glass fibre insulation, which has been installed throughout the building.  The roof itself is fully constructed from 35 photovoltaic solar panels, which required a 3-phase electricity supply to be installed to handle the additional power generated.  Alongside a ground source heat pump and automatic heat recovery and ventilation system, this is one of a small number of buildings in the UK that can boast it is truly zero carbon.

Such is the success of his home, Colin has set up ZEHo Projects, a project management consultancy specialising in sustainable developments.  One of his current projects is a sustainable office block near Milton Keynes which includes a water source heat pump using the heat from an adjacent lake.

The deadline to enter the 2018 Hertfordshire Building Futures Awards is Friday 6th July and winning schemes will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony on 4th October at Knebworth House.

Projects can be nominated under one or more of the four award categories: Design Excellence, Most Sustainable Construction, Retrofit for the Future and Project of the Year.  Schemes must be located in Hertfordshire and completed between 17th September 2015 and 27th April 2018.

Any development is eligible for nomination, no matter how big or small, from individual buildings to large scale developments. Projects can include new build, conversion and refurbished schemes in the residential, commercial, retail, education, health and leisure sectors.

Previous winners include Bentley House, Hertford; Parkside View Apartments in St. Albans; North Hertfordshire College, Hitchin Campus and 62 Kimpton Road, Wheathampstead (Colin and Alison Heal’s house above)

For more information about the Awards, please visit: