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Sustainably Happi

Prince Charles House is an award winning BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) Outstanding development, purpose-built for persons aged 50 years and over and those with support needs.

It was completed in April 2012.

In addition to being a sustainable development, the design and construction also meets HAPPI (Housing the Aging Population: Panel for Innovation) and Lifetime Homes standards, therefore providing an enabling environment for its residents and able to meet their changing needs as they grow older.

Exemplar

Prince Charles House is the demonstrator project for the St Austell and China Clays Eco-community enabled by grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency through Cornwall Council. The knowledge gained from this project is being shared and used to enhance the design and functionality of future developments.

BREEAM Outstanding

Prince Charles House was intentionally designed to meet the highest environmental standards and was awarded the highest BREEAM Outstanding rating. This award describes the building’s environmental performance incorporating the design, specification, construction and use; such as lower utility bills. This is the first Outstanding scheme in Cornwall and the first older person multi-residential project to be awarded this status in the UK. This rating was achieved through;

  • Having a compact building form with high insulation properties (U-values of 0.15W/m2.K and 0.13W/m2.K for external walls and roof respectively).
  • Orientating the building to gain maximum benefit from passive solar gain and minimise space heating requirements.
  • Reducing the need for artificial lighting through installing oversized windows throughout the development and incorporating atrium roof lights along the top corridor with void spaces in the floors allowing for light to cascade through to the ground floor.  Corridor facing kitchen windows bring additional light into the apartments.
  • Low apartment air permeability rating of 3m³/m².hr which minimises heat loss whilst mechanical ventilation with heat recovery provides fresh air and recycles up to 92% of heat.
  • Installing a 49.6kW photovoltaic array which powers the communal areas.
  • Incorporating a circa 330m2 biodiversity roof to assist with insulation properties and reduce water run-off.

Electricity minimised

The scheme’s electricity usage has been minimised through:

  • Reducing the need for artificial lighting by maximising natural light across the development with full height windows in apartments and communal areas, atrium roof lights along the communal corridor with void spaces in the floors allows for light to cascade through to the ground floor. Corridor facing apartment kitchen windows bring additional light into the apartments.
  • Installing low energy light fittings throughout the development and external areas with sensors along the corridors allowing for each half of the corridor to be controlled independently.
  • A 49.5kW photovoltaic array powers the communal areas.
  • Supplying energy efficient A/A+ rated washer/dryer, fridge/freezer and dishwashers to apartments.

Water and Space Heating minimised

The requirement for space heating is minimised through:

  • Orientating the building maximise on a south facing aspect to gain the most benefit from passive solar gain.
  • A compact building form and high insulation levels minimise heat loss.
  • Installing winter garden buffer spaces on the south facing apartments which act as a barrier to pre warm incoming air.
  • Designing and constructing the apartments to achieve a low air permeability rating which minimises drafts and heat loss.
  • Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery which recycles up to 92% of the heat within the apartments and provides fresh air.
  • Zone controlled heating within apartments allowing for temperatures of individual rooms to be set accordingly.

Carbon Emissions in Year 2, Prince Charles House emitted 57% less carbon emissions in comparison to a notional building.

Gas consumption continues to be much less than the regional averages. Individual household consumption during the second year was 68% less than the Cornwall average, 72% less than that across the South West and 76% below the average across England as a whole.

HAPPI

The HAPPI features that have been incorporated to bring added benefit to the residents include:

  • Spacious, energy-efficient, bright and easily adaptable open planned apartments (54m² and 74m² for one and two bedroom dwellings respectively) with additional external space from balconies and winter gardens/patios.
  • Communal areas to encourage interaction between residents and those visiting from the surrounding community.
  • Storage provided for mobility scooters on the ground floor along with a guest suite for visiting family and friends.
  • Creating a street scene along the communal corridors achieved through outline the properties with steps and corridor facing kitchen windows.
  • The added width also gives these spaces a non-institutional feel.

Resident feedback

  • Significant improvements were shown with Prince Charles House residents’ self-reported health and well-being and life satisfaction since moving into their new homes.
  • Residents were significantly less concerned about damp and utility bills in their new homes.

These results are encouraging as they indicate that the objectives of reducing energy and water consumption are being achieved along with the respective carbon savings. Additionally the design and functionality of the scheme continues to have significant positive effects on the residents.

 

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