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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.


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.


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.


Local Housing Development Scores a Hat Trick of National Awards

Prince Charles House was victorious at the prestigious Sustainable Housing Awards, winning its third national award at the ceremony held in London. The showcase project for the St Austell and China Clays Eco-community beat stiff competition from more than 100 entrants around the country scooping the Sustainable New Large Housing Project of the Year title.

These awards recognize and showcase the best of the best environmentally friendly projects from across the country and Ocean Housing’s Head of Development, Alan Green was immensely proud to collect the award at the ceremony:

“This is a fantastic award for Prince Charles House to win especially as it’s the demonstrator project for the Cornwall’s Eco-community.”

Ocean Housing’s Project Officer, Terence Bourton has been monitoring the building’s environmental performance since it was completed in April 2012. “This monitoring will help us to understand the full capabilities and importance of an eco-friendly building on the environment and well as resident’s utility bills. Over a 12 month period the design and technologies allowed for the apartments to consume 54% less electricity and 72% less gas then other households in England (DECC,2011).”

The learning gained from this state of the art building is already influencing Ocean’s new homes and will benefit future Eco-community projects as explained by Alan Green: “By sharing knowledge gained from this project we can work together to provide homes that have a positive impact both on the well being or older people and the communities they live in.”

Prince Charles House has previously won the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2012 Age-Restricted Development category and Housing Design Awards 2013 ‘HAPPI’ category.

Anthony Bassett was Ocean’s Development Manager for the 31 eco apartments: ‘Each of the national awards that we have won are for different aspects of the project which really does show not only the variety of elements that make up this one development but that we are at the forefront for each category. That is what makes this award special as is a testament to the quality of the project team and partners who made it happen.”

This eco development was made possible by a partnership with Cornwall Council and Ocean. It is one of the first projects linked to the St Austell and China Clays Eco-communities Programme and was supported by grant funding from Cornwall Council, which was administered by the Homes and Communities Agency.


Regional Finalist for 2013 LABC Building Excellence Awards

The LABC Building Excellence Awards are about a high quality of workmanship, technical compliance and a good working relationship between developer and Local Authority Building Control.

The South West Awards cover Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset so we are thrilled that Prince Charles House was recognised and made the final for not just one but three categroies; Best Large Housing Development, Best Social or Affordable Housing and Best Sustainable Project.

Top national design award for local homes

The Prince Charles House development in St Austell was triumphant at the prestigious Housing Design Awards ceremony in London, the industry’s equivalent to the Oscars. The showcase project for the St Austell and China Clays Eco-community beat national competition to win the ‘HAPPI’ category, which is specifically for homes that improve the quality of life for the ageing population.


Iris Dabbs moved into Prince Charles House last summer shortly after its completion: “They really deserve this award. My family are very happy that I’m living in such a lovely place and that I’m so content and secure. They can’t believe how much room there is in my home and that it is so well equipped. It’s also very comfortable and I haven’t been cold once – not even during the winter. I just feel exceedingly thankful and privileged to be hopefully spending the rest of my days here.”

Anthony Bassett was Ocean’s Development Manager for the 31 eco apartments: “This is a fantastic achievement for Ocean and all our partners who helped us create such a unique and pioneering development right here in Cornwall.”

“Our dream was to build homes that could change people’s lives and that were kind to the environment. We’ve now turned this into a reality, with residents at Prince Charles House living in homes that are spacious, full of natural light, are energy efficient and easily adaptable to meet their changing needs. These are just some of the HAPPI standards which were incorporated into the design of the building and recognised by the Housing Design Award judges.”

Justin Bannister is Associate director at PRP Architects who designed the development: “I am delighted at the judges’ decision. We wanted to create a building that really challenged the myths and preconceptions of housing for older people and met Ocean’s aspirations to enhance the lives of everyone living there. This HAPPI award is a clear acknowledgement that we succeeded.”

Ocean’s Head of Development, Alan Green, was presented with the award at the ceremony in London. “This state of the art building is already influencing the design of Ocean’s new homes and will benefit future Eco-community projects. By sharing the knowledge gained from this project we can work together to provide homes that have a positive impact both on the well being of older people and the communities they live in.”


The eco development was made possible by a partnership with Cornwall Council and Ocean. It is one of the first projects linked to the St Austell and China Clay Eco-Communities Programme and was supported by grant funding from Cornwall Council, which was administered by the Homes and Communities Agency. Prince Charles House won the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2012.



One year on….

We have just passed the first anniversary from when residents first moved into their new homes at Prince Charles House.  Resident feedback regarding their properties has been positive with 92% of those who completed the homes satisfaction survey being very or fairly satisfied with their new homes.

Not only that, but the research project that is being carrying out with a number of the residents has shown that after the first year, there has been significant improvements in their  health and well-being and they are less concerned about their utility bills in comparison to when they were living in their previous homes.  This research is being carried out by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, part of the University of Exeter Medical School and are wholly independent from Ocean Housing. This is a three year research project that will conclude with a final report in June 2015.

The building performance is also being monitored to see the effect that the design and technologies has had on the water and energy consumption. Over a 12 month period, the development has used almost 40% less electricity and 30% less gas than the Cornwall average (DECC, Sub-National Electricity Consumption 2011). This has meant that the scheme has emitted 44% less carbon emissions than a comparable building constructed to current Building Regulations.

Through carrying out the resident research and monitoring the building performance, we are able to gain a stronger understanding of the true impacts and benefits the Prince Charles House has on the residents. This knowledge, including where improvements can be made will be publicized and used on future Ocean and Eco-community developments.


Green Cornwall Show

The Prince Charles House development are exhibiting at the upcoming Green Cornwall Show which is being held at Heartlands, Pool on Thursday 27th (9am-7pm) and Friday 28th (9am-5pm) June.

There is so much information and advice on offer from a huge array of exhibitors, seminars, talks and demonstrations that will include;

  • How you can save money on your energy and water bills
  • The types of green energy saving technologies available to you
  • Training and education opportunities available to allow you to work in this growing sector.

Plus much, much more- and even better this is a FREE event to attend!

Click here to see the full line up of exhibitors and view the show programme.

This two day event has been organised by Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Sustainable Buildings Trust.

BREEAM Case Study

As highlighted in a previous post, Prince Charles House has been awarded the highest BREEAM environmental rating of Outstanding and is the first older persons multi-residential scheme in the UK to be awarded with this honour.

BREEAM takes into account the buildings design, materials used, the construction process and opportunities it gives residents to minimise their carbon footprint mainly through having lower energy and water bills.

Click here to read the full case study.

Inside Housing’s Top 50 Affordable Housing Developments Shortlist

Prince Charles House was announced as one of the Top 50 Affordable Housing Developments in 2013 by Inside Housing. Anthony Bassett, Development Manager adds, “Getting into the top 50 is yet another huge achievement for the project and brings further national recognition of this Eco-communities project in Cornwall.

“This triumph is made even more special when you consider that over 6,000 homes were entered into this award”.

There was a wide range of criteria to get into the top 50. The scope comprised of the key building aspects of planning, construction and sustainability credentials, but also included what the project did for the local area and what it means to the residents.

The judges commented on the striking design and landscaped gardens in addition to commending the high concentration of labour and materials from the local area.

Click here to see the judges full write up of Prince Charles House and all the other Top 50 Affordable Housing Developments of 2013.


Prince Charles House Awarded the Highest Environmental Rating

Prince Charles House has now officially been awarded a BREEAM Outstanding environmental rating. This award not only recognised the design, construction and materials used to create the building, but also the opportunities that it gives the residents to lower their carbon footprint.


Anthony Bassett, Ocean Housing’s Development Manager couldn’t be happier with this news: “Right from the beginning of the project one of our main aims was to gain the highest environmental rating possible so we are really proud that Prince Charles House has been awarded this Outstanding rating.


“What makes it more special is that this development is the first multi-residential project to be awarded this rating in the South West and only the third in the UK.

“We would not have been able to gain this Outstanding rating if not for the hard work and effort from all involved from the project team to the sub contractors, so thank you and congratulations” concludes Anthony.

For further information on the BREEAM environmental rating click here.


College Students Attending Next Coffee Morning

Hair, Beauty and Complementary Therapy Students from St Austell College will be visiting us for the next coffee morning that is taking place on Wednesday 6th January between 10.00am and 12.00pm in the communal lounge. The students will be providing FREE mini manicure treatments and on hand to find out what other types of treatments you would like them hold from Prince Charles House.  This will then feed into the types of services that they will offer on a more regular basis from the communal areas- keep checking the website for the next date when the students will be at Prince Charles House.

These coffee mornings are held on the first Wednesday of every month between 10.00am and 12.00pm and open to everyone.

For more information contact the project officer on 01726 874450 or email We are also always looking for organisations to attend these coffee mornings so please get in contact if you wish to promote your service during these events.