Built in the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, the Natural House is a low energy but normal-looking home built from natural materials by the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment. Its vital statistics are impressive:
Walls are formed from a single skin of aerated clay blocks (good insulators, taking little energy to make), with external lime render and internal woodfibre board to provide high levels of insulation. Outside walls are lime and hemp.
High air quality
House will be a testing ground to examine the impact of natural materials on air quality and allergy resistance.
Ease of manufacture
The Natural House will be simple to construct, making it appealing to commercial housebuilders.
Versatility and adaptability
It can be built as a semi, a terrace or as part of a square, and inside as either a family home, maisonette or flat.
Emphasis on health
Healthy, non-toxic materials will be used throughout.
Local labour and materials
Local sourcing of materials and use of local labour will be encouraged to shorten supply chains and reduce emissions.
Repair and recyclability
The simplicity of materials and construction make the building easy and inexpensive to repair.
A sense of place
The Natural House is standardised enough for quick construction, but modular enough for it to be adapted to local conditions, materials and settings.