In keeping with the energy agenda laid down by Europe from now to 2020, whereby member countries must cut carbon emissions by 20% of the 1990 values and show that 20% of their energy consumption comes from renewable sources, this Model Home 2020 project took off in 2008. Velux were backers, as a tangible gesture of the company’s commitment to supporting sustainable building. Thanks to partnership with major manufacturers in the construction sector, Model Homes 2020 has built six energy-efficient buildings in Denmark, Austria, Germany, France and Great Britain. The latest to be produced are these semi-detached CarbonLight Homes designed by HTArchitects and inaugurated in October 2011 at Kettering in England. CarbonLight Homes fit pleasingly into the surrounding residential area and meet the three basic principles of all Model Homes: design attention to energy, minimal environmental impact, and high indoor comfort. The basic concept behind HTArchitects’ project is to maximise input of natural light and cut use of fossil fuels to a minimum in producing energy. Besides the broad vertical windows, a large number of Velux windows have been incorporated into the roof, ensuring a minimum mean daytime lighting factor of 5%. Blind bathrooms are lit by solar tunnels. As well as the health and wellness advantages of harnessing daylight, natural ventilation has been exploited for summertime cooling, based on apertures in the roof above the triple-height stairwell atrium. These ensure stale air is quickly expelled by a stack effect. Sun screening, internal and external, also helps keep the indoor temperature comfortable. In winter natural ventilation is augmented by mechanical ventilation recycling warmth from the kitchen and bathrooms for use elsewhere in the house. Solar collectors set into the façade and roof, combining with an air-to-water heat pump, produce the energy needed for hot water and room heating. Like all previous Model Homes, after being open to the public for a while, these CarbonLight Homes will be lived in by a family for at least one year. They will be monitored for the real energy consumption, indoor climate and performance round the year and its seasons. The experience gained will help Velux develop future projects of international consequence.
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