Housing experts learn from success of Radian eco homes

Trio of houses at Exhibition Mews in Whitehill & Bordon, Hampshire

Following the completion of a small collection of highly sustainable homes in the south, housing industry experts were welcomed on site to see for themselves the success of the development built as a result of an international competition for the best design.

The trio of houses at Exhibition Mews in Whitehill & Bordon, Hampshire, were delivered by one of the region’s leading housing providers, Radian, which invited architects to create homes that were highly sustainable and affordable to run. 

The winning entry came from Ash Sakula Architects one of whose founding partners, Robert Sakula, was on hand to guide the visiting group around the terrace of social rented homes, managed by Radian. Throughout the design process, local residents were regularly invited to provide feedback on preliminary ideas, and to meet the teams involved.

Radian Director of New Business and Development, Andrea Smith said: “This scheme beautifully embodies the architectural concept of form being function. It provides an inspirational place for residents to live in a home that exemplifies the spirit of the aspiration for the homes planned for the green town.”

The design competition was launched in 2012 by Radian and the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Team at East Hampshire District Council. The brief was to design three homes on a small plot of land behind the Eco-Station in Whitehill & Bordon

The highly energy efficient homes were built by contractor FE Chase to level five of the Code for Sustainable Homes. In addition they fulfil the Lifetimes Homes credentials as they each have additional space, currently used as a glazed porch, that can be readily adapted to living space should residents find themselves unable to use the upper floor.

One of the most unusual features in the design is the double height landing which houses the washing machine and drying facilities rather than accommodating them in the kitchen. High insulation materials with low pollution levels, triple-glazed windows, low energy lighting, and water efficient fixtures and fittings have been used throughout rather than the reliance on difficult to use and often expensive technology to achieve the same outcome.

To encourage wildlife, a communal wild garden was planted behind the homes and a dual-purpose communal building provides attic space for bats and eaves for house martins, as well as housing refuse and recycling for the three homes.

Among the visiting group were Zero Carbon Hub managing director Rob Pannell; professor of architecture Lorraine Farrelly from the University of Reading; and Ian Parker, the head of Hampshire County Council’s development taskforce.

Professor Lorraine Farrelly, said: “The challenge for house builders and the construction industry is to try to develop innovative approaches to developing homes that provide affordable heating systems. This is particularly necessary for the rented sector, where high energy bills are having an impact on the quality of life for residents.

“The new Radian housing scheme at Bordon by Ash Sakula Architects offers an example of three rented properties that have been sensitively designed. The concept design relates considerately to the site – photo voltaics on the south-facing pitched roof and the positioning of west-facing glazing take advantage of the natural afternoon sunlight, offering additional innovative inside / outside living space.

“These careful site considerations have provided the residents with light and airy modern homes which have the benefit of low fuel bills. These homes can hopefully offer an exemplar for future projects to learn lessons about simple, yet affective approaches to sustainable design.”

Steve Pearce, Director of the Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Project, added: “These homes are the first to be built as part of the regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon which will see the town transformed with 3,350 new homes, 5,500 new jobs, a new town centre and new facilities.”

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