Dartmouth Avenue

“Beyond EcoHomes ‘Excellent’ standard within current affordable housing costs”.

A programme of desirable, sustainable homes which are economic to live in an cost effective to build; sustainable and adaptable, of high quality and with a sense of place and above all a replicable model and not just a one-off demonstration project.

The planning brief was for two storey houses with private gardens, which are arranged in a perimeter of terraces which overlook the existing footpath, the landscaped area around the church and which reinforce the existing street frontage. This provides secure private gardens at the centre of the block.

Innovations include:

  • Mezzanine storage and sleeping platforms provide additional space and eliminate cold draughty lofts.
  • Pile foundations with no ground beams to reduce time, cost and the export of contaminated waste.
  • Service voids in walls enable services to be altered and replaced as needs and expectations change and the use of a wide span structure ensures future adaptability.
  • PVC free specification with no lino floor finishes, polyethylene above ground drainage, clay below ground drainage, galvanized steel gutters and downpipes and zero-halogen cable insulation.
  • Timber frame sub-contractor hands over weathertight and AIRTIGHT tested envelope. Tested by the contractor again after the installation of services. The homes achieve around 1.5 m3/m2 hr compared to a Building Regulations standard of 10 m3/m2 hr which makes this probably the most airtight social housing in the UK.

The site has a number of magnificent trees which have retained and integrated into the layout. Piled foundations and the retention of an existing perimeter wall below the trees minimise disturbance to roots and lends a sense of continuity to the development. Gardens are defined by native, low water demand, hedge planting and new trees have been planted on the frontage.

The development has a number of measures to reduce car use and impact on the environment. The site is adjacent to public transport and facilities including shops, post office, business parks and thus the need to travel by car is reduced. Generous cycle storage is provided and parking is generally provided within the house plots . A shared access courtyard serves the houses facing the church.

Residents enjoy heating and hot water costs of less than £2/week for comfortable, secure and easily accessible homes with exceptionally good sound insulation. The houses have an open stair with a minimum of circulation space and big windows create light and spacious rooms. They can expect improved health because good air quality is provided by ventilation and eliminating potentially hazardous building products.

The development demonstrates how to design and build affordable, low environmental impact homes; high quality, low maintenance, adaptable, low-energy homes which are constructed using a minimum of resources. Woking Greenhomes & Greenoak Housing Association was shortlisted for the Sustainable Smaller Social Housing Project of the Year in the 2008 Sustainable Housing Awards organised by Inside Housing.


Award:  Environmental Sustainability Gold Award 2007






Woking, Surrey

Jon Broome Architects

Ellis + Moore