6 East Gardens

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6 East Gardens
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Emissions Graph


Address: 6 East Gardens, Ditchling, BN6 8ST
Owners: Sally Williams and David Browne
Type: Detached new build
Built: 2007
Beds: 4
Walls: timber framed
Area: 220 m2
Residents: 2 adults 2 children

Eco Features

Condensing boiler
Green Sedum roof
High performance double glazing
Individual room thermostats
Solar PV (4kWp)
Solar thermal
Timber frame
Timber cladding
Underfloor heating throughout
Underfloor insulation
Showers/wet room and dual flush wcs (one bath for flexibility)



Originally a thirties bungalow stood on this site until 2005, when Sally and David decided that renovation was impractical and that it would need to be demolished and rebuilt to meet their family’s needs. This provided the opportunity for as many green construction methods as possible, whilst also planning for flexibility and changing needs in a modern contemporary design.
Standing on soft clay, the foundations needed to be piled, with a suspended concrete structural deck. From this base a timber framed house was built, partly with red cedar cladding and partly with self coloured render. This structure was heavily insulated, and has solar thermal and more recently solar PV, yet retaining space for a large area of sedum roof to support wildlife.
Large areas of glazing have been created to both maximise solar gain in winter and give as much natural illumination
as possible.
Underfloor heating has been employed both upstairs and downstairs, with the ground floor slab being heavily insulated.
The result is extremely energy efficient, using around 80% less than an average house.

Energy efficiency measures

Heating and hot water

Heating and hot water are provided by a condensing boiler, but the high degree of insulation and input from solar thermal mean that gas consumption is very low. Unusually, there is underfloor heating on both floors and each room has an individual thermostat, which enables close control.


The timber framed walls were filled with Warmcell recycled newspaper insulation, which was sprayed into the wall wet to allow it to set and avoid possible settlement.

The suspended concrete Jetfloor was insulated with expanded polystyrene and underfloor heating was installed as a triple pipe system clipped in place below the wooden floors, without needing to be set in screed.

Windows are high performance Danish Rationel double glazed units.

Renewables and Low carbon technology

4kW of solar panels were installed on a south facing roof by Affinitus Energy Systems, together with solar thermal water heating which was fitted by Rayotec on a west facing roof.


Low energy lighting has been installed throughout, mainly in the form of CFLs, although there are plans to convert any remaining downlighters to LED.

Other sustainable Measures

The roof is largely covered with sedum, using the Baucher system, which provides additional habit and biodiversity in a central village location.
The garden has a pond as well to accommodate further wildlife.

Lessons learned

Internal wall finishes – Clay paint was used throughout to reduce VOCs and maintain breathing walls. The product used proved to be rather impractical and needed sealing in areas requiring cleaning, although current alternatives now perform better.

Lighting – Compact Fluorescent lamps were largely used, but proved slow to warm up. Eventually it is likely a switch will be made to LEDs.

Mechanical Services – Programmable thermostats in each room require user commitment to maximise effectiveness. Also extensive underfloor heating requires space to accommodate the large manifolds.

Green roof – This is desirable to help wildlife, but becauses it retains rainwater, it makes the possibility for rainwater harvesting more difficult, so recovery of water is not being made at present.

Sound insulation – Care needs to be taken in a lightweight timber framed dwelling to avoid sound transmission, particularly where the majority of floors are polished wood, rather than carpet.

Ground conditions – a basement was considered to maximise the footprint, but proved impractical due to the need for piling and presence of a high water table.

Site Access – the access to the house is via a narrow bridleway, which made deliveries awkward and would have prohibited a build involving large prefabricated elements.


Architect: Sally Williams: www.sallywilliamsarchitects.co.uk
Builder: Dermot Burton, Westmeston.
Solar Thermal: Rayotec: www.rayotec.com
Solar PV: Affinitus Energy Systems Ltd.