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First ever net zero home designed by Max Fordham available for rent in Camden


The first home in Britain to officially be certified as net zero is currently available to rent for almost £6,000 a month.

The four-bedroom property in London‘s trendy Camden was designed for the late engineer and sustainable designer Max Fordham, who also lived in it. It is on the rental market for £5,850 a month.

It has incorporated the high environment standards to achieve its ‘zero carbon’ status, and has won several awards, including the Regional Award 2019 from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

The four-bedroom property in London’s trendy Camden is available to rent for almost £6k a month

To minimise carbon emissions during construction, the internal insulation was made of woodfibre and the flooring was made from cork

To minimise carbon emissions during construction, the internal insulation was made of woodfibre and the flooring was made from cork

It is a mews house on a cobbled street, and achieved net zero for both so-called ‘operational and embodied carbon’, making it also the first building of any type to achieve this.

Operational carbon is defined as all the emissions associated with the energy used to run the building. 

Meanwhile, embodied carbon is based on assessing the emissions associated with the production of the building – including manufacturing installation and disposal of building materials. 

The ‘net zero’ achievement was made in line with the UKGBC’s Net Zero Framework, which is the method most widely recognised by the industry. The announcement was made this week.

The RIBA award-winning house was designed by Max Fordham’s company in collaboration with Bere Architects and Price & Myers, and built by Bow Tie Construction. 

Max Fordham, who died earlier this year, was also an integral member of the design team.

Max Fordham House is a certified Passivhaus – considered to be one of the world’s most rigorous low-energy design standards – and boasts high standards of insulation and draught proofing.

It aims to use as little energy as possible, with the home’s energy efficiency measures including triple-glazed windows that are designed and positioned so electric lighting is not needed during the day.

The windows are a ‘net gain’ in terms of solar heating, as the innovative internal insulating shutters close when heat could be lost at night.

The property is a mews house on a cobbled street, and officially achieved net zero status

The property is a mews house on a cobbled street, and officially achieved net zero status

The home's energy efficiency measures include triple-glazed windows that are carefully designed and positioned so that electric lighting is not needed during the day

The home’s energy efficiency measures include triple-glazed windows that are carefully designed and positioned so that electric lighting is not needed during the day

The all-electric home features a roof mounted PV array that meets around 25 per cent of the home's energy demand

The all-electric home features a roof mounted PV array that meets around 25 per cent of the home’s energy demand

There is large living area with sufficient space for a dining table and seating area

There is large living area with sufficient space for a dining table and seating area

The property is called Max Fordham House and it is a certified Passivhaus, widely considered to be one of the world's most rigorous low-energy design standards

The property is called Max Fordham House and it is a certified Passivhaus, widely considered to be one of the world’s most rigorous low-energy design standards

Max Fordham House is on the market to rent for £5,850 a month via Hotblack Desiato lettings agents

Max Fordham House is on the market to rent for £5,850 a month via Hotblack Desiato lettings agents

The house requires so little heating that on completion in 2019, Max held a literal ‘housewarming’ to raise the home’s internal temperature and avoid the need for heating for many months. 

The all-electric home features a roof mounted PV array that meets around 25 per cent of the home’s energy demand, with the remaining electricity supplied by a 100 per cent renewable energy tariff – meaning no offsetting is required for the home to achieve net zero carbon in operation.

Pictured: The late engineer and sustainable designer Max Fordham

Pictured: The late engineer and sustainable designer Max Fordham

The house is light and spacious, with its brick exterior blending with the neighbouring buildings.

It is practically impossible to construct anything – a building or otherwise – without creating some carbon emissions. 

Max Fordham House was predominantly a new building with some elements of existing structures re-used.

To minimise carbon emissions during construction, concrete with low carbon cement replacement was used alongside many natural materials, including timber for the roof structure, window frames, and façade. 

The internal insulation was made of woodfibre and the flooring from cork.

Finn Fordham, one of Max’s sons, said: ‘My Dad loved living in this amazing house. It’s incredible how it needs almost zero heating. 

‘And it’s lovely to imagine how he would chuckle and beam at the news of another accolade, now awarded beyond the end of a lifetime. 

‘That lifetime was one devoted to beautiful design and engineering. Part of its legacy should be that the principle behind the house is emulated around the world.’

Max Fordham House was predominantly a new building with some elements of existing structures re-used

Max Fordham House was predominantly a new building with some elements of existing structures re-used

The property has a large office with double doors that open out onto a spacious terrace

The property has a large office with double doors that open out onto a spacious terrace

The house is also Passivhaus certified, making it ideal for eco-conscious tenants

The house is also Passivhaus certified, making it ideal for eco-conscious tenants

Ideal for a growing family, the property has four large bedrooms as well as two bathrooms

Ideal for a growing family, the property has four large bedrooms as well as two bathrooms

Ali Shaw, of Max Fordham, added: ‘It was my privilege to provide a pair of hands to help realise Max’s vision and to give him a comfortable, tailored home for his final years.

‘The house being Passivhaus certified and now becoming the first to achieve net zero carbon status is a great way to honour Max and his huge contribution to the delivery of sustainable buildings.

‘Max’s house is a built example of his legacy, it shows how a beautiful home can also meet the highest sustainability standards.

‘As a practice, Max Fordham have been pioneers in sustainable, low energy and low carbon building design for over 50 years. 

‘Our partnership wants to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency the world is facing, so we are committed to sharing what we learn with the rest of the industry to help us get there as quickly as possible.’

Yetunde Abdul, of UKGBC, confirmed: ‘Achieving net zero carbon in both construction and in operational energy using UKGBC’s framework is not just an industry first for a residential property but for any built asset, making this a truly pioneering project.’



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