Eco-home gets five stars

The Building Research Es-tablishment has unveiled the UK’s first home to be awarded five stars under the Department for Communities and Lo-cal Government’s sustainable homes code.

The house was built by Scottish de-veloper Stewart Milne Group and christened Sigma House. Its design is intended to be viable for a large scale commercial roll-out.

Sigma House boasts solar thermal panels and three wind turbines on the roof, a timber frame, a rainwater harvester for laundry and toilets plus an organic fuel boiler.

The five-star eco-home also has a waste system that separates combust-ible matter from other household waste to supplement its green boiler’s biomass fuel.

Under the Code for Sustainable Homes, which came into effect in April, inspectors give homes a rating of up to six stars according to its guidelines.

Housing minister Yvette Cooper aw-arded the house its five-star rating.

She says: “A quarter of carbon emissions come from our homes. That’s why zero-carbon homes are so important. We need a revolution in the way we de-sign and build our homes.”

Sigma House was constructed offsite and assembled with minimum disruption to the surrounding area. The prototype is on display at the BRE’s Offsite Exhibition in Watford.

Glenn Allison, managing director of Stewart Milne Group, says: “The single biggest impact on our business will be climate change. We felt we should re-flect this by building a commercially viable house that took on board the government’s objective to achieve zero-carbon houses within a decade.”