Cannock Mill Co-housing project
Rendering a community
“Cannock Mill is all about building a sustainable community,” says Anne Thorne, founder and architect at Anne Thorne Architects (ATA). “We wanted to create natural, energy-efficient and, most importantly, healthy homes.”
Cannock Mill is a co-housing project in Essex which is home to six apartments and 17 houses. Every home within the scheme is built to meet Passive House standards.
A sustainable focus
“Sustainability is core to our ethos at ATA,” explains Anne. “We put a lot of work into sourcing breathable materials for the building’s fabric to ensure the homes would be healthy for both their occupants and the environment.
“As the housing is designed to be affordable, it was also important the homes were budget-friendly for occupants to run, so materials with a high energy efficiency were a must.
“Ultimately, we wanted to create a community of homes which looked beautiful and performed well.”
Deciding on the best materials
Initial work commenced on site in Spring 2017 and was completed in Autumn 2019.
“To achieve a healthy build, we chose timber frame for the walls of the homes with Lime Green’s external Warmshell insulation system over the timber frame studs. This system consists of woodfibre board insulation rendered with Prepbond WP and Finish WP.
“We chose the Warmshell system as it not only promotes breathability but also delivers excellent heat control. This has resulted in extremely low, Passive House compliant, U-Values for each of the buildings, making the homes very economic to run.
“The average fuel bill for the properties is estimated to cost the equivalent of a cup of coffee per fortnight.
“We also chose to render the homes externally with Lime Green’s coloured renders as we’d used these products previously on a school in Romford and the final result looked great.
“We involved the future occupants in the design from a very early stage through various workshop sessions. They decided on the colours of the renders: Ironstone, Ochre, Corfton and Terracotta.
“The natural colouring of the lime renders makes them really easy to maintain over time while retaining the breathable structure of the buildings.”
The healthy homes
“We agreed, very early on in the project, that the homes should be built to Passive House standards,” says Phil McGeevor, a future resident at Cannock Mill. “We’d visited Passive Houses before and loved the sense of fresh air without the presence of a draught, there was a nice even temperature throughout. This was something we wanted to achieve in the new homes at Cannock Mill.
“It was very important to us that all of the materials used were sustainable and low in toxicity, creating a natural and healthy environment for people to live and visit.
“Price is always a factor in decisions like this and although it did cost a little bit more to build to Passive House standards vs current building regulations initially, the resulting low fuel bills and healthy environment will, in the longer-term, more than make up for this additional cost.
Leaving the last word with Anne, she says: “I’d definitely recommend Lime Green’s products to any architect looking to deliver a healthy, beautiful and longstanding project.”
For more information on the materials used within this project, or to enquire about your own healthy build, please get in touch.