Low Energy Buildings Research

40% of carbon emissions in the UK are the result of operating buildings. At Hudson Architects we are committed to the important role we play in tackling the climate crisis and we are passionate about creating environmentally-conscious, sustainable architecture.

Our design approach aims to reduce energy consumption, using construction materials that have low environmental impacts and ensure healthy environments for their users. Using qualified Passivhaus consultants, and with a wealth of sustainable design expertise, we are able to offer clients a rich level of understanding, experience and advice on building low energy, low carbon, healthy buildings.
Hudson Architects’ commitment to distinctive, design-led architecture, with sustainability at its core has been consistent since the practice’s inception. In 1994, we set standards in sustainable architecture with the award-winning Baggy House and have more recently been working on a pioneering Para 79 Hemp House using locally grown hemp and a Passivhaus housing development at Octagon Park.

The practice has been pushing the boundaries of sustainable design for over two decades and below are just some of the examples of our approach to creating low energy, environmentally-conscious buildings.
Low Embodied Carbon Material
Cob buildings have existed in the south of England and northern France for centuries; however, the construction industry has been unable to create a cob material that meets new thermal and structural building regulations. Now a cross-border research project led by the University of Plymouth aims to change that, and demonstrate that the ancient technique – which involves missing earth and natural fibres with water – has a role to play in the future of the construction industry. Hudson Architects are the UK architectural partner in the 5 year EU funded research project running until 2024.
Deep Retrofit
Bishops Park Terrace
The deep retrofit undertaken to extend and reconfigure this 3-storey terrace for a growing family intelligently address the well-established constraints of this typology. To achieve near passiv performance this leaky, energy inefficient building was transformed into an air-tight, super-insulated family home. Clever detailing and specification enabled the house to retain the original feature that give the house its character. MHVR, low VOC materials and hygroscopic materials and finishes which regulate moisture ensure that the house is as healthy to live in as it is sustainable.
Locally Sourced Materials
Quaker Barns
Materials for this innovative adaptation of a former cart shed as high quality holiday accommodation were predominantly sourced from a 10 mile radius of the site, dramatically reducing energy for transport. Sustainably sourced local oak was used for all internal timber boarding, a local blacksmith provided metalwork and straw bales from nearby fields were used for insulation, lending the building an unusual appearance behind translucent corrugated cladding. Together, these created a low carbon construction process and by challenging established ways of thinking, the experimentation with materials lent a contemporary character to a very traditional structure.
Church Field
Octagon Park is a self-build development of seven large Passivhaus homes. Using prefabricated timber frame construction and triple-glazed windows, the homes perform to Passivhaus standards with minimal heating requirements. We have combined our local knowledge, contemporary design flair and commitment to sustainable design to deliver this innovative near zero-carbon scheme in rural Norfolk. The houses each take the form of an elegant modernist pavilion characterised by flat roofs, simple rendering and large plain windows that fill the interiors with natural light. Inside, a spacious open plan living space occupies the heart of each house, while large ensuite bedrooms complete an arrangement that demonstrates that luxurious contemporary living can go hand-in-hand with sustainable design.
Prefabricated low carbon construction
Cedar House
Hudson Architects developed this prototype prefabricated house in 2004. Cedar House demonstrates that prefabrication can still deliver charm and personality, as well as a low-budget and environmentally friendly way of creating a home that minimises construction time and waste. The house is raised above the ground to minimise flooding risk, and cedar shingles – a simple, affordable and sustainable material - give the house its distinctive and tactile appearance.
Biobased materials
Dove House
Dove House in Somerset is a Paragraph 79 home, based on a pioneering bio-based Passivhaus design. Hudson Architects worked with the University of Bath to develop groundbreaking sustainable construction techniques including an innovative prefabricated hemp-lime system, which will allow Dove House to achieve Passivhaus standards with a non-standard design. Meanwhile our design references traditional local buildings to blend into its rural setting, and was praised by planners for reflecting the highest standards of architecture and its sensitivity to the local area.
In situ low carbon construction
Hemp House
This low energy, low carbon Paragraph 79 house in rural Norfolk pushes the boundaries of sustainable design through the imaginative and pioneering use of natural and traditional materials. The walls of the low energy house use ‘hempcrete’ – a natural insulation material produced from hemp grown locally as a sustainable crop within the arable rotation cycle, which will be sprayed onto the timber frame. Timber grown on site will be used for cladding, while clay extracted from the site will be used for flooring and rendering. When complete this house will allow the owners to enjoy a contemporary and sustainable lifestyle, while preserving the valuable wildlife habitats within their beautiful rural location.
Natural ventilation
Stoneleigh Road
Hudson Architects were commissioned by Haringey Council to create a low-energy managed workspace as part of an inner-city regeneration programme with a strong community focus. Offices are arranged around the north and east sides of the building to avoid overheating, and their environment can be managed passively using natural ventilation. Bright pink cowls on the roof enable natural stack ventilation and create a distinctive identity for the building, while translucent polycarbonate cladding to one elevation illuminates circulation spaces with natural light, and gives further character to the building – particularly at night. Cement board ceilings provide thermal mass and reduce heating loads.

Latest Journal Entries

CobBauge At Hudson Architects
Here at Hudson we are now part a research project called CobBauge. This involves bringing traditional Cob into the 21st century.
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CobBauge prototype construction underway again
As lockdown restrictions end, construction is underway again!
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