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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 030 - Creating energy efficiency on smaller sites

030 - Great Bow Yard, Langport, Somerset

Great Bow Yard is a mixed-use development of 12 high quality eco-homes, alongside offices and workshops on a former warehouse site on the River Parrett. The scheme demonstrates how to make the most of existing site conditions to create an eco-friendly, yet responsive and locally distinctive place.

The scheme design responds positively to the site context. It arranges 12 different sized units in two terraces which fit in well with the shape of the site, and refurbishes an existing warehouse for commercial use. The northern terrace comprises of four 3 to 4 bedroom houses and is orientated towards the sun. The mono-pitched roofs and double-height sunrooms at the front of the unit maximise passive solar gain. Constructed with a high thermal capacity means the homes retain heat in the winter and are cool in the summer.

The east terrace includes 3 townhouses and 4 flats which look out across the river and hill beyond. The design for the townhouses in the east terraces potion the living space on the top floor to take advantage of natural daylight, rising heat and the attractive views.
All the properties have been built using sustainably sourced materials and avoiding toxic chemicals. They are insulated far above normal standards for UK construction and incorporate renewable energy sources and energy-saving devices. Rainwater harvesting tanks and solar thermal panels are introduced on several units in the scheme.

The broad aim of Ecos Homes, the developer of the site, was to show the mainstream house building industry that it is possible to build sustainable homes and still make a profit. The scheme was completed in 2007, met the then current standard of BRE Ecohomes rating “Excellent” and made a moderate profit of 10.5%.

Other Information

UDC2 Section - Integrated Designg the Seed  

The northern and eastern terraces have distinctly different designs that reflect the position of the buildings in relation to the sun and view across the river.

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