Camden House, London by Crawford Partnership

Camden House, London by Crawford Partnerhip (PDF)

View the Camden House project page

  • John Brown

    I received these comments in an email from Alan Crawford, the architect for this project…

    “Heat gain with large areas of glass can be a problem, however, the panels are sealed double glazed units that use Pilkington’s Low E glass and with argon filled cavities to improve on the insulation factor. Also, the room faces west so it mainly begins to heat up towards the late afternoon.

    Two thirds of the space is protected by the mass of the bedroom above and so far the owners have not had any perceived overheating concerns”.

  • Ersi

    I’ve read your comment with the response from the architect, but it would be nice to see more technical details. On this and the other projects you discuss. The addition is visually impressive for sure but comfort with low financial outlay and minimized impact is an issue for me. We’re in the midst of building a house in Switzerland and are getting into the energy consumption issues (heating and hot water). Things are quite quantified here — at least, in the type of construction that we’re planning for our house, I’m *slowly* putting details on my website — and it would be nice to see how the projects that you discuss on this site compare. The first thing that always strikes me when I don’t see a compass on the plans is: how is the orientation of the building to the sun being exploited? At this point, I simply cannot imagine not taking into account how the movement of the sun affects life in the house. For example, in the case of this house in London, is there a robust shading system to prevent afternoon overheating of the bedroom in the summer? How is heat loss in the winter minimized? It would be interesting to see actual numbers for the glazing: U-values for the entire window and so on. How much energy they’re using during the heating period. For me, that’s very much a part of the big picture.

    Thanks for ‘listening’.

  • John Brown

    I appreciate your desire for technical details given the fact that you are currently grappling with the construction of a new home. Our sense is that level of information is probably a bit more than our typical viewer is interested in.

    However, I do agree with you about the importance of incorporating energy use into the design of every project, no matter how small. While I cannot speak to the details of the Camden House project, I would suggest that the climatic conditions in London are so substantially different from your location that you would be better advised to discuss your project with a professional more familiar with your specific conditions.

    We are also, in the future, planning to do a series of exercises that deal with passive and active solar issues in residential design.

  • Ersi

    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate it and I see your point. I should have clarified that we have already selected an architect and the type of construction (from the energy consumption point of view, it’s called Minergie in Switzerland, similar to the KfW40 in Germany) and the parameters are very well defined. An ‘energy planner’ will determine things such as the exact thicknesses of insulation required and the expected energy demand. Bottom line for the 2009 standards: 38 kWh (weighted) per square meter per year for heating and hot water. I intend to write all about it on my blog, one of the hitches is that translating the material from German to English and then explaining it is very time consuming for me. But I think it will be worth it.

    I’m thrilled to hear that you’re considering discussing solar- and environment- savvy design occasionally. I moved to Switzerland from the US and I feel like a kid at Christmas with the things that are already (almost) generally implemented here.


  • John Brown

    It sounds like you are going down exactly the right road to creating a simple, LIGHT, and open Slow Home. I congratulate you on your forward thinking. Hiring an architect AND an energy planner is really impressive and shows a much needed commitment to reducing your environmental footprint.

    You are also absolutely right that Europe is much farther ahead than North America in the implementation of sustainability protocols products.

    For everyone else, Minergie is a recognized standardized environmental protocol governing the construction of new and refurbished buildings. For more information visit their website (available in multiple languages)

  • Ersi

    Hi John,
    You should be able to reach my blog by clicking on my name label in this comments section. It’s rather rudimentary and slow-going at the moment but if things go according to plan, it should be worth visiting starting in April. As it is a blog I’m keeping the tone casual, but I intend to put up real data and it would be very useful to get feedback on what I should concentrate on and what I can do better, etc, etc.

    By the way, the energy planner is actually a standard part of the Minergie certification process. Depending on the size of the architectural firm and/or the project, the work will either be done in-house or be contracted out. This is a simplistic answer, of course. There are many variations to this. One need not have an architect, but only an energy planner and a general contractor or a million combinations in-between.

    The Minergie site has just mimimal information in English, but as you say, it does have some.