Thames - Source to Sea Through the Sesaons | The Habitat House (Inside Lower Mill Estate)
5 photos

The Habitat House

This very unusual house is in lower Mill Estate, in the Cotswolds. All the houses on this estate are very environmentally friendly. This particular house features:
  • Turfed roof with wild meadow flowers designed to attract butterflies, insects and mammals, grassy when I took these pictures. The roof is also very dense and well insulated, making it extremely thermally efficient.
  • Stone work on the outside is made from locally sourced Cotswold Stone and is not mortared right to the outside, leaving lots of gaps for insects to live in, which birds then eat. The wall is also 450mm thick, meaning it is very strong and well insulated.
  • Good overhanging eaves are built into the design for house martins to build nests.
  • Underfloor heating is zoned to every room so you can distribute heat as needed and vary the heat to each room/floor.
  • The air source heat pump (ASHP) is a system which transfers heat from outside to inside a building, or vice versa. Under the principles of vapor compression refrigeration. An ASHP uses a refrigerant system involving a compressor and a condenser to absorb heat at one place and release it at another.
  • The air-to-water system distributes heat via the wet central heating system. Heat pumps work much more efficiently at a lower temperature than a standard boiler system would. This makes them more suitable for underfloor heating systems or larger radiators, which give out heat at lower temperatures over longer periods of time.

Twenty years ago Jeremy Paxton discovered and bought 550 acres of derelict land. The land had been used for quarrying and was now a series of deep quarried holes, the young River Thames runs through the estate. Paxton transformed these deep holes into lakes, created a nature reserve and set one third of the land aside for building holiday homes.

Jeremy Paxton hired innovative architects and designers to create houses that were as ecologically friendly as possible, with great diversity in the design and style. The gated community attracts the rich and famous who pay huge sums of money to commission these houses to be built. The estate also rents out houses as holiday homes.

Unfortunately Jeremy Paxton died a few years ago, but his two sons are running the business, they have introduced a full-time ecologist to work on the estate and were the first in the country to re-introduce beavers.

See the other eco-houses at Lower Mill Estate

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