Sustainability established as a lifestyle

DGNB Platinum Award-winning HUF home

A new, highly sustainable home designed and built by HUF HAUS, is the first single-family home in the UK to earn the DGNB’s prestigious Platinum award, the highest possible accolade from Germany’s Sustainable Building Council (DGNB).

Ian and Kay Vickerage’s Odyssey is the first home in the UK to go beyond the Gold standard which all HUF HAUS homes are credited with, demonstrating the company’s commitment to designing and building eco-conscious homes that offer residents the opportunity to live carbon neutral lifestyles. Since 2009, none of the company’s homes have used fossil fuel.

Platinum certification can be sought on a case by case basis through further application to, and assessment by, the DGNB. Due to the rigorous judging process, the journey to achieving the Platinum award took the HUF team over two years.

Ian and Kay ensured their HUF HAUS ART 6 qualified for this exceptional status by striving towards sustainability across every facet of their home – including a photovoltaic charging carport station for their electric vehicles.

The couple had previously lived in period properties but were living in a large contemporary home when they decided that something smaller and more sustainable, ideally off grid, would be preferable.

Drawn to the idea of a self-build, Ian and Kay considered opting for a Passivhaus with a German developer, but ultimately decided it didn’t tick all the boxes for them. In search of inspiration, they visited the HUF HAUS show home in Weybridge and fell in love with the serenity and sense of wellbeing that they experienced there.

“The whole process has been easy,” Ian explains: “Once we had our hearts set on HUF HAUS, we went to the company’s factory and show home village in Hartenfels, Germany, to choose all the elements that would make up our home. It was fascinating to see first-hand the skill and precision that goes into the design and manufacturing process.

“We wouldn’t buy a car, or anything else that was built outside, subject to all varieties of weather, so why would we buy a house built that way? Constructing the elements of a house in a factory setting where the process can be controlled and very exacting standards achieved makes much more sense.

“When all the components had been finished, the trucks containing our home actually arrived a few days early and the entire structure was erected in less than two weeks.

“Sustainability is important to us – our goal is to do all we can to ensure our impact on the environment is minimal. We drive a Tesla as part of our effort to be eco-friendly, so living in a home with the same ethos was a logical next step.

“Glass is an intrinsic element of Odyssey, blurring the lines between the exterior and interior spaces and maximising the views over the countryside. With the outdoors so much a part of our lives now, it was important to ensure that the landscaping around the house was as well designed and as striking as our home. The HUF team recommended Anthony Paul, who has created a subtle, but contemporary garden that connects our house to the countryside around us.”

Kay comments: “We moved into our new home three weeks ago and it has completely lived up to our expectations. I love coming home – it’s such a comfortable as well as beautiful place to live. No matter what the weather is like outside, thanks to the air source heat pump and the underfloor heating, the temperature is always right inside and heating costs are 1/10 of our previous home.

“With nine grandchildren, we want to do our part to make the world a better place for them. They love the house even though they don’t all understand about the ecological benefits. Because of all the glazing, they can easily see outdoors and experience the changing weather and all the colours of the beautiful countryside around us. In a more traditional home, all they would see are walls and radiators.

“We are delighted our home is the first to win this prestigious award but we hope there will be many more homes built to this standard in the future.