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Worcester zero carbon house

The project objective was to design a new carbon zero home located near the centre of Worcester. The final building design is one storey and has 240m2 of internal living area. The dwelling received a score of 95.4 for classification as Code Level 6 from the Code for Sustainable Homes, i.e. zero carbon.

zero carbon house


Design and concept

An open-plan south-facing living area helps maximise natural daylight. The design separates living spaces from bedrooms helping reducing noise and offers convenient access for biomass pellet delivery. (Video clip) Fly-through video of concept house

Structure and foundations

There are three types of roof structure: a curved glulam roof, an fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) pitched roof and the extensive green roof. The structural frame has prefabricated straw bale load bearing walls, with glulam and timber columns and beams to reduce embodied energy and give future layout flexibility. The strip and slab foundations are made from Novacem, a carbon negative cement.

Key technologies

  • Roofwater harvesting
  • Solar thermal and PV panels
  • Biomass boiler
  • Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery
  • Use of lambswool insulation


Energy analysis shows sufficient solar gain on the south-facing roof for the solar panels year round. Internal room temperatures are within the ideal comfort temperature range and sufficient natural daylight is received in living spaces.


The dwelling is estimated to cost £900,000 with savings over a conventional house after 65 years.

Additional funding

The use of bespoke materials - such as the FRP trusses - contributes research to the wider academic community, but also the building design industry. Further funding is required for post-monitoring of these materials and design solutions. This project has pushed the boundaries of sustainable housing by demonstrating that a building with a large footprint can be designed to zero carbon, whilst conforming to the lifestyle requirements of its occupant.

Full project details

(PDF Document) Project poster (PDF Document) Summary of features (PDF Document) Overview of structures