The Muse - a new build close to Passivhaus standard

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This energy efficient solar home and office designed by bere:architects situated at Newington Green in the London Borough of Islington intends to set a standard for future housing with an apparently effortless amalgamation of environmentally responsible solutions with beautiful forms. The Muse is located immediately behind a terrace of four Grade 1 listed heritage houses, the four roofs form a garden oasis of entirely native planting including a hawthorn thicket, a hazel woodland and a wild flower meadow. A primary objective of this project is to redefine the language of architecture by the development of forms that are directly generated by the acceptance of the ecological imperatives of the 21st century
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The Muse - a new build close to Passivhaus standard : Project images

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CO2 emissionsPrimary energy requirement
Energy target
AECB Silver

Energy and fuel use

Fuel use by type
Primary energy requirement
CO2 emissions

Measured data from renewable generation is not yet available.

Fuel use

Electricity use - - -
Natural gas use- - -
Oil use- - -
LPG use- - -
Wood use- - -
Other Fuel - - -
Primary energy requirement - - -
Annual CO₂ emissions - - -
Annual space heat demand - 24 kWh/m².yr -

Renewable energy

Electricity generationForecastMeasured
Renewables Technology--
Other Renewables Tech--
Electricity consumed by generation --
Primary energy requirement
offset by renewable generation
Annual CO₂ emissions
offset by renewable generation

Calculation and targets

Whole house energy calculation method
Other whole house calculation method-
Energy target AECB Silver
Other energy targets-
Forecast heating load -


Pre-development air permeability test--
Final air permeability test--

Project description

Start date01 June 2003
Occupation date
Location London London  England
Build typeNew build
Building sectorPrivate Residential
Property typeDetached
Construction typeMasonry Cavity
Other construction type
Party wall construction
Floor area 192
Floor area calculation method Treated Floor Area (PHPP)
Building certification

Project Team

Project lead personbere:architects
Landlord or ClientJustin Bere
Mechanical & electrical consultant
Energy consultant
Structural engineerMervyn Rodrigues
Quantity surveyorAndrew Turner
ContractorG & U Form Ltd

Design strategies

Planned occupancy8 people
Space heating strategyMechanical heat recovery ventilation (with under floor heating on the ground floor).
Water heating strategySolar hot water (with gas condensing boiler top up).
Fuel strategyMains Gas.
Renewable energy strategyPhotovoltaics and solar thermal.
Passive Solar strategyThe building envelope opens towards the South to maximise solar gain.
Space cooling strategyNatural cross and stack ventilation with tilting windows to provide a secure means of night ventilation. A high level of thermal mass on the ground floor aids with cooling in summer.
Daylighting strategyAll living areas including the office, kitchen and living room are located on the upper floors and the bedrooms and bathrooms are located in the ground floor to minimise artificial lighting.
Ventilation strategyMechanical heat recovery ventilation in the winter and natural ventilation with extract only ventilation in the bathroom in the Summer.
Airtightness strategy Tyvek Membrane used through out with taped joints.
Strategy for minimising thermal bridges The project aimed to maintain a continuous insulated envelop throughout the building in order to achieve a bridge-free construction.
Modelling strategy
Insulation strategyHigh levels of insulation ensure high levels of comfort.
Other relevant retrofit strategies
Contextual information

Building services

Occupancy8 people
Space heatingIn the 2008/09 winter, the Muse needed additional heating over a period of two months (from 21/12/08 - 22/02/09) and this only one hour per day. The additional heat was sufficient to guarantee a comfortable temperature throughout the day.
Hot waterThe boiler is located in the bathroom in order to minimise heat loss from pipe work. 60% of the hot water is heated by the solar collector.
VentilationHeat recovery: Ubbink HR Grande Heat recovery efficiency: 83%. The air is extracted in the kitchen and in the bathrooms. The air supply is located in the office and living room as well as in the bedrooms.
CookingGas hob and gas oven
Lighting100% low energy lighting
AppliancesAll appliances are A+ rated.
Renewable energy generation systemPhotovoltaic and solar hot water (60% of DHW)
Strategy for minimising thermal bridgesThe construction details have been developed according to a thermal bridge-free approach.

Building construction

Storeys 3
Volume 553
Thermal fabric area 631
Roof description Well insulated (Celotex) green roofs with native wild flower meadows.
Roof U-value 0.10 W/m² K
Walls description Celcon 9N blockwork with rockwool insulation, and a brick outer leaf.
Walls U-value 0.12 W/m² K
Party walls description
Party walls U-value -
Floor description Insulated (floormate) concrete slab, partly underground.
Floor U-value 0.35 W/m² K
Glazed doors description Triple glazing and insulated door frames.
Glazed doors U-value 1.00 W/m² K installed
Opaque doors description
Opaque doors U-value - uninstalled
Windows description Triple glazed windows with insulated frames
Windows U-value 0.80 W/m² K installed
Windows energy transmittance (G-value) -
Windows light transmittance -
Rooflights description Triple glazed rooflights
Rooflights light transmittance -
Rooflights U-value -