See what Nick and Saffy Wolley’s house looks like now here, with comments from the owners. “An awful lot more detail lies behind the information given, but I hope this may spark some interest!”, adds Nick Wolley.
Join Nick and Saffy Wolley on their journey on how they transformed a previous chicken barn into a spacious, light-flooded and warm new living space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6LMIA-6mws.
Inspired by the sustainable, ecologically sound homes at Hockerton Housing Project, Nick and Saffy Wolley met with Simon Tilley and Nick Martin from Hockerton Housing Project to get help with finding the most sustainable way to build their new house.
Their new home, Pilgrim’s Barn, is a super insulated home with very low energy requirements and zero running costs and was completed in late 2022. Featuring floor to ceiling glass on the southern facing elevation, designed to harness passive heat it is a zero carbon performing home in rural Suffolk.
Nick Wolley, the owner, explains: “I have studied this construction since 2005, all originally researched and developed by the great Prof Brenda Vale (respected architect and researcher into the real science of cost-effective super-eco construction). Inevitably, over the ensuing years, various refinements and improvements have been incorporated and ‘smart systems’ added. However, it is hugely reassuring, having built this place as our own home, to find it almost surpasses all that I’d heard it could achieve. So much of it is just plain common-sense, with so many clever, but simple and cost-effective ways of gaining that improved performance and ultra-low-energy requirement. We moved in in October/early November; in the two pre-Christmas freeze (mainly down to -6/7C) our internal air temperature never went below 21C. We had nine of us here over Christmas and post the first freeze and all through the second one, which was also vicious, our air temperature never went below 23C; however, since it was built, apart from testing our underfloor heating for a couple of hours, it has not been switched on neither has it done so in accord with the master-switches.
Our excellent builder had never built such a house before, but he is now totally taken with it and wants to build nothing else, particularly as he now reckons it costs no more to build per sq metre than a conventional house which, looking to the future, will cost a fortune to run. I have to say that the actual cost I’ve paid for Pilgrims, bears this out. This is precisely what our expert, Hockerton advisers assured us; they have themselves proved this, since they built their first set of homes (actually designed for them by Brenda Vale herself) in 1995.