In Febuary this year, the first residents moved into the 4-bed house at Rothwell, Northamptonshire. This is one of the two CarbonLight houses that VELUX commissioned HTA to design and Willmott Dixon to build. The family, the Glazebrooks, were given the keys for a 15 month period, to occupy the homes, on condition that they allowed their time there to be monitored in some considerable detail. On Sunday 12th June, at the Grand Designs event, they spoke about their initial experiences of living in the home. Their comments were very interesting to me, its a rare experience to get feedback from a family in one of our designs. This is a problem for the architectural profession in general, I would say, we don’t collect feedback nearly enough.
The Glazebrooks’ views were generally very positive, I was particularly struck by their view that the amount of daylight in the home lifted their mood a lot, and that when they went to other peoples houses they often found themselves thinking that their friends homes were gloomy. They are enjoying living a more sustainable lifestyle without having to think about it, and they are naturally turning lights out, and only boiling the right amount of water, because that’s what the house seems to suggest to them, in a nice way.
Living with a house that has some automation doesn’t appear to be causing them any difficulties, and the fact that roof windows open and close automatically and blinds go down on their own, is now something that they don’t really notice.
They did comment that their eight year old daughter started to sleep through the night after moving in, an interesting counterpoint to issues to do with light, possibly this is related to her getting a full ‘dose’ of daylight that’s needed to ensure a good nights sleep?
Their only problem reported was that cleaning the children’s hand prints off the glass staircase was a bore, but if that’s the most serious criticism that comes up in the fifteen months I’ll be pretty happy with that. It will be interesting to see how their view of the house develop as time progresses.