Richard Brown, Category Marketing Manager for Wall at Wienerberger considers the economic and social trends that will influence society in the future and highlights the role for the Wienerberger e4 brick house.
In the e4 brick house, Wienerberger has created a blueprint for the house of the future – a house that is as sustainable and innovative as it is practical and liveable, that will work as well now as it will in 150 years. Most importantly, it is a house that people will aspire to make a home.
However, what is truly important when it comes to the home of the future? Which aspects of a home really make a difference? Designed in conjunction with global engineering organisation ARUP – the organisation behind iconic designs such as the Sydney Opera House and Pompidou Centre in Paris – the e4 brick house has been designed to demonstrate the future of affordable and sustainable housing in the UK.
Making full use of Wienerberger’s building products, solutions and innovations, the home has been designed according to four founding principles: economy, energy, environment and emotion. These four key principles have been embedded into the e4 brick house at every stage; from the architect’s designs right through to the construction material and method.
You can find the ideal home, it could be just what you need in every way, however if it isn’t affordable, then it isn’t the perfect home for you. The Wienerberger e4 brick house aims to provide a house that not only gives optimum build performance, but also meets a growing market need in that it is financially affordable and accessible. With a more cost effective build than traditional construction methods, the end product should see the house being made available at a cost that is achievable for most potential buyers.
Saving energy means saving money, and that’s an area that is almost certainly going to catch the interest of any homeowner. The e4 brick house provides a property that meets the latest energy performance standards and will continue to meet these standards for every day of its 150 years plus lifecycle. To the everyday consumer that amounts to huge cost savings in everyday household bills – fuel costs for the home are slashed from the £1,300 mark over the course of a year to the meagre total of £200.
By maximising the natural properties of clay bricks, blocks and roof tiles, and combining this with the latest in construction innovation, the environmental value and performance of the e4 brick house is permanently embedded in the building’s fabric. It is features such as this which has led to the house being awarded the first ever Home Quality Mark, developed by BRE. In obtaining the HQM, the e4 brick house displays that the final end product has undergone tests in thermal imaging, whilst all equipment, such as mechanical ventilation systems are working to an efficient level.
The impact on the surrounding environment is another key factor built into the ‘house of the future’ concept, and in the e4 brick house, Wienerberger provides a house that minimises its environmental impact and is responsibly sourced. In the construction of the home, 80% of the materials in e4’s basic building elements are responsibly sourced, while the ground floor is made of concrete, ensuring durability and improved sound insulation. The upper floor and roof supports are made from timber, an organic, non-toxic and naturally renewable building material, while the external finish of the property is made up of both clay roof tiles and bricks; providing excellent energy efficiency as well as natural thermal and sound insulation.
What really matters to a homeowner? While it’s obviously a positive that a house has a good economical impact, and it’s even better if the design of your home saves you money, at the end of the day, it’s that homely feeling that resonates with you when you finally find that perfect home and get the opportunity to put your own individual stamp on it. It’s crucial to construct a house that people will want to live in; a house that not only provides flexibility and practicality, but will also allow for a higher quality of living, every day you inhabit it. One aspect that plays a big part in this is being able to provide a property that can deliver both the space and the light to appeal to consumers.
This is one of the biggest challenges that housebuilders in the UK face. The Future Homes Commission investigation into the quality and suitability of housebuilding to meet the needs of growing and changing populations found that 63% of people ranked high levels of daylight as important in a home. This need for natural daylight is something that factors into the design and construction of the e4 brick house, with large windows in the house design delivering an internal daylight factor that significantly exceeds average standards to meet Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, in turn, addressing one of the most important factors when it comes to ensuring a homeowner is truly happy within their new property.
Similarly, when it comes to space, the Wienerberger e4 brick house is different. The home has been designed in full accordance with the London Housing Design Guide recommendation that a three-bedroom house (typically for five people) should have an internal area of 96 square meters and generous storage space, something that is again implemented in the design and construction of the house to ensure that the property is as livable as possible.
The flexibility of the design is also a key factor in allowing the homeowner to truly connect with the e4 brick house, as the property can be easily modified to reflect the changing needs of the occupier, allowing them to perfect their own space to ensure the highest quality of living.
The first e4 brick house was officially opened at BRE’s Innovation Park in Watford in 2015 and the concept is now being built on live sites across the country. To find out more about the concept visit www.wienerberger.co.uk/e4-house