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The Vicarage by Associated Architects

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Associated Architects’ Vicarage near Stourbridge has achieved both Passivhaus and Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6 certification

The architect’s view

The vicarage is the first building in England to have both Passivhaus accreditation and be rated zero carbon under Code for Sustainable Homes, Level 6.

The three-storey building contains: a vicar’s study and living room on the ground floor; the kitchen diner, family living room and study on the middle floor and, on the top floor, three bedrooms tucked into the roof.

The highly insulated design uses a fabric-first approach utilising solid, recycled aggregate concrete block walls, insulated externally with a StoTherm Classic render system, which enables the vicarage to be heated using solar energy and heat generated by the occupants.

All principal rooms face south and incorporate large triple-glazed windows to collect the winter sun and reduce the need for artificial light. Electrically operated blinds prevent the rooms overheating in summer.

Using Intello Plus membranes and seals for the roof and service penetrations, wet plastered walls and careful architectural detailing enabled the contractor to achieve excellent airtightness.

Tempered fresh air is drawn into the building through clay pipes buried in the ground; an MVHR unit extracts stale air from the kitchen and bathrooms. Roof-mounted evacuated tubes (5m²) provide solar hot water. The roof also accommodates 42m² of photovoltaic panels, which generate electricity and revenue under the feed-in-tariff. Rainwater is collected to flush toilets and supply the washing machine.

  • John Christophers, associate, Associated Architects

Project data

Start on site March 2010
Completion November 2011
Gross internal floor area 190m²
Procurement Traditional two-stage JCT
Total cost £450,000
Cost per m² £1,965
Client Diocese of Worcester
Project manager Associated Architects
Structural engineer Shire Consulting
M&E consultant Couch Perry Wilkes
Quantity surveyor Allman Woodcock
Wildlife and biodiversity consultant Worcestershire Wildlife
Code for Sustainable Homes assessor National House-Building Council

Specified products

Solid wall render and insulation system

Sto, StoTherm Classic K Lambdatherm system with 250mm of Neopor insulation




Passivhaus certified Pazen triple-glazed windows


Membranes and seals

Intello Plus



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