New-build residential properties as part of a major development scheme

For Cornhill Estates Ltd; completed 2006; BREEAM rating Excellent


Site B, Upton in Northamptonshire, is a development of 204 homes of 42 different types on seven blocks. Jointly sponsored by The Prince’s Foundation, English Partnerships and Northampton Borough Council, Upton’s strict design brief fully embraces the principles of sustainable construction. Upton, as a whole, will comprise of about 2000 homes, a school, shops, offices and the final phase will be complete in 2010. The overall vision for Upton is that it will become a neighbourhood of mixed housing where a diverse community will evolve. The development aims to become a prime example of national best practice in delivering sustainable neighbourhoods. Block 6 Site B is a traditional street with a mix of contemporary and traditional homes of different sizes and prices.


As well as designing some of the buildings on this site, Gale & Snowden Architects worked closely with the other design partners, Prophyrios Associates, the Princes Trust and Cornhill Estates Limited as the ecological design consultants for the site by providing sustainable construction advice and guidance to the team.


Key Features:


  • Site layout – Plots 1-19 Block 6 site B is a traditional street with a mix of contemporary and traditional homes of different sizes and prices all of which have front doors opening onto the pavement. The orientation of the dwellings maximises solar gain.
  • Low energy design including:
  • Super insulation; U-values of construction: floor 0.14 W/m2K (200 mm EPS insulation); walls 0.13 W/m2K (300 mm cellulose insulation); roof 0.13 W/m2K (350 mm cellulose insulation; windows & doors 1.00 W/m2K (triple glazed, double low-e, argon and insulated glazing spacer bars)
  • Air tightness – fan pressurisation test to 3ach@50 PA
  • Natural daylight design for all habitable rooms
  • Natural ventilation with pre-heating from solar spaces
  • Inclusion of thermal mass to provide stable internal temperature fluctuations and reduce summertime overheating
  • Low energy lighting throughout
  • Renewable energy
  • Solar water heating
  • Photovoltaic slates


Low environmental impact natural materials used throughout and avoidance of PVC


Healthy building design – use of non VOC materials; avoidance of dust mite habitats; radial wiring to avoid low level EMFs in bedrooms; thermal comfort & daylight design


Water efficiency – low water use appliances; pressure reduction gauges, rain water collection system to WCs


External landscaping – SUDS design with attenuation meadow and porous surfaces, low maintenance design


The development achieved full marks in the Pollution and Water categories within EcoHomes and gained nearly all available credits in the Energy and Materials sections.