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Barn Conversion, Carmarthenshire

In this project the client had an interesting problem having bought a derelict stone barn in the middle of a marsh on the dark side of a wood. It had planning permission to demolish and rebuild as a bungalow. Consensus needed to be drawn in order to marry the planning requirement for the barn style building with the client’s aspired actions for sustainable, contemporary rural design on the client side.

The solution was to produce a design based on the best energy conserving aspects of vernacular design using the natural topography for shelter, and re-using materials, while employing today’s energy conservation including orientation for passive solar gain and insulation. The contour-hugging plan shrugs off the weather and if reflected internally as attractive split levels. The “green” theme of the project has also been applied to the building materials which are either reclaimed or drawn from sustainable local suppliers. The property illustrates that highly energy-efficient dwellings do not need to be “exhibitionist”. The example shows that they can be designed to reflect local vernacular traditions and can contribute positively to a locality.

Property has been fitted with Biotech PZ8RL 15 KW Biomass boiler and solar system having first investigated and dismissing a ground source heat pump. There have been considerable savings on annual running costs compared to the original oil boilers fitted in the house.