Energy Conservation for Homes

This summer we experienced higher temperatures than usual creating a need for cooling at home and workplace. We face an uncertain winter with energy prices soaring. This has brought into sharp focus the need for energy conservation within the built environment. Mark Fairhurst Architects consider energy conservation issues from first principals and help our clients navigate optimum solutions for their renovations, extensions and new buildings.

Site Orientation

The orientation of a building affects the way it interacts with the sun and prevailing weather patterns. Careful siting of buildings relative to their surroundings and choice of openings can transform the energy performance. Southerly openings can attract heat gain which can be useful in the colder winter months but less so in the height of summer. Therefore consideration of passive solar heating, overheating, daylight and sunlight all contribute to the fundamentals of an energy efficient building.


Figure 1 Sun path indicator for London from BRE Site Layout Guide


Natural ventilation can cool and replenish the air supply to our buildings mitigating the effects of overheating. Night time cooling can reduce temperatures without the need for active cooling systems.

Figure 2 Thermal mass and the effectiveness of night time cooling from BRE Overheating Guidance


The integration of mechanical ventilation with heat recover is an efficient active system that conserves existing heat within the building and purifies incoming air. Incoming air is pre-heated by exhaust air thereby reducing heat loss.
Solar shading can be used to limit solar heat gain through openings. External brise-soleil, louvres or awnings and internal blinds, shutters or curtains can protect heat gain at the hottest time of the day. These systems can be automated to adjust to the changing weather conditions.


Following the introduction of the new Part L Building Regulations 2022 there is a need to increase thermal efficiency to all existing and new properties. There is an array of building insulation products available to enable compliance with the regulations and beyond. Combined with air tightness the need for additional heating can be almost eliminated as seen with the Passive House certification.

Renewable Energy

To reduce dependence on expensive and damaging fossil fuels integration of renewable energy systems help balance energy use and ongoing costs. Photovoltaic panels can provide instantaneous electricity ideal for active homes during the day time. Solar panels can heat hot water and complement existing heating systems. Heat exchangers in the form of air and ground source heat pumps can take advantage of existing energy within the atmosphere and earth. Biomass boilers may be useful as an alternative form of energy in rural locations and electrical energy can be generated by wind turbines.


Figure 4 Hafer Road Photovoltaic Panels

If you’re thinking of upgrading or building from anew we would be delighted to discuss how our designs could improve the energy efficiency of your property or new building whilst providing delightful crafted spaces.

BRE Overheating in dwellings –

BRE Solid wall heat loss and the potential for energy saving –

BRE Site Layout & Planning –

Building Regulations Part O Overheating –

Building Regulations Part L Heat Loss –

Centre for sustainable energy -

Passive House link –