Passivhaus new build near Bampton

In 2015 we started work on an exciting Passivhaus new build near Bampton.  An low energy certified building in a scenic valley setting on the fringes of Exmoor in Mid Devon. The project was designed by Gale & Snowden Architects, with whom we have also worked with on Passivhaus projects.

The two storey building was set into the hillside and designed to be a Passivhaus certified low energy building. It was dug into the south facing slope with a curved turf roof so as to maximise solar gain and to blend into the surrounding countryside.

The building, despite its contemporary design used lots of timber and required a high level of traditional craftsmanship. Natural materials have been specified throughout such as a green roof construction, cedar cladding and stone facing for the external material of the new building.

The Project

Our part in the build was to construct the entire timber frame, floor levels, internal walls and the structural roof covering. Due to the unusual shape of the building we had to use the ‘stick build’ method throughout. We also fitted all of the airtight membranes and seals and an element of the insulation using Pavatex and Pavatherm products, which are made from wood fibre. On the outside of the building we formed the roof overhang, balconies and fitted the cedar cladding and battening.

Hidden beneath all the beautiful timber are layers of insulation, making the building highly insulated against heat and cold. The airtightness test, which requires a result of 0.6 to meet Passivhaus standard, gave a fantastic result of 0.41. Not bad for a house that has no right angles or straight lines!

The rural setting along a tiny lane was a true access challenge with the odd lorry getting lost, scratched or even completely stuck. Its exposed hill side location gives the site stunning views but also meant we were exposed to all the elements throughout winter. The clients’ passion for their eco project and the beautiful surroundings kept our spirits up though.

Read more about the whole project at Gale & Snowden – Sherwood and on the owner’s blog.

Gale & Snowden Architects also designed two other Passivhaus projects built by Building Devon: Westcott House (Passivhaus retrofit) & St Leonards, Exeter (Passivhaus new build)


  • Passivhaus new build
  • ‘Stick build’ timber frame
  • Aluminium powder coated doors and windows
  • Atrium
  • Green roof
  • Glu-lam beams
  • Cedar cladding
  • Airtight insulation
  • Cellulose fibre insulation
  • Pavatex and Pavatherm insulation

More of Our Previous Projects