Housing model that requires no heating developed in response to government new-build targets

Architect RMJM has unveiled a new look at affordable housing in the recession, with a new housing model that requires no heating and offers roof top vegetable gardens.

The scheme, unveiled at Mipim today, is targeted at homeowners wanting loft-style living and affordability, both in purchase price and energy usage.

RMJM devised the idea in response to ambitious government targets to providing affordable new homes in cities where stock is in short supply, and falling property values have forced developers to look at new ways to maximise the return on their development.

The design uses sustainable materials and zero-carbon technology and the “Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery” technology, designed by award-winning Max Fordham Consulting Engineers, also allows body heat to keep occupants warm.

This is used alongside an exceptionally high level of air tightness and heat generated within the home - such as body heat and heat from household appliances - is reused to maintain indoor air temperature at a constant level, negating the need for a traditional heating system.

The housing model has a low construction cost, starting at £55,000 per unit, and as a modular design, with shallow foundations requiring little groundwork, the blocks can take only five months to build.

The architects practice said the apartments would also “encourage social interaction”, with communal staircases styled as garden terraces, featuring plants and trees. Meanwhile rooftop “aloftments” would reduce urban surface water run-off.

RMJM is now preparing to make the model available in other urban centres which face affordable housing supply issues such as Russia, India and the US.