This design for the environmental upgrade and remodelling of a suburban house was developed as an active and
monitored research project. It has wide application for environmentally-conscious retrofits of a common building type: late-1960s to 1970s private developer housing built right across the UK. This typology constitutes more than 7% of the UK’s residential stock – some 1.7 million detached homes – and was normally built with large areas of single-glazing and cavity walls, now well below environmental standards. The research makes a detailed analysis of the existing and potential design and environmental qualities of the housing type to explore how these could be optimised. This included a two-year study of the family’s occupation patterns. Batty took a ‘lifetime design’ approach to minimise demolition and rebuilding, enhancing positive qualities of the era’s housing while promoting a use-model based on shifting patterns of family occupation through the day and night. Drawing on aspects of his other published design projects, Batty also developed a ‘tea cosy’ external upgrade approach that minimised disruption and costs due to client relocation. The result radically reduces energy consumption (an estimated 61 per cent of annual load for space heating). Monitoring continues using data loggers with an identical, unimproved house adjacent as a control. The research generated through this project thus forms an active model with widespread applicability for homeowners, architects, local authorities and developers. In a parallel research strand, the project explored methods to improve contract management for practitioners. Using a traditional contract, Batty developed a model that effectively does away with the issue of multiple revised drawings, in favour of daily meetings where revisions are agreed and signed on site, providing a useful administration model that reduces wasted work and conflict. It is particularly applicable for small practices and sole practitioners working on local projects.