Elephant House

Sutton, Staffordshire

Application of Paragraph 55 of the NPPF allowing exception to the restriction of new isolated dwellings in the countryside should they be of exceptional quality with truly outstanding or innovative design.  The new house will achieve a zero carbon footprint, whilst supporting local enterprise, and providing local employment both in its construction and in the cultivation and management of Miscanthus Grass. Carbon absorption by Miscanthus (Elephant Grass) used in the Elephant House project is a natural way of offsetting carbon emissions in comparison with renewable energy systems, such as solar PV. Elephant House has been designed on a trajectory to become zero carbon within five years from construction, not only from the point of view of operational carbon, but also for embodied carbon. In other words, all carbon emissions generated whilst producing the construction material for Elephant House, as well as carbon emissions from its operation, will be eliminated. The building has been developed on the basis of advanced design methods researched by the Zero Carbon Lab team at Birmingham City University, achieving and exceeding Passivhaus performance. The Planning Inspector concluded that Elephant House is ‘truly innovative and would help to raise the standard of design, not just in rural areas but in the field of zero-carbon design more generally.’  Full RIBA Services provided through all stages.  Planning approval achieved.