Newhaven Green - First Active House in the UK

Crofton at the Forefront of Sustainable Design

The Crofton team are delighted to congratulate developer, Miracles by Design on achieving accreditation for the first Active House scheme in the UK!

The design team led by innovative Stickland Wright Architects, have created highly efficient, light and pleasant spaces –  see the walkthrough.

Many will be familiar with the Passive Haus standard, which has been successfully used for many years in the UK and on the continent.  The Active House standard goes a step further, with the concept of net-zero energy use, achieved by the introduction of on-site renewables.

In this case, that means 6kw of PV generation for each apartment and 4 kw of landlord’s generation for each of the two blocks.  The net effect of this is that over the course of a year the flats generate more energy than they use!

The extent of PV provided on this project sets it apart from the norm. Not only this every apartment has the PV fed into its own supply and is provided with battery storage to maximise the utility of collected energy.  Space allocation and close coordination were paramount in achieving a workable solution on-site, and for ongoing maintenance.

The developer Miracles by Design has taken a holistic view of the project, striving also to reduce embodied carbon in the construction materials.  For example, the concrete used for the foundations is a net-zero formulation, based on materials used and used for the first time in the UK, thermal insulation is formed from sustainable wood fibre.


Now a very important and unusual feature of the development goes way beyond the norm.  The concept is that each apartment is provided with a carefully selected range of plants grown in a green wall, these being located inside the various rooms.  The extracted air from bathrooms, kitchen extract is routed through the soil medium and through this process the particles in the air are absorbed into the soil, cleaning the air and providing nutrients to encourage plant growth.

The resulting growth of vegetation reduces carbon dioxide and emits oxygen to improve indoor air quality for occupants.

Our team mechanical engineer Rob Adams noted “We went through many iterations on the ventilation to achieve a solution that would meet the unique requirements for the bioremediation and be a compliant system. We learnt a lot about the biosystems and how they need to interact with the ventilation”.