Within TopHat we have a core focus on delivering well designed, sustainable homes. The offsite housing industry has had a reputation for delivering homes that are either expensive, poor quality or unappealing. We sought to build homes that challenge those stereotypes.
Our homes must be beautiful and aspirational, which means certain things to different people. We want to have large windows, for excellent internal daylight, which goes against certain principles of sustainability as they are seen as being a point of air-leakage.
Many people want bricks, because they like the aesthetics, but the product is baked for several days at up to 1000oc, which is not necessarily the most sustainable. There are a number of challenges when trying to combine sustainability and aesthetics, all within an affordable budget.
Our homes are typically delivered for less than £1,600m2, yet are beautiful and sustainable. Achieving this has involved developing new products, such as our 3D printed brick. This product can take many forms, as per the two images alongside, enabling us to meet the requirements of the local vernacular, planners, etc.
Delivering excellent natural daylight through large windows requires exceptional tolerances to avoid air leakage, which is demonstrated via our homes achieving 0.85m3/hr/m2@50pa.
Meeting these requirements in a tight budget demands intelligent design, lean manufacturing and efficient installation processes. This requires a high degree of collaboration across the TopHat business and our partners, both financially and in terms of time. However, the results speak for themselves.