The INTEGER Millennium House set a new benchmark in terms of the successful INTEGER partnership approach which has enabled the pooling together of know-how, sharing of resources, and reduces the risks that are often intrinsic to sustainable innovation strategies.
Located at the BRE in Watford, UK, the Millennium House was designed as a demonstration house for innovative sustainable design and intelligent building technologies. The three bedroom house was built using mostly standard components to showcase exemplary environmental performance. The design made efficient and flexible use of space by including movable internal walls and utilising the attic for living space. Prefabrication and the use of flexible, lightweight wood meant fast, dry construction with no wet concrete, mortar, or plaster involved on site. A central vertical service core provided access to cables and pipes for easy maintenance and upgrade. The house achieved high insulation levels that, combined with passive stack ventilation, led to lower energy demands. Cutting-edge technologies were incorporated to further save energy and resources including solar panels for heating water, solar photovoltaic panels, a wind turbine and a geothermal heat pump. The use of greywater recycling and surface water harvesting reduced water usage by around 30% and a living roof created oxygen and lowered carbon dioxide levels. The house opened to the public in 1998 and received widespread media and visitor interest. It was renamed the Smart Home after being refurbished with a number of upgraded features in 2013 and continues to be used as a test-bed for new low-energy products and techniques. This pioneering designing and construction process was filmed by the BBC and aired on prime-time television, watched by millions of viewers in the UK.