Solar House wins top regional building award

July 9, 2014
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The UK’s first fully solar-powered new-build home, the Solar House was commended for its innovation and sustainable credentials

An innovative eco-house built by Caplin Homes has won the top accolade at the LABC East Midlands Building Excellence Awards.

The Solar House in Leicestershire saw off strong competition from buildings across the region to be named Best Individual New Home, before securing the evening’s overall prize, the Chairman’s Award. Chosen from the winners of the 14 individual categories, the Chairman’s Award celebrates the very best of the region’s construction.

As the UK’s first fully solar-powered new-build home, the Solar House was commended for its innovation and sustainable credentials.

The judging panel commented: “This was the stand out nomination in a very high quality category. All nominations achieved excellent end results in terms of efficiency, air leakage and energy use. The Solar House consistently topped each factor considered and coupled with the requirement for exemplar construction as a planning condition managed to, and continues to achieve everything that it was designed to do as a zero carbon building.”

Judged by industry professionals, the LABC Awards celebrate quality building projects that enhance the lives of occupants and find creative answers to construction challenges. As well as offering a practical new solution to the issue of zero carbon building, the Solar House provides a carefully considered family living space and freedom from rising energy bills.

Michael Goddard, director of Caplin Homes, commented: “We’re incredibly proud to have received this award. The Solar House is such an important project for us; it demonstrates that zero carbon building is both achievable and financially viable, so it’s wonderful to gain recognition from the LABC.”

The Solar House was built as a pilot project for Caplin Homes’ groundbreaking energy storage technology, the Earth Energy Bank (EEB). Combined with other renewable technologies, the EEB enables buildings to harness solar energy to provide heating and hot water all year round.

Researchers at De Montfort University in Leicester are monitoring energy flows in the Solar House for the first 12 months following its completion. This data is being used to model Caplin Homes’ zero carbon system for other buildings and installations are already going ahead into a variety of building types. The house builder now plans to continue working with De Montfort University to further develop its key energy storage technology.

As a regional award winner, Caplin Homes’ impressive five-bedroom home will now be entered into the national final, which will take place in London this November.


  • Caplin Homes specialises in building the most energy efficient timber frame houses
  • The timber frame houses reduce heating and maintenance costs and are no more expensive to buy than conventional homes
  • Stuart Caplin built his first timber framed home in the 1970s and has been at the forefront of timber frame housing construction in the UK for many years
  • In 2006 legislation was passed requiring more stringent energy standards to be adopted with a requirement that all UK homes be carbon neutral by 2016
  • The Caplin Homes team has returned to Scandinavia for inspiration and new technology to help maintain its position as a UK industry leader in building carbon neutral homes
  • Caplin Homes works with architect John Cotterill to build homes with innovative materials that embody energy and cost efficiency in their construction