St John’s Church Vicarage

The St John’s Church Vicarage was built for The London Diocesan Fund (LDF) in advance of the construction of a wider, mixed-use community development in Wembley, undertaken by Galliford Try Partnerships Ltd. This involved the provision of a new Community Hall and 20 affordable dwellings on an adjacent site.

The new Vicarage provides a new live/work dwelling for the Vicar, the Vicar’s family and parishioners. The LDF stipulated the need for a Level 6 rating under the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) which, being the UK’s best environment tool available to measure and ensure compliance across multiple categories for new homes, would meet with the longevity requirements of the dwelling as well as LDF’s own requirements.

Alan Wyper, Sustainability Design Manager for Galliford Try Partnerships Ltd, says:

“The St John’s Church Vicarage provides both a home and a work space that requires minimum heating, little or no dependence on fossil fuels, structural longevity and a traditional form that is pleasing to the eye.”

“The Code for Sustainable Homes is the best available environmental assessment tool for dwellings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is ideally suited for meeting and measuring the performance of the London Diocesan Fund Vicarage.”

“Standing alongside the 18th Century Church that it is serving, it is paramount that the Vicarage delivers minimal global and local environmental impact, whilst incurring the lowest possible running costs. It is expected that the choice and specification of robust materials and build form will enable the Vicarage to outlast typical dwellings and serve St John’s Church throughout this Century and beyond.”

The new Vicarage achieved maximum scores in all categories concerned with:

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Pollution
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Management

The building scored just short of the maximum in the Surface Water category and Ecology (due to the storey height of dwelling) categories.


Figure 1. Heat recovery system

Figure 1. Heat recovery system

Building services

  • Photovoltaics – the extensive PV array means that no additional energy from the National Grid is required to fuel the property.
  • Mechanical ventilation heat recovery system – recovers more than 92% of the small amount of heat needed to heat the dwelling.
  • Ground source heat pump – solar powered by the PV system.
  • Rainwater harvesting system – keeps the use of potable water to a minimum – attaining less than the minimum 80 litres per person, per day requirement.


Green strategy

The St John’s Church Vicarage is an unusual, traditionally-built, zero-carbon dwelling. The Vicarage is the first of its building type in the UK designed to comply with Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, and demonstrates both the LDF’s and the Galliford Try Partnerships’ commitment to sustainability and the built environment.



Project team details

Client/ Funder: The London Diocesan Fund (LDF)
Main Contractor and Sustainable Designer: Galliford Try Partnerships Ltd
Architect: Calford Seaden Partnership
Structural Engineer: Walkers Associates Consulting
CSH Assessors: Ian Larnach Associates
Employer’s Agent (on behalf of LDF): Wilson Stephen Associates


Credits: A special thanks to the BRE Group.


  • Property Type: Showcase 
  • Listing Type: Not For Sale 
  • Location: Wembley, United Kingdom 
  • Floor area (sq ft): 2,310.3 (214.6 m2) 

Energy Efficiency

  • Other Energy Efficiency: A high thermal performance system - the dwelling has a 75% improvement in reducing unwanted drafts when compared with a standard dwelling (see Table 2). 


  • Solar Photovoltaic: A photovoltaic (PV) array - 8.5 kW peak - 731 sq ft (62m2) coverage (see Table 1). 
  • Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps: A bore hole (250m) for ground source heat pump providing heating and hot water to the dwelling. 
  • Other Technology: A mechanical heat recovery ventilation system that recovers more than 92% of filtered, fresh air (see Figure 1). 

Design Principles

  • Other Design Principles: Code for Sustainable Homes: Level 6 [Score: 93.38%] (Version: CSH May 2009). Passive solar gain through the large south facing aperture. 


  • Water Management: A rainwater harvesting system - services toilets and laundry areas. 
  • Other: Use of thermal massing - through construction of wet plastered walls and solid flooring. CO2 monitoring throughout the duration of the construction period.