Max Fordham House UK’s first verified net zero carbon home
7th April, 2022

Max Fordham was a remarkable and influential environmental engineer who changed the way buildings were designed and constructed.

Max passed away earlier this year. The house that he lived in through the latter years of his life, and helped design, has been recognised as the first verified net zero carbon house in the UK.

Located in Camden - a part of London Max loved – Max Fordham House has achieved net zero carbon for both operational and construction carbon in accordance with the UKGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Framework. Operational carbon is generated by running the building – lighting, heating, technology – and construction carbon is produced in the manufacture and construction of the building’s materials.

The house was designed by bere:architects and Price & Myers, in concert with both Max and the environmental engineering practice that bears his name. It is both a RIBA Award winning project and Passivhaus certified.

The Price & Myers team was led by then Partner, Paul Batty. He recalls the pride he felt when Max called him and invited Price & Myers to be a part of the project.

I felt honoured when Max phoned up and asked us to work on the project. Working on Max’s house was a great privilege for our practice, and an absolute delight personally. Sam Price was one of Max’s oldest friends and we are justifiably proud to have helped produce the UK’s first verified net zero carbon residence. It’s a fitting reminder of Max’s innovative approach to environmental engineering and sustainability.

To minimise carbon emissions during construction, concrete with low carbon cement replacement was used alongside natural materials such as timber - for the roof structure, window frames, and façade – and internal insulation made of wood-fibre, and flooring made from cork.

To achieve net zero carbon for the emissions created during construction, an investment in offsetting schemes was made at the voluntary cost of £70/tonne. This is far higher than the market rate but is recommended by UKGBC and the Treasury to accelerate funding and incentivise reducing emissions first.

Max Fordham was a long-time collaborator with Price & Myers, and our practice is very proud to have worked on this wonderful home that Max was able to enjoy in his final years. To see it recognised as an exemplar of sustainable design and construction is a worthy punctuation mark for a life spent innovating and exploring.