UK’s Moonstone Project Achieves Zero Carbon Rating with ArchiCAD

Moonstone Project, designed using ArchiCAD

The award-winning Moonstone Project, designed using ’s ArchiCAD BIM software, is one of the UK’s best performing houses, exceeding the UK’s Code 6 Sustainable Homes Guide; the house also exceeds the German ‘Passivhaus’ top standard for energy efficiency by over 65%.

Developer John Croft had a dream to build his own home in the idyllic setting of the Cotswolds. It took a few years, a lot of patience, research, and work to make this home the best it could be. At 16,000 square feet (1,500 square meters), with a third of its structure underground, Moonstone meets a zero carbon footprint – an incredible accomplishment considering the house is 21 times larger than the average UK home. The house literally needs no energy as it was designed to meet, or exceed, the very highest environmental standards, while providing a beautiful and practical family home.

More after the break.

Moonstone Project, designed using ArchiCAD

Having been recommended ArchiCAD by a colleague, and armed with the initial 2D sketch design and xyz site survey data, John received his first full demonstration of ArchiCAD BIM software at a homebuilding and renovation show. After just two day’s hands-on tutoring, John was able to model the entire project from the base 2D drawings, highlight inconsistencies and potential design faults, as well as incorporate the 3D landscape terrain of the site, placing the house in context. Thanks to ArchiCAD’s Virtual Building model concept, John was able to create a digital model of the design and store all the related information in one single project file. From that integrated model database, he was able to quickly and efficiently produce plans, sections, elevations, construction details, schedules, and building management information.

Moonstone Project, designed using ArchiCAD

The house is a testament to energy efficiency. For example, rain water from the immense curved roof area and driveway is stored underground in giant tanks. A two-tier vertical reed bed natural filtration system converts black and grey water into a fresh supply for drinking, washing, and flushing. As a result, there was no need to connect the house to a mains water supply. All windows are triple-glazed, and the exterior wall has a full 1/2m of solid stone and an additional 1/2m of solid, state-of-the-art extruded waterproof insulation as a thermal skin, resulting in insulation values 65% better than the very best Passivhaus standard. The house is so well insulated, that the heat given off by the individuals inside would be enough to heat it. Eighty percent of the house’s energy is generated from PV cell arrays on an outbuilding wall, which supply more electricity than the house uses. The surplus is fed back into the grid, generating an estimated income of £3,500/year (US$5,600).

Moonstone Project, designed using ArchiCAD

As further proof of Moonstone’s outstanding energy efficiency, under-floor heating, powered from solar thermal panels with a ground source heat recovery system backup, was used for a total of only six days during the bitterly cold winter of 2009/2010, when the outside temperature plummeted to -13 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit).

The house is lit entirely with energy efficient RGB based LED lamps. Creating white light from component Red Green and Blue LED’s actually uses less energy, capital cost is lower, and the overall color spectrum is much warmer than white LED based lamps.

Moonstone Project, designed using ArchiCAD

According to John, “ArchiCAD BIM is a tool we definitely could not have lived without.” “It certainly saved us tens of thousands of pounds in cost savings on the project as we were able to analyze any design mistakes, clashes of materials, know where the MEP runs were going to go as well as evaluate building performance,” he added. John also cited his relationship with Applecore Designs as a key to his success. “When I purchased ArchiCAD, I got more than just the software – I got a relationship with the people at Applecore who were as committed to Moonstone’s success as I was,” he said. The project also utilized GRAPHISOFT’s EcoDesigner, which performs dynamic building energy evaluations, including annual consumption, carbon footprint and monthly energy balance.

© Centaur Special Interest Media, Ascent Publishing Ltd.

A model of unique and contemporary design, the best in entertainment, security and environmental control, coupled with a zero carbon footprint, makes Moonstone a template for homes of the future.

For more information:

Cite: Graphisoft, Graphisoft. "UK’s Moonstone Project Achieves Zero Carbon Rating with ArchiCAD" 19 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Myron Gains

    Strong advertisement

  • subtract

    I know this is an ad, but still, there’s a number of problems here. Given enough money, anyone can produce a zero carbon building, as they simply have to generate more electricity than the structure consumes. Leaving aside questions of design (of which there are many), I think it’s difficult to argue a case for a 1,500 sqm house being a template for the future.

    • Chris Carlton

      Bingo. No energy use is one thing, but the sheer amount of material needed for this behemoth keeps it from being truly green. 16k square feet?!!! That’s obscene. That’s 12 times the square footage of my house……..oh and it looks dismal too.

  • kim

    My eyes are bleeding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jp

      aahhh!!! mine too

  • j

    april fools?

  • orlando

    being “green” isn’t just about building a self sufficient house but a life style

    i think it’s about taking LESS IS MORE everywhere, not only on architecture

    now, this house does not look eco friendly, it looks like a bunker

    the good architecture isn’t just ecology

  • Martin Hedin

    It’s incredible that ArchiCAD still spits out stuff that looks that it was made with software in 1995.

  • chapmaniac

    This is hideous and just one of the many reasons I would never consider using Archicad. Honestly, dont get a blind retard to design your buildings for you Archicad.

  • andrew

    Archicad is a very good software. If you want realistic rendering use Artlantis. I can show you tons of works made in Archicad and they look very good because they were rendered with Artlantis. Archicad is for base modeling/ construction only.

    • alexandra

      i agree andrew.
      I use archicad and then cinema 4d, which is the sister master rendering program for it, aside from its twin, artlantis.

      Please people of autocad, render something in that program and tell me it looks good.

      It`s clearly and ad, and the house ain`t so sexy, but if you would try archicad you would find it has a lot of advantages over autocad.

      p.s. revit rulz :)

      • orlando

        the appropiate comparison would be Archicad vs Revit (BIM vs BIM)

        Autocad isn´t BIM

      • Jim Thomson

        How much does a set of 3D drawings with a fly thro facility made on Archicad cost for a single house of 9000 sq ft in the UK

  • Callum

    Looks like what the 1st year students who don’t attend tutes churn out. That there is a blight on the landscape, and those renderings are pretty average. I’m just struggling to understand what this is doing here?

  • John-David Carling

    the photo has a load of solar panels in the background not attached to the house.

  • archi

    LOL. Trying to justify the “green-ness” of a house like this with that vast array of solar panels is like trying to justify the “green-ness” of a coal mine by planting a forest. (to be harvested at a later date of course…)

  • ScotoftheNorth

    Should we really be encouraging this s**t?

    As a “traditionally” trained architect, who implements renewable technologies, I find it appalling that aspects of our industry are behaving and pandering like BIM monkey’s and making the creation of architecture about an engineering feat only.

    The easiest thing to do is criticise but a project of this standard architecturally shouldn’t be published anywhere.

  • ngm

    it’s not even an engineering feat. it has no grace whatsoever. i don’t know who would want to live there.

  • Carol

    It amazining how far technology has really come within this industry; could you imagine life these days without it