‘Hillcrest’, an oak frame self-build designed by owner and Chartered Building Surveyor Simon Kettle, occupies five acres of open countryside in a quiet corner of South Cheshire. The traditional masonry construction was designed for super-insulation levels with dense, solid internal walls and tiled floors for thermal mass. In terms of materials selection, the design focus was on quality, long term performance, sustainability and suitability of material for the rural environment. A variety of FAKRO roof windows were used to maximise natural lighting and encourage solar gain. A passive solar gain and ventilation design along the lines of established Passive House principles and Passive Stack ventilation principles was opted for. Conservation style units were used for the front aspect to enhance the traditional cottage style while standard profiles were installed using FAKRO ridge flashing as part of a system of passive ventilation control. Eight windows were used in combination, electrically operated and thermostatically controlled with the support of an external rain sensor and self-cleaning glass. FAKRO worked alongside Simon to ensure that specific aspects of technical performance were achieved. He explained, “The passive ventilation aspects were understandably extremely challenging due to an absence of established design information, standardised procedures or effective modelling to confirm its effectiveness. Ultimately, Fakro provided a quality product that was finished to an extremely high standard. This was achieved through their excellent support service which organised the exchange of design drawings and details of my required standards of performance with their research and development team in Poland”. In addition to the creating a stylish and individual family home that blends into its rural surroundings the design was shortlisted for ‘Best Technological Innovation’ and ‘Best Sustainable Development’ in the Local Authority Building Excellence Awards.