Hockerton Housing Project Master Class

Learn off-grid technologies

Hockerton Housing Project Master Class/Tour is a one day a practical case study of sustainable off-grid living, on July 14th 2005.

The Hockerton Housing Project (HHP) is an innovative residential sustainable development in the village of Hockerton near Southwell, Nottinghamshire. The architects were Professor Brenda Vale and Dr Robert Vale, whose own ground-breaking home in Southwell provided much of the inspiration and know-how for this project. HHP was completed in September 1998 after three years of planning and 18 months of construction. They have been designed as one of the first zero energy residential systems in the UK reducing life cycle energy to a minimum and are amongst the most energy efficient, purpose built dwellings in Europe. Maximum use of benign, organic and recycled materials has been made in the construction and the development is designed to be, to a large extent, self-sufficient.

This event will be of particular interest to developers, self-builders, landowners, planners, architects, buildings services engineers, and other building professionals.

The houses are earth covered and have passive solar heating without a space heating system. Wind turbines and photovoltaics provide all of the energy required to run the homes and a community building. The water and sewage system is self-contained. Since completion in 1998 Hockerton Housing Project has established itself as an exemplar of sustainable development locally and nationally, providing a unique ‘real-life’ experience of living sustainably.

The course will cover:

an appreciation of the practicalities of building sustainably
an understanding of strategies and technologies for ultra low energy building and zero heating design
a comprehension of the differences between high thermal mass build and lightweight timber frame construction
knowledge of the potential solutions and strategies for delivering a zero carbon and autonomous development through renewable energy technologies, and water systems (collection and waste), and how they can be incorporated into buildings.
an insight into what it is really like to live in eco homes and to live sustainably.


Registration and refreshments

Introduction: Objectives for the day and personal introductions

The Hockerton Housing Project – Sustainability by design
Simon Tilley, HHP

The Construction process and practicalities
Nick Martin, HHP

Tour of one of HHP eco-homes

Nick Martin &/or Simon Tilley

Lunch (local caterer) & networking & HHP exhibits

Tour of HHP external services (including renewable energy & water systems)

Simon Tilley, HHP

Refreshment break

Discussion session
Nick Martin & Simon Tilley, HHP


This programme is only a guide with approximate timings. HHP reserves the right to vary the programme
Attendance at this events is limited to 15 delegates, to ensure a truly interactive and worthwhile event for all participants
Attending a HHP event can contribute towards your CPD requirement. This event can count towards 6.0 hours of CPD (this excludes time for lunch)

You may wish to discuss with your professional body many other visitors have used visits to HHP to meet their CPD requirements, including RIBA & CIOB members.

Presenters/Guides/ Facilitators

Nick Martin

Nick Martin, a founding Project member, has a unique experience and knowledge of energy efficient housing. He first became interested in the early 1990’s after acquiring a 25-acre site just outside the village envelope of Hockerton, in rural Nottinghamshire. Combining his interests in renewable energy and low impact developments he set to work on various concepts leading him to the earth-sheltered option. In the meantime he won the tender in 1993 to build the home of Prof. Brenda and Dr. Robert Vale, the UK’s first sustainable town house – an autonomous house with net zero CO2 emissions, of low embodied energy, deriving power from photovoltaic arrays and passive solar heating. Nick Martin was so convinced by many of the construction principles that he commissioned Dr. Robert Vale to design a rural hamlet of 5 earth sheltered sustainable dwellings, Hockerton Housing Project, to similar energy and environmental performance standards – autonomous and with net zero CO2 emissions. Nick supervised this self-build project from August 1996 to Sept 1998.

Nick Martin is now one of the most experienced eco-builders in the UK. He leads the project consultancy work, including new designs for ultra low energy housing, as well as being directly involved in new eco-building projects. More recently he has been involved with the design and build of HHPs new eco-community building (the Sustainable Resource Centre) a pair of earth-sheltered homes in Hockerton, a single eco-home, an eco-barn conversion and many eco-retrofits (including involvement in the Nottingham Eco-House).

Simon Tilley

Simon Tilley (M Eng, C Eng, M I Mech E) Simon joined the project in 1995, after a background in Mechanical Engineering. This included spending two years in Namibia. He manages the HHP water & energy systems and a number of key HHP projects, including a DTI Domestic PV field trial. He also leads and facilitates HHP’s developments with educational work including running workshops tours and training events. He contributed towards Nottinghamshire Agenda 21’s review of energy & construction. Simon was also an Open University Associate Lecturer for the Energy for a Sustainable Future course for two years and now mentors his replacement.

More recently Simon has been very involved with the design and build of HHP’s new eco-community building (the Sustainable Resource Centre), provided input into a number of reed bed designs, and acts as one of HHP’s most experienced technical members for consultancy, tours and workshops.

Nick White

Nick White (BSc) Nick has been a member of HHP since the start of the construction of the homes in 1996, and contributed to the self-build. Since 1998, Nick has led the development and marketing of the Project’s on site eco-business, including guided tours, consultancy and workshops. He coordinates the Media coverage of HHP. In the last few years he has also managed grant funded projects including, The Zero Emission Network (BIFFAward), written two guides on sustainable living and written a draft Sustainable Developer Guide for Nottinghamshire County Council.


Students = 50 + VAT = 58.75

Individuals, and non-VAT registered organization = 70 + VAT = 82.25

Businesses, local authorities and VAT registered organizations = 90 + VAT = 105.75

This compares with 100-300 +VAT for similar events run by other organizations

All attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the HHP publication Sustainable Housing Schemes in the UK with details of access worth 9.


You can book places by Using the website booking form see https://www.hockerton.demon.co.uk/guidedtour/bookingform.html

One Response

  1. i would have loved to intergrate solar system in all of africa if i can be sponsored for the training here in the state e. g off-grid system,i will be looking forward to anyone who could pick this inrest up ,#310-531-3273. thanks.

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