Cambridge ‘family of the future’ moves into the Virido Concept House

A lucky Cambridge family won the Cambridge News’ competition to live rent-free in Pollard Thomas Edwards’s brand new eco home. The state-of-the-art house is a prototype for Virido, the new sustainable community on the southern Cambridge, designed by PTE for developers Hill.

The Rayner family will live rent-free in the house for a year and blog about their experience on After only a few days in their new home, Lorna and Dave are already enthusiastic about how comfortable and warm it feels for them and their two young children.

Using PTE’s ‘fabric first’ approach, the Rayner’s home was designed to the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5. The design takes advantage of the site’s orientation – sunny in winter, shaded in summer – and a high level of insulation and weather-tightness to reduce energy use. Water-saving features include collecting rainwater off the roof to flush toilets, as well as low-flow fixtures.

PTE, Hill and Leeds Beckett University will be monitoring the performance of the house to fine-tune the design for Virido’s future homes. The sustainable community of around 209 new homes takes its cue from Cambridge’s traditional quads, with a grid of courtyards surrounding a new park at the heart of the site. Each quad has a mix of apartments and family homes, framing a shared garden. A moat between each home and the courtyard helps with rainwater storage and attenuation.

PTE Senior Partner Teresa Borsuk says:

“Virido will demonstrate the best in design, sustainability and low carbon living.  The quads create a real sense of place – delightful spaces and a place for people to relax together.”