No news is good news..and also reflects the lack of an internet connection.
We are in! Hurrah. The recent glorious weather has provided the best of starts with the sunshine emphasising how fabulously light this house is right through to late evening. Its not properly dark for many hours in this part of the world as we approach midsummer so the changing light outside is a constant delight.
Lots of building info to convey but the detail will have to wait a few more days, as will photos. Time and attention is devoted to our business and family needs at present. Unpacking is a slow process but we have everything we need. Having lived in a caravan for 9 months it is clear that our lives don't need most of the 'stuff' we have packed away in boxes so there's no urgency in that area. We've been concentrating on making sleeping and eating areas comfortable.
Quick info for today's blog;
1. We are SO pleased with our house. Satisfaction and feel good factor is high.
2. The quality of the architecture and the build is superb.
3. 3 points to resolve for building control i) one step on the patio is of a different height to others, ii) lashing eyes are to be provided for a window cleaner to clean the large first floor bedroom window and iii) on the same window there is ongoing discussion whether an internal barrier/rail needs to be put in front of the window - its a fixed light but the building control officer is considering this point, more later on that
4. Externally we live on a rather rough looking plot - plenty of work in the years ahead.
5. The apple trees are in blossom and look stunning.
6. The poorly hen has recovered completely and the hens are completely free range now that the chances of being run over have diminished. About 5 eggs per day are being produced.
7. The temperature in the house is pretty even despite it being hot outside and the MVHR is at its lowest setting.
8. The slate floor is particularly terrific in terms of appearance.
9. There is some snagging but not much except relating to the windows which have a good number of small issues to resolve. The supplier is currently proving slow to deal with them despite our first contact being around 2 months ago now.
10. Phone line being connected on Friday allegedly.
What we've set out to do at ECF is to build a house which will use 70% less energy than one built to current building regulations. Its timber frame construction detailing hasn't wavered too far from the 'norm' to present any major problems for a timber frame kit manufacturer, decent building contractor or building control, and the costs of going this 'extra mile' haven't been excessive to the extent that they will be paid back within a decade in terms of reduced energy costs.
In essence, we have built to a standard which is accessable now by most contractors and self builders which is around 5-6 yrs before its time if the UK Government is to fully implement its Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) strategy, on which this building should come in at around 3-4 on a scale of 1-6. There is clearly some distance to go from this to 'zero carbon', so what represents the 'optimum' for 'Level 6 living', the magical zero carbon level required by 2016 for all new homes?
Well, the same principles apply, namely...
- building orientation to maximise solar gain in winter, spring and autumn whilst avoiding overheating in summer
- high levels of insulation around the entire building envelope
- high levels of airtightness coupled with heat recovery ventilation
- highly insulated and well sealed doors and windows
...but for CSH level 6 the wall insulation would need to be increased to >300mm (from our 200mm), roof insulation to >450mm (from our 350mm) and windows to be triple glazed krypton filled units with insulated frames and glazing spacers (vs. our argon filled double glazed units). This would result in a building which could feasibly rely on the heat given off by its occupants and collected though its windows to keep it at a comfortable temperature without having to introduce a heating system. Construction might rely on internal masonry/concrete walls to store heat and keep a steady internal temperature, with the insulation fixed to the outside of this.
On the face of it quite simple, but a seriously long way from what the UK housebuilding industry is used to. Roll on 2016.....there is a lot of catching up to do and mindsets to be re-programmed.
As for living comfort at the levels of airtightness we are building to, it becomes necessary to use a whole house ventilation system. For this there are two main options; Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV) and Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR).
MEV uses a constantly operating fan which extracts warm moist air from the warm moist rooms (ie. bathrooms, kitchen etc) via ductwork, with fresh air effectively being sucked in via trickle vents and gaps in the structure. MEV is fairly economic to install, especially as it eliminates the need for dedicated extractors in the bathrooms. However, for very airtight buildings additional openings in the structure need to be introduced and warm stale air is replaced with fresh but cold air, thus driving heat out of the building and reducing its efficiency. As an aside to this, an MEV option is available for our heat pump which actually uses the heat from the outgoing stale warm air to pre-heat the ‘brine’ before it goes into the heat pump, thus recovering some of that energy. This is a great idea and an option well worth considering for self builders opting for a heat pump, but we eliminated it on the basis that that our first floor is largely unheated and such a system might lead to the cooling of that area via the trickle vents in the Velux windows which would need to be open for this system to work properly.
MVHR combines MEV with an intake system which supplies the ‘dry’ rooms with fresh air, preheated via a heat exchanger which takes heat from the extracted air. This is the system we have chosen, a (claimed) 95% efficient unit made by Dutch company Renovent and supplied by Ubbink in the UK. The unit has three settings and is virtually silent in operation. At the lowest setting (normal operation) it uses just half the power of a 60W light bulb and should be adequate to ‘heat’ the three first floor bedrooms alongside the heat convected from the ground floor. Other advantages are good air quality by using fresh, filtered air from outside, and the ability to use the unit to provide cooling in summer by bringing in cool air at night into a solar heated building.
animals architectural design awards, cottages, sustainability bees caravan cottages Curlew Cottage days out design dogs eastcambusmoon electric vehicles foundation fruit and veg production furniture gold award great review green toursim hard landscaping heat pump heat recovery hens holiday accommodation insulation interiors lambing landscaping loch lomond low energy measures national park nature outings owls people photoshoot roof solar PV timber frame Training ventilation walks website windows
- June 2019 (1 entry)
- February 2019 (1 entry)
- December 2018 (1 entry)
- November 2018 (1 entry)
- April 2018 (1 entry)
- December 2017 (1 entry)
- October 2017 (2 entries)
- June 2017 (1 entry)
- April 2017 (2 entries)
- March 2017 (1 entry)
- February 2017 (1 entry)
- February 2016 (1 entry)
- June 2014 (1 entry)
- June 2013 (1 entry)
- April 2013 (1 entry)
- February 2013 (1 entry)
- May 2012 (2 entries)
- April 2012 (1 entry)
- March 2012 (2 entries)
- December 2011 (1 entry)
- August 2011 (2 entries)
- June 2011 (4 entries)
- May 2011 (4 entries)
- April 2011 (1 entry)
- December 2010 (4 entries)
- October 2010 (2 entries)
- August 2010 (2 entries)
- December 2009 (1 entry)
- November 2009 (2 entries)
- October 2009 (2 entries)
- September 2009 (3 entries)
- August 2009 (1 entry)
- July 2009 (2 entries)
- June 2009 (3 entries)
- May 2009 (7 entries)
- April 2009 (2 entries)
- March 2009 (2 entries)
- February 2009 (1 entry)
- January 2009 (4 entries)
- December 2008 (2 entries)
- November 2008 (1 entry)
- June 2008 (5 entries)
- May 2008 (4 entries)
- April 2008 (11 entries)
- March 2008 (14 entries)
- February 2008 (9 entries)
- January 2008 (12 entries)
- December 2007 (11 entries)
- November 2007 (11 entries)
- October 2007 (10 entries)
- September 2007 (6 entries)