Month: June 2007

Ground Source Heat Pump

The basis of heat pump technology is something that we are all familiar with as it is the same as that used in refrigerators or air conditioning units. The core function of these units is to take heat from the ground and transfer it to a building for the purpose of heating water. This heated water is commonly used for space heating but can additionally be used as the basis for all hot water provision in the building given an additional boost from a complementary boiler system. Heat pumps consume energy in the form of the electricity used to power…
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Size, space and proportions

Here we concern ourselves with the volume of space we live in and through consideration of proportion aim to create harmony and reason within that space. Architectural practice since ancient times has constrained itself by the use of proportional systems that guide the selection of forms for inclusion within a building. Systems of proportion are often relatively straight-forward based on mathematical ratios or geometric shapes. These concepts when applied beyond the sphere of architecture, to music, art & cosmology lead to sacred geometry and other related belief systems – we will constrain ourselves here to consideration of proportions in architecture.…
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Sound

Whilst a superficial consideration of modern house design often may lead to the conclusion that external sound is simply something to be shut out, minimised and in a perfect world eradicated, in reality this is a more complex design consideration. Sound can tie us to our surroundings, sooth us or excite us, an absence of sound can be as unsettling as a surfeit of it. There is a balance that we must strike. The soothing sounds of rain-fall or bird song are of now value if drowned out by the constant hum of a nearby motorway or over-flying aircraft. The…
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Mould

Moulds are a type of fungi, the group of very common organisms that includes mushrooms and yeasts. Moulds are most likely to grow in wet or damp conditions. In the home, places at threat from mould growth include wall, ceiling and floor coverings, insulation material and wooden constructions that have become dampened by water ingress. Water may find its way into the structure through poor maintenance or design. Whilst mould and its spores (moulds spread by releasing millions of tiny spores into the air) are not harmful to healthy individuals, the elderly, very young, people who are ill or who…
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Gas Pipeline Woes

A rainbow rose over the pipeline today! I must admit I loathe the thing. It's a great example of the way that big corporate culture rules this country and steam-rollers everything in its way, be that our heritage (Roman road found at gas pipeline) or our opinions (Final pipeline protester removed). It is also an example of our governments inability to join any two thoughts together. They talk zero carbon, they talk green then allow this monstrosity to cut a wide swathe across some of our most ancient and beautiful countryside, bringing a dwindling supply of gas to fuel our…
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Seven Lamps of Architecture

I was recently wandering around the web rooting through building and design related sites and came across a reference to John Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture intrigued by the title, I decided to do some more digging and came across one of the foundations of architecture over the last 150 years. I've not yet read the book, just some of the reviews and write ups scattered around the web, but it looks like fascinating stuff. In the book, Ruskin expresses his belief in the nature and role of architecture and its aesthetics in relation to both current and future human…
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Light

At the heart of our lighting design we should place the central concept of the relationship between day and night, light and dark that lies within our most natural rhythms. This is a complex discipline in that the direction of the sun at given times of the day & the year, the orientation of a building, weather conditions, the quality of glazing and many other variables will all influence the quality and amount of light that reaches the subject. I hope to touch on some of the factors of importance when starting your consideration of lighting in the healthy house.…
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Heating

One end of the heating -- cooling continuum, heating is one of the hottest (sorry about the pun!) topics when it comes to healthy and green building. The optimum temperature within our healthy home, lies somewhere between 15 & 25 Degrees Celsius. The exact temperature will vary dependant upon a number of variables. These variables include surface temperatures, air moisture levels, circulation of the air and the nature of any heat emitted in the environment. The provision of warm surface temperatures is a key to providing healthy green heat. If we are able to heat surfaces rather than the volume…
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Lime Wall Pointing

Having fed my lime pointing addiction over the last few weeks, my overall approach is established: To begin with the lime mortar is generally sound, if crumbly in places and needing some attention. After hacking back there are some deep areas needing extensive filling and other areas that remain mainly intact. Pointing is done using a 3:1 local sand to lime putty mix. The deeper areas have been filled with pinnings (small pieces of stone) and packed with lime. The joints are left roughly pointed. After a number of days to go off, the lime mortar is hard enough to…
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Cooling

Our comfort zone, in terms of the optimum temperature within our healthy home, lies somewhere between 15 & 25 Degrees Celsius. The exact temperature will vary dependant upon a number of variables, which include surface temperatures, moisture in the air, movement of the air and the nature of any heat emitted in the environment. To maintain the optimum temperature we must obviously consider both heating and cooling: At its simplest, cooling of the occupants of a building can be achieved through appropriate positioning of the occupants, provision of opening windows and the employment of fans. The thermal mass of a…
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