Month: August 2007

Cash Incentives for ‘Green’ Installations

A recurring topic that has kept popping into my consciousness over the past few weeks has been that of financial incentives to encourage of adoption of green technology in buildings. Firstly, in relation to the incentives that are available in the UK from the government. I'm interested in an air-source heat pump to provide an easier-to-install alternative to a ground-source pump to provide our heating. Whilst the Energy Saving Trust website lists air-source pumps as being covered under the low carbon buildings programme, the Low Carbon Buildings site itself doesn't! I guess these are the risks of being a (potentially)…
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One of the cornerstones of energy efficient, healthy, sustainable building design, the PassivHaus standard aims to provide comfortable year round living conditions through minimal energy expenditure. These aims are achieved through: An effective passive solar design that will provide the necessary heat gain (heating). To manage the heat gain: ...very highly specified insulation, ...near complete airtightness. Mechanical ventilation coupled with highly efficient heat recovery and 'backup' heating systems to manage the internal climate. No additional heating systems are required. The PassivHaus standard for buildings in Europe dictates that the building will consume no more energy than: Heating & Cooling: 15kWh…
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Zero Carbon House

A term often heard, but of rarely understood, just what does it mean? Some definitions: "within ten years every new home will be a zero-carbon home" Gordon Brown, then Chancellor, in pre-budget report 2006. When asked for further clarification, a zero-carbon home was defined as one that does not contribute to global warming - hardly a precise definition. The zero carbon building produces no Carbon Dioxide and by combining all the available innovations can actually export carbon free energy back into the electricity grid. definition Definitions can tend to ignore the CO2 emissions related to the sourcing of materials…
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One small step….

Despite the various pieces of tinkering and potching that I've committed over the past months, I never really felt that we'd made a real start on conversion of the barn. That is until the last couple of weeks when the wall came down. As dramatic as it sounds, the wall coming down entailed the removal of a section of about four feet of stone wall that butted up to the barn at the southern extremity of its east facing wall. In reality a small job, but one with a large psychological impact. This is the first job that has been…
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What is Thermal Mass?

One of those frequently occurring eco-building terms, thermal mass is often mentioned but rarely defined. The thermal mass of a building is an assessment of the ability of its internal fabric to absorb and store thermal energy. Through absorption of heat, the temperature of a material increases - the amount of heat that must be absorbed to raise the temperature of a material by one degree varies by material. This ability to absorb heat is measured by the Specific Heat Capacity of the material (SHC). The SHC is a measure of the amount of heat energy required to raise 1KG…
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Passive Solar Design

Whilst a little late in the day for our barn (it was built 100+ years ago) the orientation of a building to the sun and the suns relationship with the buildings windows, doors and other openings are the focus of passive solar design. Through effective passive solar design we seek to harness the power of the sun to our advantage whilst protecting inhabitants from its excesses. So what do we need to consider in our design: The strength of the sun at different times of the year. This will be determined by the latitude, altitude and azimuth of the site,…
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