Month: May 2008

Bees

Last year I noticed that there was a colony of bees living in the base of a red wood tree near my garden gate. As wasn't too bothered about them at the time as the place was more or less a building site. One of the bees Then, a couple of weeks ago my father was stung by one of them as he passed and yesterday as I was pottering around, there was a great hum and swarming of the bees that started around 2:45pm and lasted for 20 minutes or so after which they seemed to have spread-out and…
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My Favourite Things ~ ‘Oak Beam’

So far in this series of my favourite things at the barn I've focussed on original features, this is the first of the new features we've introduced during the conversion. We chose these oak beams instead of steels to support the first floor for a couple of reasons. From a 'healthy house' perspective we minimised the use of metal in the building and aesthetically the oak beams help maintain an attractive link to the buildings history. There are two beams in the main room of the barn - each weighing in at around 3/4 of a tonne. It will be…
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Early Interior Video

I'm a little late in posting this as it was taken a couple of months ago, but I think it's worth adding as it gives a feeling of the internal space on the first floor as it starts to take shape.
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Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes is an essential read for anyone considering a sustainable home building project. In its own words: The Code for Sustainable Homes has been introduced to drive a step-change in sustainable home building practice. It is a standard for key elements of design and construction which affect the sustainability of a new home. It is under-pined by heavy-weight research having being built upon the Building Research Establishment's (BRE) EcoHomes System. How does the code work? The code seeks to achieve improvements to levels of sustainability in home building through the establishment of minimum standards for energy…
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BREEAM ~ Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method

The term BREEAM is one that I've come across in various contexts over the course of this project and thought I'd better find out what it means... BREEAM is a widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. The assessments are carried out by qualified practitioners. For many types of development, assessments are a prerequisite. Through application of the method buildings are assessed against a set of criteria and given an overall score which will fall within a banding, this then provides a rating of: PASS, GOOD, VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT. Certain minimum standards are set - for example, the Welsh…
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Microgeneration installations now ‘permitted developments’

A piece of good news that is of great interest personally and I'm sure of interest to many people planning conversions and other projects, is that the installation of solar thermal & PV panels, combined-heat & power systems, biomass systems and water & ground source heat pumps will no longer require planning permission, so long as there is no negative impact on neighbours or the area. In future these developments will be included as permitted developments under the General Permitted Development Order. Negative impact is assessed in part by the profile of any panels installed, roof mounted panels must not…
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Transition Town Llandeilo

Llandeilo has been grabbing headlines recently with talk of launching its own currency under the banner of being the first transition town in Wales. The transition town movement concerns itself with tackling two major challenges, Peak Oil and Climate Change. The approach to tackling these challenges is by broadly applying permaculture principles, considering energy efficiency and methods for local self sufficiency in food, waste disposal and manufacturing. The goals are to reduce the carbon footprint of transition communities and to prepare them to be better disposed to weather any negative effects of a future impacted by reduced availability of oil…
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