Month: August 2008

Rainwater Harvesting ~ ‘If Only…’

I'm not in the habit of giving advice (well at least not until recently), but the one regret that I have (well in addition to forgetting to put solar panels on the original plans) was that we didn't go ahead and install rainwater harvesting. I had a quote for a large tank and a variety of pumps, pipes and valves that came out at around £2000 including VAT. This was way back when we were drawing up plans and rainwater harvesting got lost amongst them and never became a firm inclusion. It was a £2000 that was easier not to…
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ruralZED ~ Zero Carbon Home

If it wasn't for the fact that we'll be completely broke by the time we complete this project, I'd love to explore the ruralZED potentially zero carbon home. I say potentially as the eco housing system that is ruralZED can be specified to achieve different levels of the Code For Sustainable Homes right up to level 6 and being carbon negative. RuralZED is so named not because they are designed to be built in fields down sleepy lanes, but as a reference to its frugal embodied energy and relatively low density development... ZED stands for Zero (Fossil) Energy Development. RuralZED…
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Clean Lines

When I started out writing this blog (now over two years ago) I intended to both share my experiences and to provide advice to other people considering following a similar path. The advice has been a bit slow coming, but now as things are progressing I thought I'd start to share. Not so much hard and fast rules but my personal musings and accumulated wisdom. new clean lines Any old building will have a set of angles, curves and contours all unique and peculiar to it. Straight clean lines are unlikely to have been the norm when it was built…
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No Batteries Required…

In one hour, enough sunlight strikes the Earth to provide the entire planet's energy needs for one year. One of the major challenges in micro-electricity generation, especially off-grid, is the need for a storage medium to provide electricity when demand is greater than supply or when supply of the generating medium (sunlight, wind, water etc.) is limited (such as overnight, on calm days or during dry periods). The traditional solution, is storage in batteries - an expensive, bulky and potentially polluting solution. However, this could all be a thing of the past as researchers, Daniel Nocera and Matthew Kanan working…
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Got Wood!

softwood / hardwood Sorry about the title of this post I couldn't resist it... I thought this picture of an off-cut from one of our new windows with a piece of softwood attached was quite interesting... Whilst the differences in strength, hardness and cost between soft and hard woods are commonly known, I like the way this picture shows the physical differences. Even visually, the closer growth rings and the tighter texture of the hardwood suggest greater strength and durability.
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British Summer Time

There's a mountain out there somewhere... Last Saturday, I was sitting sheltering from the torrential rain that didn't stop all day with a sense of unease. Not only was I troubled by the fact that I wouldn't be so wet if I hadn't wisely taken down the guttering a couple of weeks ago, guttering that would have safely collected much of the water now falling on my head as I worked at the foot of the wall. But I also had a sense of of Deja-vu... Looking back through previous posts on mbc I discovered that Summer had been elusive…
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Lime Pointing ~ Summer 2008 … part 2

With a set of plans and my ruler I set out to check the figures I'd put together earlier in the Summer when working out how much repointing work I have to do. All my original figures were based on a total of around 70m2 of repointing which would take around 150 hours of work. These figures were based up some quick sums I did in my head using what I thought the measurements of the barn are. I should really have got the ruler out before now as I actually have around 150m2 to complete. Quite a miscalculation and…
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Building Progress ~ July 2008

July has been a good month with much progress. new window External All the windows, except for the one in the kitchen, are in. As I've previously commented, I'm really pleased with the windows, great quality, well made and sit in harmony with the building. I've also removed the gutters and downpipes and repainted the weather-boards in preparation for the new aluminium rainwater system that we're going to install. My repointing is progressing, not quite as slowly as I thought (I'm getting quicker!), but I've perhaps underestimated the amount of work -- I'll be posting more on my lime repointing…
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Fancy appearing on ‘Build a New Life’?

The producers of 'Build a New Life' have asked me ever so nicely (well they said 'mybarnconversion.com looks like a a great website' I don't think they were sure) if I'd post a press release asking for volunteers for a new series. Despite being upset about not be asked to volunteer myself, I didn't see why not. So if you can put up with the smug and loves-himself-a-little-bit-too-much George Clarke (sorry George), read on: BUILD A NEW LIFE IS RETURING FOR A FOURTH SERIES! The 'Build a New Life' team are looking for hands on people who are creating their…
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