Year: 2009

Clean Lines Update

As the building progresses so some of the clean lines that I'm so fond of start to emerge. Below are some of my current favourite examples, more can be seen in my Picasa web album - (following a couple of technical hitches flickr seems to have abandoned me for the time being...) They are to be found in many places and take many forms... Of course, not all clean lines are new and 'shiny' they can also be old and organic. From Clean Lines It's not all old either. This picture shows the high-tech face of clean lines - solar…
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The Hearth

MyBarnConversion.com is not the natural place for philosophical discourse but the building of the hearth in the barn has changed the way I view the building. It seems that the central position of the hearth against the gable end wall and within the building, its associations with fire and the power that has on the human psyche all contrive to make the new hearth a catalyst in starting to view this as a house or even a home rather than merely a barn that is being converted into something else... From MyBarnConversion 2009 The hearth transforms the barn from a…
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Insulation ~ Polyurethane

Often abbreviated to PU, Polyurethane is usually applied as a foam insulation sprayed onto the underside of roof rafters. Description A complex manufactured compound, polyurethane has traditionally been manufactured from petrochemicals and so has a few green credentials except for those gained from the energy it saves. Recent developments toward the use of polyols derived from vegetable oils to make polyurethane may yet redress this and shift this technology toward the green part of the insulation rainbow. Features Manufactured from petrochemicals so not sustainable and toxic when burnt. High embodied energy. Low k-value. Moisture & fire resistant. Adds structural stability…
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Building Progress ~ January 2009

As well as bitingly cold weather the New Year has seen some slow progress on the barn. The hearth has now been installed ready for the chimney and stove and then eventually a joined together, operational heating and hot water system. I'm really looking forward to getting that up-and-running, it's been so long in planning and commissioning and I'm ready to get it working. We've installed a couple of small electrical 2Kw heaters, that even when turned down to 1.25Kw keep the building warm - all that insulation seems to be working and working well. It's been so cold and…
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Zero Carbon to be redefined

My concerns over the ability of Wales to achieve its zero carbon dream by 2012 appear to be shared by the political community. According to a news item on the Energy Saving Trust website our Housing and Planning minister Margaret Beckett has decided that the meaning of 'zero carbon' is now to be re-evaluated. "We need a revolution in the ways in which we plan, design and construct our buildings. "They currently account for nearly half of all our carbon emissions. If we could improve construction methods, the ways in which we heat, light and power our homes, then we…
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Building Progress ~ December 2008

The fact that I'm writing my December update in the middle of January tells a story of its own. The cold weather & Christmas have slowed down activity to a barely perceptible drag. The stove eventually turned up after several phone calls and a nagging doubt over claims of what was in stock and what wasn't - the stove was in the free enamelled stove pipe that I didn't even need wasn't and so dispatch was delayed (not that anyone told me that was the case). Anyway, now we have it, just a shame that it's sitting coldly gathering dust.…
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Lammas ecovillage

In the same part of the world as the MBC barn is the Lammas ecovillage. As a venture into sustainable living on a far grander scale than our own meagre and partial attempt, it is a endeavour of both ideological and political personal interest. I applaud the vision of this initiative, the scale seems right (a cluster of homes around a central hall has an iron age resonance), Pembrokeshire CC has opened the door with its Low Impact Development Making a Positive Contribution policy (albeit only by a chink and they've kept the safety chain on) and the passion the…
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Insulation ~ Mineral Wool

Mineral Wool is an inorganic product manufactured from glass or rock. Most commonly seen in the UK in the form of rolls used for loft insulation it is also used in granular form as a cavity wall filler and as rigid slabs in construction. Certain products use recycled glass and can so claim green credentials. Description A long-time favourite in the UK, sometimes also know as rock wool. Although the production of mineral wool consumes relatively large amounts of energy, manufacturers counter this with evidence of far greater energy savings over its installed life. Features High embodied energy. Fire resistant.…
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