Month: September 2010

Combined Heat and Power

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems generate electrical power and heat simultaneously. There are three main technologies utilised to provide CHP systems - External combustion, Internal combustion and Fuel Cells. External combustion Central to the generation of electricity is the Stirling engine. A Stirling engine operates by being heated externally and so is described as an external combustion engine (ECE). Fuel Cells A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts an input fuel into a number of outputs - an electrical current, heat and waste water or carbon dioxide. The primary function of a fuel cell is usually generating…
Read More

Maintain Space

Most conversion projects involve the division of large functional spaces in smaller, habitable spaces. But keep the space & enjoy it ... allow for a full height atrium, keep large open plan living spaces, divide spaces with furnishings, temporary dividers or screens rather than solid, immoveable walls. Avoid the desire for that extra bedroom or reception room - may as well buy a new build! Snippets on MBC Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I'd challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion... Snippets…
Read More

Feed-in Tariffs

Whilst I have no immediate plans (or money) to install any electricity generation technology at the barn, I like to keep an eye on future opportunities and thought a review of Feed-in Tariffs may be in order. The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme has been available through electricity suppliers since April the 1st 2010. The aim of the scheme is to encourage the uptake of small-scale (up to 5MW) low carbon generation technologies through tariff payments made on both generation and export of produced renewable energy. The scheme is designed with the goal of providing a monthly income from your installation that…
Read More

If only all the new houses…

This quotation from Roger Deakin's last book (or rather the book assembled following his death from his unpublished writing) 'Notes from Walnut Tree Farm' raises a thought provoking point regarding the building materials we currently favour and the contrast between buildings 'seeming' to be vernacular and 'truly' being vernacular.   If only all the new houses in our villages were being built of timber and cob, locally grown in working woods, and the cob dug to form new ponds, which would soon fill with water and life. Think of the dragonflies and newts, the frogs and toads. And think of the…
Read More

Step 11 = space usage and purpose

... Rooms - what, where and why? I think in the UK we take a strange approach to consideration of houses, judging a potential home, first and foremost by reference to its number of bedrooms. Forget the rest of the space and all the other essential functions of a home, just think bedrooms... Early on in your design it's essential that you take a step back and consider all the purposes that the space under your roof needs to accommodate and the ways in which this can be achieved without allocating a specific room to each. For example, the second…
Read More

Design Patterns ~ my choices ~ update

Way back at the end of 2007 I selected a number design patterns from Christopher Alexander's excellent 'A Pattern Language - Towns Buildings Construction' to guide the design of the conversion of the barn. With progress having been made I thought a review was in order. The original list of chosen patterns and my original descriptive text is given below. My latest comments are given in italics. Looking at these now (September 2010), I can't help but think that I chose too many and that there's a definite emphasis on patterns that are applicable to the exterior of the building -…
Read More

Passive Solar Design

The opportunities for truly engaging with and implementing Passive Solar Design may be minimal on a conversion project - the orientation of the building is set and there may be limited opportunities for large glazed openings that can provide optimal solar gain. But do what you can to maximise (openings) and manage (through materials, colours, blinds and shutters) your solar gain - it makes sense! Snippets on MBC Rather than my usual wordy ramblings I thought I'd challenge myself to come up with some short gems of (throw-away) advice on how I think you should go about a conversion... Snippets…
Read More

At Night

It's pretty nice out there when the sun goes down... From bochgoch From bochgoch From bochgoch I'll look at these in the middle of winter and hopefully feel some warmth.
Read More

Building Progress ~ August 2010

We've been away to Brittany for a week so I've gone back to my old late ways this month... Before my holiday, I spent every weekend and then three days of the week before going away occupied with repointing the external walls. The trouble with working with lime for a few days without a break (there was a five day stretch in there) is the damage prolonged exposure does to your skin. Even when you keep you hands pretty clean, you're bound to have some residue on your hands. The lime eats away at the skin, especially where the trowel…
Read More
No widgets found. Go to Widget page and add the widget in Offcanvas Sidebar Widget Area.