Adding our experience to the design mix

 

Designing with the build in mind

We have completed a number of successful projects, and have worked with forward thinking architectural practices such as BBM Sustainable Design and Ecotechture. We offer a high-quality and individual service at a sensible cost for any building project.

There is a plethora of building standards, ranging from the government 'whole project' Code for Sustainable Homes levels 1-6, AECB standards and 'Passivhaus'. They all have many similarities and we are very willing and able to accommodate any requirements our clients may need.

'We believe in adding our experience into the design mix, so that the project can be 'designed to be built', which will help to keep costs under control.'

 

Passivhaus

As a relatively simple starting point ‘Passivhaus’ standard is a very useful guiding methodology.
This relies on a simple number of criteria:

  • Well thought-out utilisation of solar and internal gains
  • Excellent level of airtightness, air changes per hr less than 0.6 @ 50 pascals
  • Very good levels of insulation with minimal thermal bridges,  U-Values of less than 0.15m²k
  • Windows (glazing and frames combined) with U-Values of less than 0.80W/m²k
  • Good indoor air quality provided by a whole-house mechanical ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery
  • Total energy demand for space heating and cooling of less than 15 kWh/m²/yr for treated floor area
  • Total primary energy use for all appliances, domestic hot water and space heating & cooling of less than 120 kWh/m²/yr

While the concepts are simple, a rigorous analysis of the design and meticulous attention to the building process is needed to achieve passivhaus certification. This may not be feasible for all projects but is an excellent benchmark to work to.

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Further considerations towards sustainability

Heating strategy
The Passivhaus standard minimises the heating requirement and in some cases negates the need for a main heating system. Heating requirements would be met by a combination of passive solar gain, heat generated in everyday tasks such as cooking and washing, as well as simply living in the home. A supplemental heating source would be included after evaluating the building and lifestyles of the occupiers.
Surface water impacts
Rainwater run-off from the roof outflows should serve water butts at a minimum. If space and budget allow, provision for larger volume storage and possible use for toilet flushing.
Foul drainage
Mains where applicable. If mains drainage is unavailable then the use of an on site sewage treatment plant and soakaway for black water would be necessary but a reed bed system may be another possibility. Grey water recycling is possible also but requires considerable expense and complexity.
Microgeneration
This would be the final consideration. These would include solar thermal, photo voltaic panels, wind turbines, heat pumps etc. Usually expensive, and not generally a necessity but can give a project an extra boost.

Case studies

 
 
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