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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorGaryB
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2017
     
    Pile-o-Stone:
    The U Value calculation isn't correct, I'm afraid. The battens have not been included for within the thermafleece layer, this will increase the overall U Value.
    There is a button for entering this in the bottom menu on BuildDesk U and you can enter the % timber based on the width and spacing of the battens.
  1.  
    Thanks GB. I'm even more disappointed that I learned about aerogel too late for our annexe renovation :sad:

    Another item added to my 'things to re do' list :confused:
  2.  
    Project #4. Installation of a modern heating system

    When we moved in, the house had a floor mounted gas boiler, that had no cover and was hidden in the corner of the utility room in the area where two kitchen base units met. It looked quite old and we soon found out that it wasn't very efficient and it didn't work very well. The hot water tank was three floors up, in the loft space and was heated by an immersion heater. The gas boiler wasn't connected to it, but it did have some copper pipework feeding it. I traced these back to the ground floor multifuel stove, but they had been disconnected from the stove.

    We fitted a wall mounted condensing boiler, attached to a 350l heatbank, which was installed in the utility room, close to the new boiler. The cylinder in the loft was removed. We connected the heatbank to the old woodburner (after cleaning out the back boiler) and it worked OK for a while, until water flooded out. The reason it had been originally disconnected was because it leaked :). Oh well.

    Aside from the boiler stove incident, the new heating worked well and we had nice mains pressure, potable, hot water. We removed one of the electric showers and replaced it with one attached to the heatbank. It was a bit overkill having a heatbank just connected to the gas boiler, but the heating system was a bit of a rush job and was always going to be revisited later. Many years later....

    We did finally connect it to a second heat source (solar), but that's another story.
  3.  
    ''mans pressure hot water''...?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeNov 28th 2017
     
    Posted By: Nick Parsons''mans pressure hot water''...?

    Probably something to do with the leak! I'm told it can be a problem as one gets older ....
  4.  
    haha, typo corrected! :)
  5.  
    Project #5. Installation of A rated double glazing in the main house.

    Our property is listed, but it was originally a derelict mill that was restored/converted into a home. The original windows had been smashed by vandals and the frames were rotten. When the house was converted in 1990, the renovator installed oak framed windows with (thin) double glazing.

    I wrote this information into a 'Heritage' statement on my listed building application where I requested new double glazed windows, with steel casements (to reflect the industrial nature of the building) and kiln glass that had ripples and small imperfections that was as close to old Crown glass that would have been originally used.

    The LBO was very keen on the new windows, especially as they already had been used on various other, much more prestigious listed buildings.

    We went with a company called 'Touchstone Glazing' (http://www.touchstoneglazing.co.uk/home/) who replaced 46 of our windows with their powder-coated stainless steel openers and insulead fixed window panels with modern double glazing and kiln glass on the external pane.

    We were really pleased with the results, the lack of an internal breeze on windy days is nice and have received a lot of complements about the look of the windows.
      windows.jpg
  6.  
    Project #6 - Solar panels on the garage roof.

    Our house is listed and heavily shaded in summer by very large Beech trees at the front. So while we have a south facing roof, it wouldn't be practical (or permitted) to install solar panels onto it. However, we have a double garage behind the house that is in full sun in summer, but is permanently shaded by the house in winter. As such, it wasn't completely ideal for installing solar, but we wanted to 'do our bit' and reduce the large carbon footprint of the property as much as possible.

    We had huge wrangles with the council when we first submitted the plans, where they lost paperwork and delayed and delayed. Then the Tories announced a huge drop in FIT payments and so we couldn't wait any longer and went ahead with the solar installation. It was all fitted and working just in time before the FIT payments fell off a cliff (January 2016). The council took a dim view of us installing before the planning permission came through and decided to deny us planning permission (all documented as it happened in another thread on here).

    After a lot of discussion and getting the LBO out to look at the panels, they requested I resubmit the plannign documents, with a heritage statement stating that I had mitigated the impact of the panels as much as possible (i.e. they were roof integrated with black panels and frames and were on a 1990s garage, not the 1750s house), etc. etc.

    In the end they relented and gave us planning permission for the panels (a massive relief I can tell you as the alternative was to remove them and restore the roof). We installed 8 panels on the East facing roof and 8 panels on the west facing roof, making 4kw in all (16 x 250w). I have since read that many people think this is better than having all the panels facing South, as it means that you have sunlight on the panels for longer.

    The attached picture shows you the 'before' and 'after' pictures of the garage roof. On the Western side of the garage (pictured) we used to have two old and nasty roof windows that leaked into the garage. It's nice to now have a dry garage and 'free' electricity as well. :)

    A couple of months after the panels were fitted, I connected an iBoost up to the 350l heatbank we had previously installed. Even though my parents are home all day (they live in the 'granny annexe') and my wife and I often both work from home, we still have an excess of solar energy in summer. This fills the top third of the heatbank with hot water (often maxing out at 80C on really sunny days). While the garage wasn't ideal for solar (eat/west roof and completely shaded in winter), its performance has completely exceeded our expectations. So much so, that we decided to look at installing more panels.
      Garage.jpg
  7.  
    Looks very good. I installed our panels around the same time and had a broadly similar journey.

    We ended up with 2kWp on the east facing roof of the house. The council wouldn't let us install the other 2kWp on the west facing roof slope (we are in a conservation area), so they are on a south facing, but shaded, shed roof instead. We also have an iBoost.

    In the summer they are very effective. In the winter our generation figures are very low (but I haven't spent time working out why).
  8.  
    Thanks Richard. We are also in a conservation area, which added to the pain. The council did a 'pre-planning survey' in 2015 that was supposed to save us time when we submitted the actual plans (it didn't!). The pre-planning advice was that I should request 6 panels (1.5kw) on the West roof (which can't be seen from the highway) and 4 panels (1kw) on the east side. I decided to try a gamble and fit all of them as I'd be in trouble for fitting them without permission anyway, so I might as well be 'hung for a sheep as a lamb''. It worked out in the end, but was a bit stressful at the time.

    What I have found is that a lot of the planning decisions, especially around Listed Building consent, seem to be based on the individual planning officers personal taste, rather than on set guidelines. We are lucky because the planning department seem unable to retain staff and so the LBO who liked aesthetics was replaced by an LBO who liked renewables. :)
  9.  
    Project #7 - Solar panels on woodshed roof

    We had space on the roof of the lean-to woodshed attached to the garage and decided to add 6 x 300w panels onto it. The roof is virtually flat with about a 10 degree tilt to the east. Not ideal for solar, but better than nothing and it helped with the planning department because no one could see the panels and so there wasn't a problem fitting them.

    We were extending an existing system, so no FiT or export payments, but I knew that we would be using all of the generation ourselves, so decided to go ahead without any subsidies. We had the panels fitted on aluminium rails, with the intention of making them look a little roof integrated by edging them with slates at some future point.

    The woodshed roof consists of rafters covered with ply, bitumen felt and then roof seal painted on top. Prior to the work taking place, I covered the roof again with a fresh layer of roof seal. Once they had received the go-ahead from the DNO to extend my solar above the 3.68kW threshold, the solar company came and installed the 1.8kw panels and a 1.5kw inverter. I used the same solar company as I had used for the garage roof, as I had a really good experience with them. As well as fitting the panels, they sorted out some issues we had with our house electrics, tidying up the consumer unit.

    The attached pictures show the before and after pictures with the new pitched roof and then the addition of the solar panels.

    We now have a potential of 5.18kW of solar (taken from the inverters). I checked with the DNO and if we want to install any more solar (I had an idea of a solar pergola for the other side of the garage) we would have to pay £1500 to 'strengthen the grid'. We'd then be allowed to install upto 10kW of generation. At the moment though, other projects are demanding our money so the pergola is on hold for the time being.
      Woodshed.jpg
  10.  
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneI checked with the DNO and if we want to install any more solar (I had an idea of a solar pergola for the other side of the garage) we would have to pay £1500 to 'strengthen the grid'.

    Would going 3 phase be an option and would it be cheaper?
  11.  
    Posted By: Peter_in_Hungary
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneI checked with the DNO and if we want to install any more solar (I had an idea of a solar pergola for the other side of the garage) we would have to pay £1500 to 'strengthen the grid'.

    Would going 3 phase be an option and would it be cheaper?


    Hi Peter, I asked the DNO that question and the response was that it’d be £3-£4k for 3-phase, but I’d then be allowed to install 15kw of solar without any grid upgrades required. I’d also be able to qualify for FiT payments (such as they are these days). If I had the land available to ground mount so much solar, it might be worth it, but I’d be struggling to find room for another 3kw, let alone 10.
  12.  
    Project #7b - slates around woodshed solar panels

    I much prefer the appearance of roof integrated solar panels like those installed on our garage roof. The panels on the woodshed were installed on simple rails to keep costs down and I’ve subsequently battened around the panels and installed recycled plastic roof tiles. The tile roof is mostly just for show as the original felt roof provides the waterproofing. However, the top tiles prevent UV damage to the felt and does shield the roof from most of the rain. While I was making the roof look prettier, I also did the same to the front of the woodshed by fitting new cladding. I’m really happy with the result and the solar panels are really doing well. I was a little concerned about their orientation (effectively straight up) but they are exceeding my expectations.
      IMG_1182.jpg
  13.  
    Project #8 - A new fireplace for the first floor living room.

    After a few years of putting up with the ash, dirt, dust, and burned rug inconvenience of a multifuel stove in our living room, we decided to bite the bullet and replace it. We looked at various options, including a new DEFRA approved woodburning stove, but ended up deciding on a gas stove. I was unhappy about using fossil fuel to heat the house, but in the end the deciding factor was the various conversations on this forum and elsewhere about wood smoke particulates and other pollution from burning wood. The fact we get heat by pressing a switch instead of trailing downstairs with an ash pan full of hot embers and upstairs with an arm full of logs (dropping ash and sawdust on both journeys) also helped. We also wanted to remodel the fire surround as it was created from reclaimed stone materials and really looked ugly (it's not an original feature of the house).

    As the living room is quite long and thin, we wanted to increase the width of the chimney breast to make the fireplace more proportionate to the room size and make the the room look less corridor-like. After ripping out the old fire and cutting back some of the reclaimed stone, we used 100mm x 47mm timber lengths to create a stud-wall style frame around the old fireplace with a thick oak beam attached for a mantelpiece. Inside the frame we installed some ducting for a MHVR we will be fitting eventually. The frame itself was filled with 100mm thick rigid acoustic rockwool and the space between the old chimney breast and the frame was filled with more rockwool. At the sides of the fireplace where we extended the chimney breast, the rockwool is 400mm thick and it's 150mm thick at the front. The inside of the chimney breast is also filled with leca, so the chimney breast is pretty well insulated now. We then covered the frame with 10mm thick woodwool boards, a few layers of lime plaster and painted it with white claypaint.

    We are really happy with the results and the room is much less drafty without the old stove sucking air out of the room and up the chimney (both when it was on or off). The old stove was a 15kw coalbrookdale Severn and the new gas fire is a 5kw Gazco Huntingdon 40.
      Fireplace.jpg
  14.  
    Just to add, we intend ripping out the remaining plasterboard in the living room and fitting woodfibre internal wall insulation and lime plaster, so this should allow us to use the gasfire as a feature rather than a main heating source. This won't be done for a couple of years yet but we did the fireplace ahead of time because we couldn't last another winter with that damned multifuel stove!! We were really concerned about whether the gas stove would heat the room adequately as we were dropping from a 15kw multifuel stove to a 5kw gas one. We needn't have worried as it's absolutely fine. We must have had +10kw of heat going straight up the chimney from the woodburner because the living room is warmer with the 5kw gas fire.

    Here is some of the information on pollution from various types of domestic room heating. Our gas is supplied by Pure Planet and is 'carbon offset' by planting trees. However, the sooner I can fit the insulation in the living room the better!
      chart_circles.gif
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2018
     
    Well done, and thanks for the update. Looks much better to my eyes. :bigsmile:
  15.  
    Project #9 - Internal Wall Insulation & Ceiling Insulation in first floor bedroom

    Our house is built on three levels with the lounge and one bedroom on the middle floor. The bedroom has just one external wall, which is north facing. The west wall is a party wall with next door, the South and east walls are staircase and hallway. The lounge is positioned across the hallway and the other bedrooms are above it. As the bedroom is surrounded in this way, acoustic insulation is as important as thermal insulation.

    On the connecting wall with our neighbour (their living room) we installed a wood frame with 40mm of acoustic rockwool slabs. On top of this is 15mm of woodwool board and lavers of lime plaster. On the North facing wall I put a parge coat of hemp lime plaster, with 100mm of pavadentro woodfibre and then lime plaster. The remaining two walls have 15mm of woodwool board attached to the original blockwork, covered with lime plaster. The ceiling has 100mm of acoustic rockwool batts with acoustic/fireproof hoods above the downlights. The room heating is provided with a cast iron radiator and the lighting is 6x 5w warm LED downlights.

    The room has been a major job to do as I had to learn how to plaster in lime (I did the parge coat and scratch coats and employed a professional to do the smooth topcoat). While the ceiling was down, I also took the opportunity to rewire the room's lighting, the sockets in the bedroom above and while the flooring was up I rewired the the utility room below. I also lagged the central heating pipes and fitted ducting for a future MHRV. There was also a lot of remedial work, re-pointing the stonework around the joists.

    The room just needs the flooring to go down and it's finally finished. The flooring will be a floating 18mm tongue and groove chipboard sat on wool joist strips with a thin bamboo engineered floor glued on top. While it's taken ages (years) to do, the end result is great and its a blueprint for how we will insulate the rest of the house. The room itself is really warm (the heating is never on) and very quiet.

    The photos below show both ends of the bedroom.
      bed1.jpg
  16.  
    This pic shows a closeup of the window, which has 10mm of aerogel insulation in the reveal and a riven slate window board. The wall is now 500mm thick due to the addition of the 100mm insulation. It makes you feel like you're living in a castle :)
      window2.jpg
  17.  
    Posted By: djhWell done, and thanks for the update. Looks much better to my eyes.http:///newforum/extensions/Vanillacons/smilies/standard/bigsmile.gif" alt=":bigsmile:" title=":bigsmile:" >


    Thanks for the compliment djh, we’re delighted with the result. We just hope nothing gets wrecked when we do the full renovation of the room
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2018
     
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneThe flooring will be a floating 18mm tongue and groove chipboard sat on wool joist strips with a thin bamboo engineered floor glued on top.

    How thin is 'thin bamboo'? And how far apart are the joists? I'd worry a bit about bounciness. FWIW, I have 22 mm T&G chip with 14 mm bamboo glued on top (IIRC). It feels pretty solid except for the odd spot where the battens/joists underneath apparently aren't quite level and I can make it creak. (It all felt lovely and solid immediately after it was done.)
  18.  
    Posted By: djh
    Posted By: Pile-o-StoneThe flooring will be a floating 18mm tongue and groove chipboard sat on wool joist strips with a thin bamboo engineered floor glued on top.

    How thin is 'thin bamboo'? And how far apart are the joists? I'd worry a bit about bounciness. FWIW, I have 22 mm T&G chip with 14 mm bamboo glued on top (IIRC). It feels pretty solid except for the odd spot where the battens/joists underneath apparently aren't quite level and I can make it creak. (It all felt lovely and solid immediately after it was done.)


    I can't find the actual product I was considering, but I think it was strand woven bamboo with a 10mm thickness. The joists are at 400mm centres or less
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeOct 9th 2018
     
    Looks great.

    Have you got any piccies of how you are treating air tightness in the IWI works?

    You mentioned a lime parge coat but this was outbound of the wood fibre - is this ok wrt moisture transport because it's lime?

    It's probably the connections at the floor, ceiling and neighbouring walls I'm most interested in.
  19.  
    Posted By: gravelldLooks great.

    Have you got any piccies of how you are treating air tightness in the IWI works?

    You mentioned a lime parge coat but this was outbound of the wood fibre - is this ok wrt moisture transport because it's lime?

    It's probably the connections at the floor, ceiling and neighbouring walls I'm most interested in.

    The Parge coat was applied to the exposed stone wall and consisted of at least 15mm of course hemp lime plaster. I say at least because I had to dub out some parts of the uneven wall first and so in places it's 50mm thick. I covered the whole wall from the chipboard floor of the room above down to the plasterboard ceiling of the room below. This leveled the wall prior to attaching the pavadentro fibre boards and was recommended on the Pavadentro installation guide as the lime will allow moisture to pass through. We also used lime plaster on the rear of the boards to adhere them to the wall, with four plastic mechanical fixes 100mm from each corner of the board.

    I only fitted IWI on the north-facing wall in the bedroom and as the joists run east/west, there are no joists set into the IWI. There are ceiling beams running north/south and so we have two beams embedded in the IWI. For these, I trimmed back the pavadentro so there was a 20mm gap all around the beams and I then filled this gap with hemp lime plaster. My aim was to make sure that a bit of heat reached the beam ends to help avoid rot (dunno if this was the right thing to do, but it made sense to me at the time).

    I didn't use any tape as this wasn't mentioned in the pavadentro instructions at the time, but I believe that they include it now. However, I do wonder about using tape in future as I want a bit of heat to reach the joist ends and ceiling beam ends to make sure they don't rot. I'll research this prior to fitting IWI in the living room (next year's project), but if anyone has any suggestions/thought's I'd be interested to hear them.

    I used chicken mesh in the ceiling to hold the acoustic rockwool in the ceiling, though as this is tightly fitted, the friction held it up anyway. I did read that using chicken mesh was good in case of a fire, so fitted it. I have read that people fit breather membranes under the joists, but I want to avoid installing anything flammable and anything that isn't a natural material. The house was built in 1750, so while I want it to be as energy efficient as possible, I know that it'll never be an airtight super home but I'm hoping the sheer thickness of the lime plaster provides the airtighness (10mm to 20mm versus the paper thin skim of modern plaster). :)
  20.  
    I'm still working away on the house, so no completed projects to report on. However, I realised that I didn't post the EPC that was carried out when we had the first set of Solar installed on the garage, so here it is.
      EPG.png
  21.  
    We have gone from an Energy Efficiency Rating of E48 to D59 and Environmental Impact Rating of E43 to E50 (Yes, it's gone up 7 points .:shocked::surprised:!!!). I guess that after adding a further 1.5kw of solar and an iBoost solar water heater, we may have shaved a little more off both, it's still disappointing to see so little change after the amount of work we have put into the house.

    I do find it astonishing that after replacing drafty rotten thin double glazed windows with A-rated air tight modern units (all 40 windows), replacing the ancient boiler with a modern condensing one, creating a warm roof with multifoil insulation and 125mm celotex (to replace 40mm of polystyrene boards) and installing 4 Kw of solar panels, we would see the environmental impact rating go down not up!!

    It really underlines how pointless the EPC measurements are. However, undaunted, we are going to continue with the renovation.
  22.  
    Posted By: djh How thin is 'thin bamboo'? And how far apart are the joists? I'd worry a bit about bounciness. FWIW, I have 22 mm T&G chip with 14 mm bamboo glued on top (IIRC). It feels pretty solid except for the odd spot where the battens/joists underneath apparently aren't quite level and I can make it creak. (It all felt lovely and solid immediately after it was done).


    I'm still working away on the guest bedroom and gave your comments a lot of thought. I decided to change my approach with the flooring and instead if a floating floor of 18mm chipboard, I have gone with 22mm chipboard that is glued together and screwed into the joists (5 screws per panel per joist). The chipboard floor is sat on top of wool joist strips. The floor feels really solid (I've done half of it so far) and it'll be even more so when I've glued the bamboo flooring on top.

    Thanks for your advice DJH, it shows the value of reading/posting on this and other forums where we can pick up information from people who have already done the job.
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