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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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    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2007
    These must be ungreen as they put into an envelope a gaping thermal hole which is difficult to insulate properly, and even if insulated perfectly, which is unlikely, still looses far more heat than it ought to and radically more than if it was not there. It is also exceedingly difficult to air seal too allowing air leakages into the heart of the building. Worse still they are almost never used to keep a cars in. Often they are converted to become a part of the house at huge expense and waste any effort that went in to insulating them in the first place.

    No more integral garages?
    tony, an integral garage is classified as an unheated space in Part L and must therefore have a thermal barrier between it and the heated part of a house. This is usually a cavity wall insulated to the same standard as the rest. I don't see this as necessarlly ungreen as the temperature difference into the garage is less than that from the rest of the house to the outside. It may even be benefitial if there are glazing areas which permit solar gains.

    Of course this is relliant on a good level of air tightness, which is probably not there in many cases. Good workmanship is the key I think.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2007
    The basic problem, the bit that is ungreen, is that the presence of an integral garage greatly and unnecessarily increases the surface area of the walls and therefore the heat loss of the building as a whole.
    I don't agree. Assume a house [excluding the unheated garage] with a thermally insulated envelope, with an external wall u-value of say 0.35W/m2K. The same level of insulation is present between the house and the garage. Assume also that 80% of the external walls face the outside with a temperature difference of up to 20degrees in winter. The other 20% faces the garage with a temperature difference of much less-say up to 15degrees worst case. Okay, there is also heat loss from the grage to the outside, but it is arguable that some of this may be offset by thermal gains, especially if there happens to be some South or West facing glazing.
    • CommentAuthorBluemoon
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2007
    Regardless of the green-ness, I won't have another integral garage. It is far too easy to open the door and put things in that: should not have been acquired, ought to be recycled, and are often a source of danger. How many people declare to an insurer when getting a quote, that their car is garaged, but it never/seldom is. You become a liar as well!
    All garages are ungreen because they are used to store "stuff" which we don't need which has to be made using energy. As Tony says, no-one keeps a car in them and new cars don't rust anyway so why bother? They are just a dumping ground for tat so you can replace it with more, new tat. Ban all garages and save energy and land.
    Yes but that is a different argument to the heat loss one
    Wouldn't an attached garage be better than an integral? That way you don't increase the surface area of the heated space but still get a thermal buffer zone up against one wall, preferably the north facing one.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2007
    Now that could be a green idea.
    We seem to be at cross purposes here. My definition of an integral garage is one that is attached. This definition states an integral garage as being 'part of the structure of a building'

    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 3rd 2007
    Is Chris's garage integral or attached then --- surely attached is different from integral? Attached is not part of the structure is it?
    So is attached different to integral?:confused:
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2007
    I think it is different. The thermal envelope runs between the house and an attached garage, where as an integral garage protrudes into this the thermal envelope and it becomes uneconomically shaped and many technical and ungreen problems result.
    Ah, under Part L 2006 the thermal envelope must now run between the house and ANY adjacent unheated space.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2007
    Sorry i should have said juts into the thermal envelope deforming its shape. The point is that the more unwieldy its shape is the greater the unnecessary heat loss is, and therefore integral garages are ungreen.
    Okay, but Part L does not allow for that to be done anymore [at least as far as I know] Perhaps there is a loophole being exploited
    What about these 3 storey townhouses that are going up all over the place? Most of them seem to have integral garages on the groundfloor with a room behind and a hallway and staircase to one side with living accomodation on two floors above. This is exactly the situation Tony is refering to I guess. They look ugly to my eyes never mind the heat loss concerns.

    I'd prefer to see no garages, just a communal parking area to one side of the site, then the development becomes pedestrian and child friendly plus there are fewer roads to build and less tarmac and more gardens (plus the homeowner gets to take a little exercise getting from the car to the front door with his/her shopping....).
    • CommentAuthorBluemoon
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2007 edited
    Communal parking areas ARE greener than garages, but you might change your opinion after your car is attacked by human vermin, as has happened to my daughter's Punto, which may be a write-off after the insurance assessor has inspected the damage to doors, locks and radio.
    • CommentAuthorken davis
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2007
    just to throw a spanner in the works......surely the only real justification for an integral is to be able to use the vehicle engine as a combined heat and power plant over night to charge up the energy storage of the house. what a shame that no car manufacturer has seen that potential yet.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2007
    Sounds desperately inefficient to me, Ken. Not to mention noisy and dangerous!
    I have an integral garage and I'd like to improve it's insulation. Some walls adjoin the house and some are external. I was thinking of adding sheets of insulation to the internal wall. Then I realised this could cause the interior to freeze in winter, so I'd prefer to insulate the external wall. I'd welcome suggesions on how best to do this, materials to use, snags to avoid.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2007
    What do you propose to do to the door(s)?

    If nothing then there is little point in insulating the external wall.
    The doors are timber. I was thinking of lining them, and the external walls, with Celotex or something similar. The ceiling is already insulated. Insulation is normally approved for use in cavities and loft spaces, not garages, and so I was wondering if there could be problems using it that way. Dampness, fire regulations, anything like that.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2007
    Fire regulations should be a problem but I have seen it fixed to the ceiling of an enclosed semi underground car park below offices in my town.
    A book I had a while back on solar houses in northeren climates reffered to some research that supported the use of unheated space (porches, american style internal garages, even storerooms) to act a buffer between the heated space and the exterior, but they had to be insulated as well as being thermally isolated from the living space.

    had to do with heat loss being proprtional to temperature difference on either side of a wall, and it reccomended planning these on the northern aspect of the house where there was minimal solar gain
    I think I'd insulate the internal walls and let the garage freeze. As long as you lag all the water pipes in there, if any, why is this a problem?
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