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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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    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2007 edited
    Pingy, can you post a photo - open a www.photobucket.com account.
    (Keith, hyperlinking doesn't seem to be working)
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2007
    Brick is the most difficult to mimic
    • CommentAuthorPingy
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2007
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2007
    Doesn't work Pingy - I think you have to use the plain URL link, 2nd one down on Photobucket.
    • CommentAuthorPingy
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2007
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2007
    Thx Tom impressive. and impressive photos Pingy.

    I would do external insulation on that unhesitatingly. Probably lime rendered with brick arches from brick slips over the windows and quoins here and there to match ?

    You must be mad though. but then I am a heathen.
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2007 edited
    Oo, nice brickwork. But the Planners' hope to 'preserve its appearance' - not a chance - why do they keep trying for that, when it never works out that way with barn conversions? The brickwork is only a small part of its present seductive charm - its serene unfenced isolation, the calm that accompanies abandoned old age, the few openings and the simplicity of uninterrupted brickwork - all that's going to change! Even if all the brickwork alterations for new doors, windows etc are done with care that's rare - re-used extg bricks, carefully matched lime mortar - it still won't be the same brickwork, especially if repointed all over.

    But after all that, it's incredible how you can virtually demolish a building, and rebuild it with alterations and additions and different appearance - and it still seems to be the same building! The locals say 'seen what they've done to that old barn?' - not 'seen that new house where the old barn used to be?'

    Play the Sustainability card - Planners have a new duty to have regard to/for Sustainability - but they don't know what that means they're supposed to do - so tell 'em - to convert the extg building stock to seriously low energy/low added carbon, radical new criteria are inevitable. Design quality will still determine success or failure of the result, just as now.

    Are you planning to extend? If so, do it on the SE/SW faces and make the extension a solar collector, somehow independent, different, and glassy so it's clear that the old brick building is still there almost untouched by the new. Then at least the brickwork that becomes internal doesn't have to be insulated, but becomes a massive heat store. The other, northish walls - tell the Planners it's vital that their thermal massiveness is exposed to the interior, and that they're highly insulated, above all not as an insulated lining.

    So, what should the external finish be? For me, not just an alternative but inferior masonry-look finish like render, and as for brick-slip decoration................! How about featheredge boarding - delicate homegrown cedar, or chunkier homegrown larch - carefully detailed so e.g. windows fit perfectly and consistently with the boards' spacing. That way, you're somehow acknowledging that there's an old brick building still there, just wearing a raincoat, and it's no longer so brutal to bash new windows into it. Extend the eaves and verge by one slate course, same eave/purlin detail.
    • CommentAuthorPingy
    • CommentTimeAug 8th 2007
    Thanks for your constructive comments Tom and Tony. Tony I've known for a long time that I'm not "normal" but as to whether I'm mad, well we'll see!

    It's interesting that both of you are recommending external insulation. What type of insulation would you suggest?

    With regard to the Planners I have already used the Sustainability card to justify the extensions I proposed. This was mostly on the grounds of insufficient space within the existing building if high levels of natural insulation were to be used (internally). The extensions are the complete opposite to what you suggest Tom. We looked at glass corridors / solar collectors but needed extensions to accomodate a larder/utility, thermal heat store and log boiler. The most logical place was on the north side as a lean-to extension for the larder/utility and thermal heat store, with a gabled extension for the log boiler and an entrance. By doing this we are able to have 2/3rds of the existing north wall as thermal mass. The same applies to the east wall: a lean-to extension to create an access corridor for the bedrooms so 2/3rds of the existing east wall can also be thermal mass. We also got permission to take down the structurally unsound gabled south end wall (that contains a window) and re-build it 2.5m further south to be able to achieve a bedroom large enough for a double bed.

    So you're right Tom, it is incredible how you can virtually demolish a building and rebuild it with alterations and additions so the council can say yes they've managed to preserve a historical building by allowing it to be converted to a dwelling!

    As to whether I could convince the planners to go even further and allow me to cover up what's left of the remaining building is something I'm not sure I could face. The locals have already made our lives difficult to get to where we are now. We'd probably start getting the hate mail and slashed tyres if we went that far! Having said that I have been to the Parish Council Meetings to explain what we're trying to do (from a sustainability point of view) and did get some interest. So maybe my campaign to educate the locals needs to be stepped up a bit!
    Hi Pingy,
    I like external insulation too, preferably with a sectional cladding of some kind. I don't like it rendered.

    You may be able to use the relaxations in Part L which basically mean that you can avoid internal insulation if technically or spacially infeasible. As you must still upgrade the thermal elements anyway, the only option for the walls then becomes external insulation
    • CommentAuthorsteveleigh
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2007
    I agree with external insulation but using sectional cladding will allow air to pass through the insulation which will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the insulation. Exterior insulation is far more efficient in a sealed compartment with an MVHR installed in the building. Any types of cladding can then be applied on top of the sealed compartment for purely aesthetic reasons. Using highly efficient petro-chemical derived insulation more efficiently conserves resources. A sealed compartment can save up to 70% of the insulation thickness. This is a massive saving.

    Sectional cladding normally results in a substantial thermal bridging problem. Another dramatic reduction in efficiency. Therefore, this can reduce the effectiveness of insulation by approx 20%.

    My conclusion is with wind blowing through the cladding and massive thermal bridging could result in approx 90% reduction in the effectiveness of the external insulation.
    Steve, You make some valid points and I agree that external insulation used in this way is not perfect. Ventilation losses however can be controlled by an impervious membrane on the warm side. The PUR [if chosen] can then be taped to mitigate the effects of external air circulation. Thermal bridging is a problem, but the current alternative is to use render, which I do not like because of the risk of disproportionate thermal expansion and also impact damage. I am not yet convinced about external membranes
    • CommentAuthorPingy
    • CommentTimeAug 10th 2007
    Excuse my ignorance but could Mike and Steve explain exactly what you mean by 'sectional cladding' and 'exterior insulation in a sealed compartment'? What thickness are we talking (insulation and aesthetic cladding)? Materials?

    Do you think I'd stand a chance with the planners? The building sits in an isolated position in open countryside on a slight elevation. It is very visible from the road due to its elevation.

    It's elevated position does mean wind is an issue so it is important to prevent as much air infiltration as possible.
    Pingy, I meant any form of cladding which can be fixed in sections, rather than render, which is monolithic. Planks, t&g slates , clay tiles, anything rteally which can expand and contract without causing damage. There are systems which can mimic brickwork EZ wall is one, though I have not used it.

    As you must insulate under Part L1B, you may be able to argue with the planners that the only insulation option is external if you can demonstrate that internal insulation is technically, spatially or financially prohibitive. Do you have the Green Building Bible? page 152 expalins in more detail.
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