Emitters tend to be of two types – traditional radiators and underfloor heating. It’s a bit of a toss-up as to which is better. They have their respective advantages and drawbacks.
a pleasanter heat because it is better distributed no wall space taken up by radiators possibly more efficient because of lower [...]
It is reckoned that in the UK, heating houses accounts for nearly 50% of the total energy use. Poor heating can render parts of dwellings virtually unusable, partly through discomfort due to cold and drafts and partly through the damage caused to contents through condensation, dampness, mould growth, etc. effectively reducing the house size [...]
Existing houses present a much greater challenge than new ones in terms of energy saving. However in terms of reusing building materials they often provide better opportunities.
Patrick and Fiona run a very pleasant bed and breakfast near Nelson, Caerphilly and their house has been the subject of much renovation and extension over the [...]
Jim and Jo Monahan are nearing completion of their passive solar house in Spinningdale, Sutherland. This is a timber frame house which utilizes roundwood for many of the structural members. This is a way of using timber at its maximum strength because it is not cut across the grain. The timber framing [...]
This low energy house is set on a hill overlooking the sea near Stonehaven. Its clean and simple lines echo the vernacular of the area although it is essentially a very modern building based on passive solar construction. The walls are double skin aerated concrete block with 300mm of insulation, achieving [...]
Locally grown timber
Situated in the Scottish Highlands, this nearly completed timber house is composed of three hexagonal areas plus a sun room which extends segmentally out of one of the hexagon sides. The framework is of local Douglas fir and the rain screenthis is a (usually thin) outer cladding on [...]
High thermal massthis is about how much heat something can absorb - so it involves its specific heat capacity and its volume. It can be useful for levelling out the peaks and troughs of temperature within a house. See the page on
thermal mass is generally seen as a useful quality in a building because it can be utilised to trap and save any spare heat which might turn up.
It can also do the reverse equivalent for coolth during hot weather. This quality is utilised in passive solar design, including the PassivhausSee [...]
Heat pumps (both ‘ground source’ and ‘air source’) are being heavily sold at present. GSHPs work a bit like fridges and freezers by shifting heat from one place to another. With houses they extract heat from the ground which tends to have a constant temperature of about 10°C, increase its temperature a bit (to [...]
Depending on which type of central heating system you have chosen there are several factors which can influence how ‘green’ the plumbing is
Is the circuitry as compact as possible? Is the circuitry zoned where necessary? Is the pipework sized properly? Is the pipework well insulated? Will the materials be reusable or recyclable [...]