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Timber frame kit house to Passivhaus standard

More than any other topic, the subject of self build timber frame kit houses attracts the most comments and requests for information on this web site. Particularly the Walter Segal system which has featured on Grand Designs a number of times has been seen as a possible way forward.

Until recently the difficulty with making such construction sufficiently airtight  has meant that no ready made solution was available. A relative newcomer is the company Passivhaus Homes with their timber kit houses. It looks like they are providing a design service and kit “to full Passivhaus standard (15kWh/m².a) or our PH30 ‘near Passivhaus’ specification to 30kWh/m².a.”

Timber frame construction is particularly suitable for incorporating high levels of insulation, especially if an external rain screen is used, rather than a masonry outer skin. This way you can have most of the depth of the wall  carrying insulation (say 300mm) without the whole wall becoming excessively thick. See the page on Insulation and wall thickness

The problems that can arise with kit houses are mainly about sealing the gaps between panels and framework, especially when there are complicated three or four way junctions. This is where a well designed kit has its benefits as all this is well thought through beforehand. The other big advantage is of course more certainty around costs.

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