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Space heating

see also Emitters (radiators etc.) Gas boilers Heating controls

It is reckoned that in the UK, housing is responsible for about 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. 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 […]

Lammas eco village

summer 2011

The Lammas self build project at Tir y Gafel, Glandwr, Pembrokeshire, is Wales’ first collective initiative based on what is now the (TAN)6 national planning guidance for sustainable rural communities. (One Planet Development).

Planning permissionthe legal basis for being allowed to do some form of development such as building a house. (not […]

Larch and Lime passivhauses

Larch house entrance

Although not self build, the two passivhauses at Ebbw Vale may be very relevant to many self builders. Built in 2010 as show houses mainly for the attention of housing associations, they are attractive and innovative while being relatively modest. The 3 bed Larch House is clad with a locally sourced […]

Retrofit

‘Under the Sun’, a Victorian terrace house in Birmingham is an outstanding example of bringing a fairly typical old building up to PassivhausSee more on the Passivhaus standard. The PassivHaus Institute has pioneered a standard for low energy buildings. It includes very low energy usage and ways of achieving this. The word is derived […]

Timber

January ’13

Advantages of timber

Constructing with FSCForest Stewardship Council (who accredit timber) see their database timber (or another accreditation organisation such as PEFCProgramme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification. See their web site) is potentially one of the greenest ways of building for several reasons.

Timber itself captures and locks up CO² as […]

Designing with timber

timber house in the Field of Dreams, Findhorn FoundationThe Findhorn Foundation is a large community near Inverness. There is a strong emphasis on sustainable building.

designing with timber

Are the British inherently nervous of timber buildings? Does this go back to the Great Fire of London? Is this still valid considering how many […]

A Pattern Language

Originally a remarkable book (and now on the web) which explains the psychology of architectural design and how to use a wealth of patterns to design satisfying spaces.

Each of the 253 patterns are illustrated, stated, explained in detail and then linked to other related patterns. This pattern – ‘LIGHT ON TWO SIDES OF […]

Design it yourself

see also A Pattern Language Almere, Netherlands Designing with timber Lighting Stair design Window design

The Ashley Vale development in Bristol shows a wealth of creative input by the residents

Click the image above for 3D panoramic view with drag and zoom

Self build, although demanding, can be very creative and great fun, especially […]

Architects

Although architects have been quite slow on learning about green design principles there has recently been a bit of a scramble to catch up and they all now claim to know about the subject. In fact most architects practices leave the technical work to architectural technicians they employ. It may pay to ask quite detailed […]

Energy Harvesting

There are several methods of harvesting energy for a house but non of them are as important as providing excellent levels of insulation, air tightnessA measure of how leaky a building is to air. In other words, how draughty it might be. There are now standard fan pressure tests to check how air tight […]

Green Design

Denby Dale passivhausSee more on the Passivhaus standard. The PassivHaus Institute has pioneered a standard for low energy buildings. It includes very low energy usage and ways of achieving this. The word is derived from the idea of buildings which are fundamentally low energy and passive solar heated rather than using extra gadgets to […]

Window design

There are many purposes a window can serve and several of these have important ecological considerations:

Letting light in Collecting solar heat Providing a view Acting as a door The visual character of a house

Windows may have associated drawbacks to consider:

They may let in too much light at certain times Too much […]