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G – Sanitation, hot water safety and water efficiency

The Approved Documents Approved documents are detailed publications which come under the English Building RegulationsThese are the mass of regulations that cover safety, health, welfare, convenience, energy efficiency etc. in the way buildings are constructed. Not to be confused with Planning consent (which is more to do with whether you can put up the building […]

Domestic hot water

Traditionally, domestic hot water has simply been a choice between a combi boiler or a vented system (with the odd Point of Use water heater thrown in).

With water saving design, and zero carbonbit of a slippery fish. It tends to mean that a building uses no carbon (oil, coal, etc) to heat it (meaning […]

Emitters (radiators etc.)

Central heating

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.

Underfloor

a pleasanter heat because it is better distributed no wall space taken up by radiators possibly more efficient because of lower […]

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 […]

Patrick and Fiona’s house

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 […]

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 […]

Heat stores

In the UK there is plenty of heat energy to be harvested; it just doesn’t all come at the right time. Ideally you save all the surplus heat that comes along and then use it when there is a shortage.

Winter / summer balance

At one extreme is the interseasonal heat store such as was […]

Thermal Mass

Energy storage

High 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 more […]

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 […]

Solar Collector Plumbing

Existing buildings

Plumbing for solar collectors is normally carried out by specialist companies when they retrofit systems to existing buildings.

New buildings

The challenge with solar collectors is to do with working out pipe runs that go from the collector outside and through the roof to the inside space where there is a tank to […]