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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 Segalrefers to a simple self build timber frame form of construction pioneered by the architect Walter Segal. see details of the systemThe architect who devised a […]

Steel Farm Passivhaus, Northumberland

The following text and images were provided by the architect, Mark Siddall.

A reinterpretation of the traditional Northumberland farmstead. Materials and form are in harmony with the region. Windows are proportioned and positioned to act as the eyes to the world, playfully revealing views and vistas at critical moments. This nuanced design, constructed using […]

Timber frame

overview

‘Timber frame’ can have several meanings:

Platform frame where walls are assembled on site into storey[for the purposes of part B (fire) of the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations] this includes – (a) any gallery[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] – A raised area or platform around the […]

Insulation and wall thickness

See also – How much insulation?

With increasing levels of insulation, the total thickness of a wall becomes an issue in relation to land values, especially in densely built urban areas where space is restricted. The total footprint of the external walls of a house can easily be around 15 – 20% of the ground […]

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 […]

Main structure

see also Balconies Chimneys Insulation and wall thickness SIPs Steel frame Structural principles Structural Timber Timber frame Timber frame kit house to Passivhaus standard Walter Segal

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

Method of […]

Air tightness

‘Build tight – ventilate right’

Building Regulations

The subject of ventilation is fully incorporated into the 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 […]

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 […]

‘Under the Sun’, Birmingham

Bringing existing houses up to a high standard of energy efficiency is a much greater challenge than with new ones.

This particular example of self build eco renovation is outstanding because of the way it will achieve a net zero carbonbit of a slippery fish. It tends to mean that a building uses no […]

The Tree House

The Tree House in Clapham, London is a recently completed and very elegant example of a self build detached house. It has, on occasion, been open to the public as part of the London Open House programme. Situated on a small urban plot of land dominated by a large sycamore tree it has taken […]

Passivhaus at Denby Dale

the front of the house with double storey[for the purposes of part B (fire) of the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations] this includes – (a) any gallery[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] – A raised area or platform around the sides or at the back of a room which […]

SIPs

Structural insulated panels have been around for decades but have only recently achieved the interest they deserve. They are large factory made panels including walls floors and roofs and are fixed together on site. A lot of the kit houses in the UK are based on SIPs.

Several factors distinguish them from traditional building […]

Wall construction

see also Brick Cob Concrete blocks Hemp / Lime Insulating concrete forms Rammed Earth Solid timber Steel frame Stonework Straw Bale Ziegel blocks What’s the most eco-friendly wall?

Well there are several angles on that. Some of the most important aspects of walls are their insulation values, their air-tightnessA measure of how leaky […]

Chewton Mendip

A very interesting terrace of three houses, on a curved road junction, has recently been completed in this Somerset village.

Some of the main features of the design are:

Very high insulation levels provided by insulating concrete forms (ICF) with added exterior face insulation Structural insulated panel (SIP) roofs Eco-slab ground floors and upper […]

Ventilation

How you ventilate a house depends very much on the level of energy efficiency you are aiming for. At the lower end the 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 […]

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 […]