Friday, 20 May 2011

Jersey Project

The timber frame for our Jersey project is now complete, ready for the external racking board to be applied. The image shows the flat roof timber frame design for the modern looking home.
The timber frame for the house is mainly two storey, with an extra single storey section;

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Nuclear power

The interesting documentary on More4 last week showed some truths about nuclear power - see . It seems only Finland has decided to deal with it's nuclear waste - by building a huge underground bunker in rock to store it in - whilst the rest of the world still wonder what to do with their waste. This bunker has to last 100,000 years (the time taken for the waste to become safe). To gain some perspective, 100,000 years ago being when Homo Sapiens first appeared.

The engineers of Finland commenced building their bunker in the 1990s, and constuction will be finished in the 2100s - if it takes 100years to build the bunker, how much Co2 will be released during that build program? I think nuclear releases a lot of Co2 when viewed as a full lifecycle -incorporating the fossil fuel energy used to mine the fuel, build the plant, and despose of the fuel. Nuclear also does not work with renewable energy on the national grid - so is not so good an option for future energy production. This is because with the output from renewable sources (wind, hydro, PV) varying during the day a backup source is needed that can be increased when the renewable sources are low - gas powerstations can do this fine. Nuclear cannot, being only able to ouput a constant amount of power.

Renewable energy has a quite large (but falling) build cost, but has zero fuel cost once up and running, so financially examined over the generator lifetime, renewables are cost effective - how much cost to spend 100 years building a bunker strong enough to last 100,000 years?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Pinmill project

The pinmill project now has it's colour coat roof and velux roof lights in place, to provide a modern look to the building. We have worked with ABC roofing on many projects now, finding their roofing system to be a robust, cost effective and modern looking solution.
The image shows the view from the scaffold out to the Orwell Estuary

The Touchwood Homes project in Pinmill near Ipswich is coming along well, with the frame already up and the exterior clad in TG steico board to provide an airtight structural layer around the exterior. Touchwood supplied the triple glazed passivhaus standard windows, and the very large sliding doors. The North elevation shown has an upstairs triple glazed balcony door providing a panoramic view of the harbour, making this Ecohome a real joy to live in. Touchwood will be back to install the downstairs internal walls in May, then local trades will take over the project - external timber cladding, roofing, and first fix work inside.

Solar panel performance

Touchwood Homes' Post Office Cottage renovation project is performing superbly, with all hot water being supplied by the solar panel array since early April. During early April when the evenings were cold, the solar array even managed to charge the underfloor heating during the day to keep the house warm in the evening, whilst still providing hot water for household use. With heating and hot water provided by wood (logs) in the winter months cut from nearby trees, the house's heating and hot water demands are truly carbon neutral and cost nothing! with typical heating and hot water costs via fossil fuels / electric being around £800 per year this is a considerable cost saving!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Touchwood Homes

Households produce around 28% of UK CO2 emissions mainly through space heating, hot water provision and lighting. Here at Touchwood Homes we are passionate about reducing these emissions (and so running costs) in the home through improved quality in house design and construction methods. We hope to bring you both current industry news, and company information and build progress in the coming weeks. Visit our website for further information at