Thursday, 24 December 2015

By the power of Logs!

The owners of the Touchwood built Porters house (on the gallery page) have been keeping a record of how many logs they use to provide all the heating and hot water requirements for their home, please see the graph below:

the graph, which runs from summer 2014 to summer 2015, shows the solar panels provide all hot water during the summer periods, and some contribution during autumn / spring.  On cold winter days a 4 hour burn provides all hot water and heating for a 24hr period. In total they lit the fire 89 times during the graphed period, using 33 barrows of wood. This shows the point of building the passivhaus way - so little heat is needed that it can be delivered via a small log boiler, and Porters is a large house (290m2).

The small log stove with back boiler is an attractive centre piece for the lounge which since they source their own logs, provides free thermal energy. Logs boilers have other advantages too - they are near to carbon neutral - the carbon released when burnt was absorbed by the tree when growing, so no net change in atmospheric CO2 levels (bar that emitted during log processing). Also if you buy logs, you are supporting your local log processing / woodland management industries - surely better than paying for oil to be extracted from the ground to support the fossil fuel industry? One day it might even revive our ancient coppice woodland which when managed provides a superb habitat for insects and wild life.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Traditional Oak Home but super low energy!

We visited our Streatley project last week to install the MVHR machine and see how the build is going. The external and internal of the build is nearly complete and it looks stunning! The Oak integrates into the low energy structure very well to create the required look, and with the structure constructed from our usual super insulated and air tight I beam frame method the home is extremely warm. In fact when we visited there was no heating on but the home was warm throughout. 

Please take a look at some images we took on the day:

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

American Wind Energy

We're interested in wind energy at Touchwood, and see it as one of the ways (along with PV and tidal) we can wean ourselves of fossil fuels. This short video of American walkers expressing how they feel about the look of the turbines we found refreshing and optimistic - most people in the UK also approve of onshore wind, but the media seem to focus on the moaners!


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Banbury Low Energy Bungalow Nears Completion

Our works on the Banbury bungalow are now near completion - this super efficient timber frame building has traditional stone cladding so it fits into to the local area. We like this architectural approach - the house doesn't look like a low energy home but will perform exceptionally with minimal heating costs - contrasting to the traditional way a home of this look would have been built.

The home us built using our usual high performance timber structure:

* walls from 300mm I beams 
* rafters from 350mm I beams
* air tight board over entire external surface to create a simple, long term air tight solution
* cellulose fibre insulation blown into structure for excellent thermal, acoustic and thermal mass properties
* Norrsken triple glazed windows and doors
* Touchwood designed and installed PAUL MVHR system, with Lindab steel ductwork

Our duct work routes are all factory pre-cut in the frame, allowing us to use large bore rigid steel duct work - larger bore means lower air speeds for the same volume of air - so much quieter performance.

Our ducts are also in the joist zone, were they will be surrounded by cellulose insulation avoiding heat loss, and minimising noise creating a near silent system. MVHR is a critical component to an air tight home, cutting costs here by using flexible duct work or, not putting ducts in the insulated zone will impact the house performance 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Oak features now clear to see in our super low energy home with traditional features!

Our new concept where we incorporate Oak features into our super insulated low energy homes is coming along well, please see the image below of the interior after plasterboarding:

People often aspire to the traditional features of an Oak structured home but do not want the huge heating bills and air leaking envelope usually associated with Oak homes. They wish for a home built using our low energy principles - an air tight structure, MVHR ventilation, excellent U values and minimal cold bridging but with a traditional look.

Our passivhausOak concept meets this requirement perfectly - all Oak features are within the thermal envelope with no cold bridging through the exterior, so no sacrifice is made to the low energy principles by incorporating our pre-cut Oak trusses, beams and posts. A passivhaus building could have these Oak features incorporated - we look forward to creating a passivhaus certified project with exposed Oak in the future!