Friday, 4 March 2016

Devon low energy house

A previous Touchwood customer (Colin) wrote to us today saying how amazing the performance of his Touchwood house has been over the winter months with regard to minimal heat demand:

"Still regarded by locals as "the best house in the village" and we remain absolutely delighted with everything. Dropped to -5 at night last week but never below 20 inside.  No woodburner lit (only twice for an hour each time) over two winters and no heating apart from one "timed" bathroom floor and similarly, a towel rail.  In duct heater has never come on!!"

With a high quality finish to the house, and extensive groundworks externally (garden walls and the like) the self build cost was £1480/m2. This for a house that now has very very low heating costs. If you're going to build a house, do it properly and build one that doesn't require endless fossil fuels (and so high running costs) to heat. Even if you're building the house to sell, low heating builds will be a marketable asset, and morally it's just plain wrong to build new houses with needless fossil fuel heating demands - when it isn't particularly more expensive to build an air tight and super insulated Touchwood House -  just a different approach.

Why doesn't the government force volume house builders to build this way via building regulations? Probably because the volume builders have such powerful lobby powers they dictate government policy (and they don't want to change from their current build methods). No doubt locking us into expensive fossil fuel heating means we always have to buy fuel - good for the fossil fuel companies short term - disastrous long term (global warming/energy security). The only option is to self build houses to the passivhaus standard, showing it can be done affordably - embarrass the government to get the volume builders to do the same!