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Author Topic: Newbie - Our Project - Initial Idea  (Read 1177 times)
rogthedodge
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« on: December 06, 2018, 12:55:14 PM »

Hello there - being familiar with Forum etiquette (albeit automotive centric), I apologise if this is in the wrong section.

Some key facts:-
Cottage built in c.1850, "brick and a half" construction
c.93m2 across both floors
Unoccupied for last 2 years
Mains electric and water only - no gas anywhere near
Oil fired heating and water
Orientation - north-east / south west
Long, thin garden to south west elevation (max width 15 metres, length c.100metres)
Neighbour to the east is C18th Grade II listed hall
Cottage walls to east and south are only accessible from above Hall gardens

We're planning on completely renovating
Just my wife and I as occupants with regular visits from family and friends
Adding c.30m2 extension to ground floor only (on north and west elevations, away from the Hall)
We understand that we need some thermal value calcs to start the process
Architect is finalising preferred plans currently
Oil fired system to be decommissioned
Replace with (and this is the bit I'm tying myself in knots with)....
...combination of ASHP (access costs for plant machinery to install GSHP could be prohibitive), solar PV, PV thermal.
I'd like to store excess electricity using Sunamp / Powerwall -or equivalent (we have a petrol hybrid car)
Underfloor heating
Rainwater harvesting

At this early stage, I'd welcome thoughts from those with far more experience, particularly around the heat / power source combinations

...lights blue touch paper and stands well back  Grin

Cheers
Rog

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JohnS
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2018, 01:07:37 PM »

Welcome,

I presume that you have read some of the similar topics on this forum for ideas.  If not, do so now  Wink  Wink

You will soon realise that the first and best solution is insulation.  And the second is more insulation.  And then, thirdly, even more insulation.

Having substantially reduced your heating needs, you are then in a position to consider how to meet them.
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brackwell
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2018, 01:50:41 PM »

Welcome,

Is it practicable to fit underfloor heating to such an old property ? Have you got suspended wood floors or would you have to dig down? Have you got any real foundations even? I would want to hear from any body who has done that.

Dont be too quick to dismiss the oil boiler as PV,Thermal or ASHP just do not cut the mustard in winter just when you need it most.

Which part of the country are you?

It will take ages to dry the stucture out and this must be done before decorating and insulating.

Have you got a intact damp course ?

Ken
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kristen
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2018, 02:49:19 PM »

Yeah, insulation first, middle and last. Forget Building Regs, that requirement has doubled every decade for the past 50 years ... you only want to do this once, so do it right, not redo-every-10-years.

Each Doubling of insulation reduces heat requirement by 10% I think, so law of diminishing returns of course ... but cost of heating is going up by circa 10% p.a., so worth being bold when raiding that piggy-bank.

After insulation then air tightness. If you can get it tight enough then you'll need ducted air (MVHR "Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery"), which will recover heat from the exhaust air)

For a single skinned building I'd be really wanting to wrap it, externally.  That sort of retro-fit is a nightmare though ...

Your extension may have a South facing aspect? which might be a prime candidate for some passive heating.

When we built an extension the architect had some fancy roof shapes. The passive-house consultant's calculations showed them to be a massive (I kid you not) heat loss, not to mention the cost for constructing Hips etc., so my simple take has been "no complicated shapes".

Also "No roof glass". We wanted to do that because wife and I (wrongly) thought the new bit would not have enough light. Passive House guy CALCs showed how awful that would have been - massive overheating in summer, and falling-cold-air in winter causing draughts - both of which would make us uncomfortable ... which would lead to "feel cold, turn up thermostat"

I think UFH best if you can insulate well, particularly if floor is a significant thermal mass. We put water through our floor only a few degrees above ambient, but pumped for many hours. The amount of heat we need is tiny ... but the floor will radiate heat for ages, so if the house was not well insulated we would need heating with a much quicker response time.

If UFH does work out, and you go the ASHP route, and you are air tight, then you can use reversible ASHP to put cold water through the floor during Heatwave - instead of opening windows, letting in the hot air (during the day) or the files (at night)

I have Biomass boiler, Solar Thermal and PV.  The Solar Thermal has need plumber-tinkering - air gets in - such that I can't actually say it has been "eco cost effective" overall. I'm not alone in having that problem, but others have never had any problem. Personally I think PV + ASHP is a better route. If you need more hot water you can run ASHP from Grid, and if you have enough hot water, in Summer, you can use the PV for something else, or export it. If you have Solar Thermal you have to do something with excess heat,a nd you still need a backup for when "not enough".

I would only do ASHP with UFH. Personally I don't think heat-pump up to 60C+ makes sense
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kristen
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2018, 02:52:27 PM »

P.S. I recommend The Passive House Handbook. Laid out to be an easy read for both Layperson and Technician. Explains what the benefits of getting to that ultimate goal are, and you would then be well informed to either do that, or what compromises you are making if not.

https://www.greenbooks.co.uk/the-passivhaus-handbook
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linesrg
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2018, 03:34:38 PM »

Rog,

Just to keep hammering the issue, focus on insulation and draught proofing/ airtightness. We live in a 1859 stone farmhouse so I am familiar with some of the issues you'll have.

We are installing UFH downstairs room by room.

We started off with oil heating via a Stanley range, moved to a condensing LPG boiler and are now on a GSHP. If you can get a JCB on site you should manage to get a 360o excavator in? I guess a JCB with a 1mtr bucket could dig trenches for a GSHP?

The last room we did we put in 120mm of rigid insulation under the UFH pipework. The walls were framed with 75 x 50mm battening in which we stuffed 75mm of rigid insulation and overlaid it with another 25mm prior to the plasterboard going up. The ceiling space we stuffed with 200mm of fibreglass for good measure. We also put a triple glazed window in.

There is still away to go yet but I see the water was circulating at 43oC out the other morning when it was -6oC outside, not bad considering it is meant to manage 41oC at -1oC.

I'm currently working on increasing the loft insulation from 200 to 300mm.

I am one person who has experienced issues with Solar ET so I would hesitate to recommend it whole heartedly.

Don't overrate how little energy you'll get from Solar PV in the winter months so don't overestimate the benefits of a battery storage system driven solely by solar input.

Regards

Richard
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billi
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 04:12:34 PM »

hi rog , maybe we know each other ...

 anyway,  maybe its a good idea to post a photo of your new home ,  it might help to visiualize the situation

do you have garden ? land area ?


I might get shot now ,  but i disagree with the insulating religion , not in principle , but it depends  ...

because who needs tribble glased windows and 6 " insulation in summer ?

surely same ocours for PV  more PV and more PV , but that more still is usefull all year round  , while the insulation is just standing idle

all  am saying is to find a balance of investment and return , not only money wise , if the  house is old and attractive , i would think twice how to  address the energy footprint

Billi
« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 04:23:03 PM by billi » Logged

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kristen
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2018, 04:34:46 PM »

I might get shot now ,  but i disagree with the insulating religion , not in principle , but it depends  ...

because who needs tribble glased windows and 6 " insulation in summer ?

Inside my house was 25C at the peak of Summer heatwave - and over 35C outside. No cooling/aircon involved.

But, yup, I agree about PV, PV , PV too ...

I have an expectation that the budget is not unlimited, sadly ... and personally I would do extra insulation before extra PV. 

Extra insulation gets you more comfort, along with less heating (cost). I was hell-bent on aiming for Zero Energy when we built our passive House extension. I now think that good comfort, and minimal energy, is a better objective. We have UFH in Passive House part, because we already had a boiler ... but we have no heat upstairs (OK it doesn't fall much before 18-19C, but that's still cold enough to rouse me earlier, and feeling colder, in the morning than "comfort" would dictate). I would also add reversible-heatpump for summer cooling under my "comfort" heading.

My view is that PV can be added later, and expanded piecemeal - to remove any feeling of Guilt from being comfortable Smiley but the insulation infrastructure has to be right-first-time, or there is going to be a lot of expense, and disruption, doing "more later"
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rogthedodge
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2018, 05:58:47 PM »

Wow...thanks one and all. A couple of pics to set the scene




hopefully they show up!

The north-east elevation garden is c. 88m2  - the long thin garden to south west elevation is 370m2. 160m long. WE cannot get access to the rear garden (long, thin) with a JCB unless we go through a fence and across neighbouring farmland. I'm also aware of the upfront capital cost of GSHP.

I understand the comments ref insulation particularly from Richard and his Victorian farmhouse, but want to get the balance right. I have read much about Passivhaus, but I'm not convinced we want to live in a hermetically sealed box. I accept that there are trade offs between insulation and the size of the ASHP required, for example. I like Billi's quote of "good comfort and minimal energy".

The floors are mix of stone (original 1860 cottage) and suspended wooden floor to the rear (south-western) extension. We also live in a moderate radon area which according to the surveyor will need addressing. There is also a pantry with a floor below the level of the rest of the house.

We have 2x lofts - one with access, the other without. The loftspace with access requires improved insulation as it has been boarded and following a new roof being installed c.3-4 yrs ago, the spaces between the rafters have not been insulated...

And of course John - I will read some similar topic posts  Wink

oh yes and I've found evidence of our flying rodent friends......
thanks again
Rog
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billi
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2018, 06:20:49 PM »

 what a beauty .....   thinking time now , they are double glassed PVC windows ?n Last pic with the long brick wall is facing west ?

« Last Edit: December 06, 2018, 06:22:48 PM by billi » Logged

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kristen
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2018, 06:40:43 PM »

I have read much about Passivhaus, but I'm not convinced we want to live in a hermetically sealed box

I had a forum-chum visit a couple of weeks ago with his wife. Their architect had persuaded them that Passive House was like living in a plastic bag Smiley but I think fair to say that they minds were completely changed after visiting (I'm in Suffolk, you are welcome to visit if you are anywhere nearby, or travel this way at some point). My extension is passive house, the main house is "poured concrete", so more airtight than normal builds ... but a long way off Passive House; after upgrading it with cavity-fill, uPVC double glazing (in place of Crittall windows) and loft insulation we were then able to reduce the heat-input and that meant we then encouraged some damp, which we have successfully combated with MVHR retrofit. The visitors particularly liked being able to compare the old, not-so-hermetically-sealed, with the new properly-hermetically-sealed Smiley and figured that here is a rare opportunity for such a comparison.

Passive House air quality is superb - but best experience first hand. I can't remember how much air change there is, but reasonably sure its not far off equivalent of a draughty old building Smiley.  Being designed-in the air gets everywhere, so unlike a draughty old house there aren't pockets that have no air and get damp and moulds etc.  Since building (4 or 5 years) we haven't had a single winter cough / cold, whereas prior I used to take months to shake off a cough every winter.  That is normal apparently - a combination of good air quality, lack of any moulds and the even temperature (lock up and go away for 24 hours mid-winter and it will lose around 1C in 24 hours)
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biff
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« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2018, 07:04:44 PM »

Hello Rog and welcome to the forum,
                                All is good. I am sure you will find the ideas that will serve you well here.
       "Passive house is like living in a plastic bag"     hysteria hysteria hysteria. He sounds good gas and a genuine character.
   I am behind the times construction wise. There are all these new ideas like lime-crete floors all kinds of new ideas. There was one chap in Wales (Grand Designs) whose new house was the last word in new ideas. In the end he parted company with his architect because the local Builder could not follow the instructions, In fact some of these instructions were abandoned but not before the money started running out.
 It,s comfort and ease of of use that would tick the boxes for me. Insulation, insulate , insulate,,
                                                         Biff
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rogthedodge
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« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2018, 07:55:45 PM »

Yes Biff - long brick wall faces almost due west. This is the boundary with the GII listed place next door - t'Lord o' t'manor so to speak Smiley
The wall below the chimney is effectively in the Hall garden.

The windows are a complete notch pitch of crumbling wood and awful, cheap uPVC. Horrible (but large) conservatory just visible in pic2 will be going too...absorbed in to the ground floor extension.

Thankfully my builder friend and his architect have worked together for 30+ yrs and we've visited 5 of their collaborative projects so far, so we've already had three setting the scene type meetings etc - got a chap coming from a renewables company to meet with SWMBO and I, builder and architect next week.

looking forward to getting going in earnest - along with all the tribulations the project will no doubt bring  ballspin
Cheers
Rog
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camillitech
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« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2018, 10:54:01 PM »

I have read much about Passivhaus, but I'm not convinced we want to live in a hermetically sealed box

Don't knock it until you've experienced it. 20 degrees inside here come winter or summer for feck all heat input with fresh air and dry towels all year round  genuflect And we're no even PH just extremely well insulated, air tight and triple glazed with MVHR
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rogthedodge
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« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2018, 11:20:26 PM »

I also wonder how much depends on ones' assessment of 'comfortable heat'. We currently aim for c.16-18 degrees in the house. I get Passivhaus if you're starting from scratch, but is the investment vs benefit curve exponential for an older house such as ours?

Happy to not knock it until we've experienced it - so is that an invitation for us to move in to get the first hand experience?  Grin

Question ref 'air tight' and 'MVHR'? Do these principles exclude ever opening windows to let in fresh air (the house is in a rural hamlet) and to hear the sounds of nature? (serious question). Or am i oversimplifying the result of how you live day to day in 'air tight' / 'MVHR' ?

Cheers
Rog







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