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Author Topic: Newbie - Our Project - Initial Idea  (Read 1256 times)
kristen
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2018, 06:19:18 AM »

I also wonder how much depends on ones' assessment of 'comfortable heat'. We currently aim for c.16-18 degrees in the house

We used to be down at that temperature, put on extra layers, move from a warmer room with fire to much colder areas of house; people hated visiting us in winter  Shocked. With hindsight that was "normal" but not what I would call "comfortable".  Dunno what age you are, and if this is your "forever home", but if so then comfort in old age, and also cost-of-running on pension might be considerations. We deliberately invested capital in exchange for low running costs in order to maintain lifestyle into retirement.

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I get Passivhaus if you're starting from scratch, but is the investment vs benefit curve exponential for an older house such as ours?

Its really hard to do as retrofit, and why we built extension, rather than fix the existing - that was too hard (for a number of reasons including concrete floors throughout which would have had to be taken up, insulated, and put back, and almost certainly have 60's asbestos pipe insulation in there). There is a standard called "EnerPHit" which is intended when upgrading an existing building.

The "problem", as such, with Passive House is that it is all-or-bust. Any cold-bridge or air-leakage makes a huge difference, so you basically have too get rid of all of them. "No external vent for cooker extractor" == "lots to tackle" ... that's a hard thing for an existing build (can be a hard thing for a new build too, if the builders are Bodger, Liar and Fixit!)

The easiest is "wrap", and to my mind that is better as it keeps the thermal mass within the insulation. That won't work if you love your brickwork (and having enough external pipework to restock B&Q Grin what the heck is all that about? Bends, guttering along the face, drains not in line with downpipes, bolt-on-boxes, cables on roof no longer connected to aerials ... the building is lucky to have you now giving it some love Smiley )

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is that an invitation for us to move in to get the first hand experience?

Happy you stay until convinced.  Confident that won't involve overnight  angel

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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?

Nope, definitely not. We night-vent to shed heat in hot weather. House climbs a degree or so during the day, and we have to shed that by tomorrow - and it sure as heck aint going to be lost through the mega-insulated walls! But I wouldn't open the windows during a hot summer's day (to let some nice fresh air in ...) because that would let the heat in. Similarly I don't open the windows "to air the room" in Winter.  There is simply no need, and I would resent the heat needed to warm the room back up again. But on except for mid-winter and heatwave, yeah we open stuff "at will".

We have friends with a big passive house, he's a farmer ... he would have the windows open all the time (excepting the heat/cooling issue), she says "but that lets the flies in and the house has plenty of air anyway". You might find habits change ...

But once you have PV, and "free summer electricity", coming back to "comfort" I think using UFH and reverse HeatPump in Summer for cooling would be worthwhile - if insulation levels mean that "cooling effort" is not huge.
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todthedog
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2018, 06:57:47 AM »

Hello Rog and welcome.
Fully believe in the insulate mantra, we had an old french farmhouse, spent several months carefully lime pointing the exposed stone walls both inside and out. Then spent a few years appreciating the look and freezing. At last got approval to insulate (it took the threat of moving) the house became warm and snug. Mrs T then mentioned why it had taken so long!
We had pv a turbine and ST. The latter gave us hot water for 9 months of the year I would combine this with a heatpump.
Great project and look forward to your voyage remember we love pictures.
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kristen
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2018, 07:03:46 AM »

.., spent several months carefully lime pointing the exposed stone walls both inside and out ... got approval to insulate

How did you reconcile "Nice Brickwork" with "Cover with insulation"?
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todthedog
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2018, 07:11:26 AM »

Didn't, I drylined everywhere stud and track 100mm of rockwool plasterboard white paint. Strangely MrsT liked the new walls thought it made everywhere so much brighter. A big surprise to me as well! hysteria I should add no celotex available in France at that time

Kristen,Do you have any thoughts on external wrapping?
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billi
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« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2018, 07:50:27 AM »

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Cottage built in c.1850, "brick and a half" construction

So are the walls then about only  6-7" wide ?  is the brick  inside exposed  too , is there a cavity in between  ?
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2018, 07:53:33 AM »

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
 

16 - 18 degrees Rog  Shocked been there, done that, coffee goes cold as soon as you put it in the cup, food cold before you eat it, shivering after a shower, feck that  Grin But each to his own I guess, wish I could tolerate the cold but I can't and I guess I'll only get worse as I get older. However, this is about your house and if you are comfortable at lower temperatures that's fine.

As for windows we only ever open them when the boodly fire, smoke or CO alarms go off  hysteria I spend most of my life outdoors in the sounds of nature so I'm quite happy indoors looking at it without the sound effects  Grin

Yep, you can visit anytime, we're not hard to find and if you've made the effort to get here you deserve 'tea and biscuits'  Grin

Good luck, Paul
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kristen
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2018, 08:42:12 AM »

16 - 18 degrees Rog  Shocked been there, done that, coffee goes cold as soon as you put it in the cup, food cold before you eat it, shivering after a shower, feck that

Snap. And you are SO right Smiley

Do you have any thoughts on external wrapping?

Yes: it was more expensive than I was prepared to pay Sad

Our house is rendered, which I don't like - "maintenance" cost/upheaval to paint every few years. So I would consider a brick skin an improvement

Take render off (if any). Insulate. Render-the-insulation (or in my case "add a brick skin")

Move all the windows out (so that the insulation-layer is continuous).  More hassle/cost ... but probably replacing the windows anyway to get to Triple-Glazed, if so then maybe no-hassle.

No cold bridging - but presumably all the original lintels are now inside the insulation, so that's taken care of that. If need lintels over new windows then they have to be separate from the internal ones.  We have glass-ties between our inner-and-outer brick courses (on the new passive house bit), and no lintels [nor anything else] that reach through from outside-to-inside

Figure out how to join the new external insulation to the loft insulation.  Roof off? <sigh-£££> But if having to do the roof anyway that's probably no issue. And it presents an opportunity to increase the overhangs - that's a key Passive House objective - keep sun off the window-glass when it is high in Summer, but let it in when low in winter. We have a parapet and "walk" around instead of a gutter, Raising that to accommodate insulation would mean the slates would be below the gutter! so we'd have to raise the whole roof (or tackle it somehow differently). Pretty sure the O/P said "roof is new" so "roof off" probably not-going-to-happen.

Then there is the issue of figuring out how to insulate the ground floor. I've always wondered why that is a big deal as I can't get my head around where that heat is going, and "how fast", as its warm down there at some point ...  Assuming the new external insulation goes down far enough, then the heat is not going to go down through the floor and then escape out sideways. But experts tell me that's wrong, so I just put up with the fact that it doesn't compute inside MY head.

So get all the ground floors UP, insulate, fit UFH, and replace the floor final-finish. Alternatively insulation over the top of the existing floor, UFH on top of that, and cut several inches? off the bottom of all the doors - and stoop when you go into every room, even if you are five-foot-nothing Sad In a house with high ceilings that might work, but for me: we have lovely doors, beautifully proportioned, and I'm not cutting anything off them! Could lift the lintels and keep the door height ... but I would sacrifice some ceiling-height. More £££

"Lift the lintels" has a potential extra benefit. MVHR needs [return] air-flow room-to-room. You can bang a hole in the wall of course, but (in our new bit) we just put a gap between lintel and top-of-door - the architrave hides it, so you have to know-it-is-there and stand well back in order to see it.

Brings a 1st-world-problem though, in that the "gap" (whatever hole you create for air-flow) transmits noise Sad

If instead you insulate internally you lose some room space, you can box in each room each time you redecorate Smiley - which is great for piecemeal retro-fit. But you have no thermal mass, so you need  a fast-heat solution (I think?) and UFH (buried in concrete type) is presumably not an option. If the room heats massively in Summer (South facing window) you have no thermal-mass to combat that ... my house will gain barely a degree a day in a heat wave, so until it's gone on for a week or more I haven't really got to do anything. External shutters on South facing windows might be a solution.

In Passive House the enemy becomes East and West. Summer Sun is low, and powerful, Morning and Evening.  We have deciduous Pleach on the East side, so that allows Sun in during the winter, and not in Summer. But we have no protection (and no opportunity) on West. Never thought of shutters, at the time, but I might consider a retro fit.

What about Toys? - CAT5, Home Automation, Whole House Vacuum ... and all the "I wish I had done this" and "I'm really glad I did that" list?

I reckon we ought to have a thread for that ... there must be a wealth of collective information amongst the incumbents?  I've got a huge soapbox on that one (which will come as no surprise to you lot I assume?!!)
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rogthedodge
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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2018, 09:48:44 AM »

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Cottage built in c.1850, "brick and a half" construction

So are the walls then about only  6-7" wide ?  is the brick  inside exposed  too , is there a cavity in between  ?
The wall thicknesses vary around the house. "Brick and a half" locally seems to indicate wall is c.9 in think. In other places they are 15 in thick. Brick inside has varying degrees of plaster  / boarding etc.

There is a cavity on some elevations and not on others. Previous owner had allowed a very large creeper to escape all over one elevation which had bridged any DPC etc

Our previous house was a modern (2007) detached place and we set temperate at c.18 degrees which even Mrs N found perfectly comfortable. I suffer from eczema, so I would prefer to be on the cool-side rather than baking. I do get Paul's comment ref our temperature tolerances may change as we age. Undecided

I've wondered about a turbine as our "very long, thin" back garden has the room, but I'm not convinced a) we're positioned well (in the lee of hills to our west) and b) the council will not take kindly to it being close to The Hall.

As we are waiting for our builder to recover from an operation, we have time to evaluate options more fully. As noted above we live in Derbyshire and would be grateful if we could come and visit anyone within c.2hrs travel, who has faced similar challenges. Happy to buy tea/ coffee / beer / wine as appropriate Grin. Please PM accordingly.

...and thanks once again for all the ideas, comments
Rog


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Tinbum
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« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2018, 09:56:40 AM »


Take render off (if any). Insulate. Render-the-insulation (or in my case "add a brick skin")


Is there a reason for removing the old render unless it is already falling off? Just wondering as I'm going to wrap my rendered house.

An old pub down the road from be has just been rendered with a brick effect. It looks quite good but I think they missed a big trick by not insulating first.  Huh
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« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2018, 10:42:03 AM »

ok , so the windows are attached to the outer brick side , and there may be some cavety , maybe ??  I guess that can be filled ?  and inside plastered with an insulating plaster like hempcrete or clay straw plaster  with a wall heating idea  , just thinking ....

still , i dont getit , what part of the house you  will be in and what space you have on the garden side , but  seems you have some roof area for PV  and maybe a facade for a  trombe wall ?  ( kind of a transparente glas panel  infront of the brick  to heat it up and transfer warmth into the house

Just thinking loud

Billi

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« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2018, 11:19:48 AM »

Rog,

Unless you have a suitable elevation and are able to erect the turbine well clear of any immediate obstructions i.e. the house then it is simply a non-starter. You'd also need to consider the noise it makes..........

My view is that you need to retain the outer aspect of the property as I presume on of the reasons for buying was the aesthetic? Insulation therefore needs to be internal.

I assume some of the walls will be solid so you will need to allow some ventilation on the inner walls so simplistically I think you are looking at internally framing although you should be able to mount the insulation board directly to the inner wall where you have cavities unless the cavities are full of cr*p and you have damp bridging going on.

Regards

Richard
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kristen
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« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2018, 11:32:09 AM »

Is there a reason for removing the old render unless it is already falling off?
I don't know that, so was just my assumption.  Existing render adds some insulation and air tightness presumably.  Adds to overall thickness if left behind, but probably not consequential. Dunno if some risk in future if left behind - e.g. if it got damp, somehow?
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kristen
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2018, 11:33:59 AM »

inside plastered with an insulating plaster like hempcrete or clay straw plaster

Ignorant question: does that provide significant insulation? (My cavity is 12" of "fluff" insulation; the window reveals are "quite deep" Smiley )
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kristen
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2018, 11:35:09 AM »

In case helpful, and O/P not aware of it:

Aerogel is (I think?) the thinnest insulation available (in terms of U-Value vs. thickness).  Not cheap, and not particularly nice to work with.  We used it for some "tricky spots"
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billi
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« Reply #29 on: December 07, 2018, 02:56:11 PM »

 Kristen ,  iam not an expert , when it comes to cavities  builtings ,  i just   know  from some newbuilts and  if i look at  rog s pics  , that i  allways am puzzled,  when the windows are attached to the "outershell"  and thinking , what happens in the cavety then , heatwise ...

I was doing   the gardens for  a development  in Ireland  with about 50 houses   and  to be fair quite good  high standards  

But  in d´general,  i am more a friend of external insulation ( which i cant suggest here )  for obvious reasons  (hence  the idea of a glass facade  as a heat insulating idea )

so those 50 houses had kingspan insulated plasterboard inside  fixed to a  concrete block cavety wall  , but the windows where placed on the outershell   , i thought thats wrong, if the cavety is not well insulated too

But  ....

« Last Edit: December 07, 2018, 03:05:31 PM by billi » Logged

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