ECO HOUSE PRINCIPLES - ALWAYS
ECO HOME – LOW ENERGY or POWER POSITIVE ECO HOMES
ENERGY EFFICIENT DESIGN: PASSIVHAUS PRINCIPLE AND THE ‘FABRIC FIRST’ APPROACH
At Lindrick Eco Build we focus on fabric first principles for all of our projects. This is often referred to as ‘Passivhaus’ a principle for building energy-efficient homes. Our standard build principles are intended to dramatically reduce the energy usage of homes, by focussing carefully on the design and construction stages of the build process. Focussing on the fabric of the building at the design stage significantly lower the building’s energy usage.
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Eco Build Principals
During the design stage, we consider ways of radically reducing air leakage, getting rid of thermal bridges, increasing insulation levels, and making good use of glazing for solar gain. Throughout the build stages attention to detail and understanding what fabric first means, ensures that the build is completed without any costly mistakes.
It is also at this stage that we work with our EPC/SAP partner and consider the material choice and build method to help you achieve your desired goals. Where a budget does not allow for full adoption of fabric first we will assist to achieve the highest EPC rating, generally, a high B or low A, working on achieving an excellent airtightness level with as high a thermal value as possible to achieve your energy-efficient eco-home.
A balance between fabric first principles and energy-saving technology is often the outcome but the aim is normally to reduce the reliance on energy consumption, by concentrating firstly on getting the most out of the fabric of the building. The airtightness of your building is undoubtedly the most important step to achieving an energy-efficient.
AIRTIGHTNESS AND INSULATION
At Lindrick we offer a wide choice of build methods which are broadly based on your preferred choice, your budget, site conditions e.g. access or building regulations and sometimes the build method can be decided by your funder. Build methods generally include Timber Frame, Structural Insulated Panels, light gauge steel frame, and Insulated Concrete Formwork are some of the most efficient construction methods for ensuring a high level of airtightness in your new build. The slightly less efficient methods, such as Brick and Block, can have their airtightness levels boosted through the use of special tapes and membranes with particular consideration for thermal bridging in certain areas.
Regardless of the construction method you choose, Lindrick Eco build will provide a full design and build service utilising our own in house trades and project management and deliver a high degree of airtightness with super-high insulation. The more airtight your construction, the more warm air your home can retain; the more warm air your home can retain, the less energy your building will consume through heating. We choose a variety of insulation materials including wool, cork and or paper if required. The final choice will be project-specific.
Glazing is an important component to get right when attempting to achieve an energy-efficient build. Glass lets a high percentage of energy pass through (sunlight), trapping in the subsequent heat. Your eco build project can also benefit from the natural daylight that glass allows in – meaning more glass and less energy used for heating or lighting. Glass can also be a poor insulator; once its not receiving sunlight, heat energy is reduced quite quickly – so using double-glazing or triple-glazing will enhance the heat-retaining qualities of your build.
An energy-efficient design should include enough glass for your build to benefit from as much of the sun’s free heat and natural daylight as possible, but not so much glass that your home gets too warm in summer, and too cold in winter.
The best natural energy which is, of course, free of cost is the sun. This is called solar gain. To make the most of this principle, we will work with you to maximise this solar gain both in the summer and winter. The orientation of the glazing and thermal mass is a winning combination at the design stage.
Lindricks preferred glazing is triple glazed as regulation is a solar gain is a little easier, noise reduction is also reduced and a high degree thermal comfort is achieved (low u-value). High-performance argon or Crypton filled glazing units will give the best trade-off between cost and performance.
The capacity to store and regulate heat internally is known as the Thermal Mass. A high thermal mass means it will take a long time to heat up, and a long time to cool down. This results in a constant internal temperature. On the other hand, if a building has a low thermal mass, wide fluctuations in its internal heat are possible.
Many elements within the house contribute to its thermal mass – with the best heat-storing materials being those with more density, and therefore heat up slowly. In heating up slowly, they then distribute their heat gradually.
Materials such as brick, concrete and stone have a high thermal mass. Water also has a very high thermal capacity and is well suited to central heating systems. Air, however, has quite a low thermal capacity whilst it warms up quickly, it does not maintain its heat for long. Once walls and floors are warm, only then will air preserve its heat. Highly insulated walls and such items as underfloor heating within a high thermal mass material both help to provide a managed and comfortable environment.
Focusing on creating a high thermal mass is important in reaching a great energy efficiency rating. Consideration of which methods of construction you choose is also a major consideration at this stage. We will help you decide what works best for you or your given site conditions.
If you have the option to design and build from scratch( generally pre-planning approval) you should consider the orientation of the structure. The direction it faces can increase the efficiency of your glazing considerably. The orientation will determine how much sunlight your home receives, as the direction and height of the sun face approval) you should consider the orientation of the structure. The direction it If you have the option to design and build from scratch (generally pre-planning varies significantly throughout the year in every location.
Surfaces facing south receive sun all year round, as this is the dominant direction in which the sun faces back – particularly in winter. It is therefore recommended that any windows used for maximizing solar gain should face south – or as close to south as possible.
When designing your energy-efficient home, it is best to keep glazing to a minimum on north-facing sides of the building.
Running Your Eco Home
HEAT AND POWER
Once you have considered the build method of how to heat and power your home is important. There are a variety of systems which can be utilized effectively to maintain energy efficiency.
For example, your home could significantly benefit from the use of a solar panel electricity system. This Solar Photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells and surprisingly cells do not require direct sunlight to work. This means energy can still be generated on cloudy days. The electricity generated can be used to run everyday appliances and lighting.
Solar panels will also cut your electricity bills in the future. After paying for the installation, your home will be generating its own energy even if you use it. If you think about products such as the I boost (preheats water first then the rest of the house) selling your surplus electricity back to the grid too. For more information on Solar Panels, and the breakdown of costs and savings, visit the Energy Saving Trust site, here.
SOLAR THERMAL PANELS
Solar hot water systems (also known as Solar Thermal) are a renewable energy source that harnesses heat from sunlight by capturing energy which is radiated by the sun within solar panels or collectors.
This heat energy is then moved downpipes to the hot water cylinder within your home, reducing the need to use Gas, Oil or Electricity to heat the hot water you require; lowering energy bills as well as your carbon footprint. A typical well-sized solar water heating system can provide up to 60% of your annual hot water requirement leading to reduced energy bills. Often as part of Lindricks whole-house heating and energy criteria, a solar thermal system with twin coil cylinder is used to heat hot water in conjunction with our heat pump systems.
Solar thermal systems are also eligible for the renewable heat incentive.
ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS
Energy storage systems, generally battery storage is an ideal addition to eco-home build. The energy produced for free from the sun or available from multi-tariff energy suppliers such as OVO energy, where off-peak use of energy can cost half of that in the peak period, is stored for future use.
For the first time in the UK, it represents a leap in inverter and lithium-ion battery technology making household power storage a worthwhile investment.