Paul Mallion will be contributing to SPAB’s (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) ‘Old House Eco’ courses in London on 22 June and in Bristol on 16 November. Paul will be presenting a case study of a Victorian terraced house.
Conker is delighted to announce that Tyland Farmhouse in Sandling, Maidstone was runner up in this years RICS Regional Awards in the ‘Building Conservation’ category for the South East, beaten to the Award by Windsor Castle!
Rescuing the dilapidated building was quite a challenge, Kent Wildlife Trust are delighted with the final building and pleased that their hard work has been recognised, along with Conker and the main contractor, S & T Fullers Ltd.
See project details.
By Roger Hunt and Marianne Suhr with Foreword by Kevin McCloud.
Recently published, Old House Eco Handbook is a practical guide to retrofitting for energy efficiency and sustainability and a companion volume to Old House Handbook.
Conker Conservation contributed to the section on sustainable insulation.
See attached Flyer
Planning consent has been obtained to refurbish a farm classroom building.
The refurbishment will provide a low energy, sustainable classroom which will enhance the rural science learning environment for pupils and staff alike. The design embodies a number of low energy strategies; shading has been incorporated to reduce solar gain in summer, whilst still allowing users to benefit from it in winter. High levels of thermal insulation and air tightness will ensure very low heat losses in winter with resultant low energy requirement and running costs. Natural daylighting will be maximised wherever possible to provide a pleasant internal environment and reduce reliance on artificial lighting.
Work is currently on site, with some unusual spectators.
Planning consent has been granted for a pair of Passivhauses in Camber, East Sussex.
The buildings will be super insulated, minimising heat losses and maximising passive solar gain and natural daylighting. The site is very challenging; orientation is opposite to what would be preferable for passive solar design, neighbour amenity issues and flood risk.
During last year’s weird weather, we had periods of heavy rain following drought. This caused extreme stressing of the sewage network, resulting in the overflow of vast quantities of raw sewage into the Channel, which made many of our most popular beaches unusable. None of us would like to swim in polluted water.
However, we seem to be less fussy about breathing polluted air. Research has shown that in many houses, schools and offices, we breath in a cocktail of chemicals which can be harmful to our health. These result from the activities in our buildings, the furniture, machinery, paints, and carpets.
Most houses are naturally ventilated, research shows that ventilation rates can vary hugely, depending on wind speed and weather conditions. 0.3 air changes an hour per person is recommended.
Below some remedies are reviewed.
1. Simplest Solution – Open the Windows
Opening windows can provide rapid purge ventilation to remove odours and humidity, nothing could be simpler.
Many replacement windows, especially PVC, do have trickle vents. These allow a small constant airflow needed for fresh air.
2. Reduce Pollution Sources
Think carefully about the chemicals you bring into your buildings. Cleaning agents and ‘air fresheners’ are usually harmful in concentrations, consider simple natural alternatives such as lemon juice, vinegar, or bicarbonate of soda. Remember that for every litre of chemicals under your sink, many more will have been created in production, much ending up as pollution.
3. Use Your Extract Fans
Most mechanical extract fans are noisy and annoying, but they serve a purpose. Replace defective units, clean them, this can reduce noise and electrical consumption. If they have filters, have you ever removed, cleaned or replaced them? Cooker hoods should be cleaned regularly.
Many of us sleep with the windows closed for security reasons, in which case we are often in one room with no ventilation for 8 hours. Trickle vents are of particular use, or put the windows on the night vent setting if PVC or aluminium.
Well ventilated and cooler bedrooms reduce the development of mould and dust mites.
5. Air Vents
During the winter air vents through walls/windows are often blocked up to reduce draughts, but these may be the only means of providing fresh air to a room. Avoid the temptation! It is possible to fit baffles to prevent wind blowing through, whilst still providing a flow of air.
6. Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR)
The most reliable method of ventilating a building is through a continuously running extract system, sometimes coupled to a continuous air supply. These have been shown to provide the best air quality, with CO₂ levels little different to the outside air. They maintain constant air supply regardless of the weather and wind conditions.
When correctly designed and installed they are quiet to operate, and cost only around £30 to £50 per year to power.
However, the filters need regular replacement or cleaning, just like in your car.
If you have a ventilation system, when did you last check the filters? According to industry figures, around 20,000 units are sold every year in the UK., but only around 3,000 filters! Time to check yours?
Paul Mallion is the first guest blogger on the House Planning Help website.
To read Paul’s blog follow this link.
The first residential passivhaus Conker ever worked on is a detached, traditional looking cottage in Chilham, near Canterbury. The design work started in 2005, when hardly any information was available in the UK. Our client embraced the principles of Passivhaus and started work in 2007. Progress continues at a steady pace.
Our client kindly opened his house to the AECB’s Pedalhaus Tour on 21 May 2011 to talk about his experiences. He had hoped to complete by Christmas 2012, but this has moved on to 2013. His chickens are keeping an eye on things and doing well!
Keep up the good work!
In reprisal for RAF raids on non-military targets in Germany, the Luftwaffe started to target cities of historic significance in the UK based on the ‘Baedeker’ travel guide books. Cities bombed included Exeter, Bath, Norwich, York and Canterbury. Stour Street was hit on 1st June 1942.
Thankfully our relations with Germany are now entirely PASSIV!
Subsidence, front and side elevations leaning, severe condensation, plastic cladding, 30mm wide structural cracks – not the ideal starting point for an ecologically sound refurbishment.
Our brave client is undaunted by this task, and intends to create a fine example of energy efficiency using natural breathable materials.
Many difficult challenges have arisen during the detailed design, balancing cost, complexity, performance, buildability.
Follow us to see progress.
|Project Ref||Work||Description||Preliminary Resultach n50||Final Result|
|Hack||Partial Refurbishment||1970’s house, extended and insulated||6.27|
|Fold||New Build||Detached 4 bed house, masonry and timber||2.6||2.53|
|Greenh||New Build||Detached curved 2 storey dwelling, masonry and timber||1.01|
|Clav||New Build||Rammed earth teaching facility||1.46m³/m²h|
|Oathall||New Build||Rammed earth teaching facility||0.95m³/m²h|
|Bonacc||Refurbishment||Detached 1970’s house||2.80|
|Greend||New BuildPassivhaus||Artist’s Studio, timber framed||0.41||0.39|
|Oak||New Build||Elliptical 2 storey straw bale dwelling||0.5|
Air tightness is an essential part of a refurbishment or new build.
The Passivhaus standard requires a maximum figure of 0.6 air changes per hour, or 1.0 ach for refurbishment to the EnerPHit standard.
This table shows figures achieved on recent projects that we have been involved with to some extent. It shows that the method of construction has little influence on the final result; but contractors with most experience do best. The current award goes to Ecolibrium Solutions Ltd. Any challengers?
- 300 x Ejot TID-T8/60×235 for fixing 200mm insulation
- 100 x Ejot TID-T8/60×195 for fixing 150mm insulation
- 30 x Ejot TID-T8/60×115 for fixing 70mm insulation
Work is progressing on site for a new 4 bedroom passivhaus in Faversham. Conker managed to obtain planning permission in December 2008 for the site in a dense residential area of the town centre, which suffered from considerable overlooking. This was partly due to a considerate and responsive design solution, partly due to the hard work by the client in liaising with the 32 neighbours, and partly due to a very positive and constructive planning department at Swale Borough Council.
As the client is a specialist in renewable energy, the scheme naturally includes solar PV, solar thermal, plus pipework underground for testing heat pumps and ground cooling systems.
Published in the RICS Building Surveying Journal, January-February 2012.
Paul Mallion discusses how external insulation was used in the refurbishment of a Grade II listed building.
View ‘Room to Breathe‘
The building posed a considerable challenge in meeting the passivhaus criteria, due to its surface area to floor area ratio (required by planning restrictions and building usage) and by the industrial fume extract and lighting design necessary for a commercial art studio.
Other features include:
- 3m high loading door, insulated to passivhaus level, with a U value of 0.67 W/m²K.
- Triple glazed frameless picture windows to the south west elevation.
- Rammed chalk mass wall to stabilise internal temperatures.
- Wood pellet fired district heating system serving the 3 properties on the site.
- Externally the building is clad in finger jointed sweet chestnut from Kent and East Sussex.
- The roof has 5.6m² of solar thermal panels.
- 22.5m² of photovoltaics generating electricity.
- Architect & project management: J Cooke
- Main contractor, airtightness, finishes: Ecolibrium Solutions Ltd
- Services design: PCS Consulting Services Ltd
- Renewable services installation: The Wood Stove Shop Ltd
- Structural engineer: S C Green Ltd
- Timber frame erection: Eco Frame Systems Ltd
- Planning consultants, technical design, Passivhaus designer: Conker Conservation Ltd
- Passivhaus Certifier: Warm
- Rammed chalk training: Ramcast CIC
THE PASSIVHAUS DEMYSTIFIED
This one day conference held at Hadlow College Rural Regeneration Centre on 8 December 2011 focused on the planning policy and aesthetic issues which affect all new and refurbished buildings.
Paul Mallion explained the Passivhaus standard. Other topics covered included the current energy framework for planning and building regulations; retrofit of existing buildings to EnerPHit standard and case studies of completed Passivhaus buildings in the UK and across Europe. A tour of Hadlow’s Passivhaus teaching block was also included, discussing how the standard was met in that instance.
This conference was held at Hadlow College Rural Regeneration Centre, a certified Passivhaus building on 18 October 2011.
The architect and builder gave a presentation about the building.
The event was chaired by the energetic Professor Ian Swingland OBE, and included 6 speakers.
Paul Mallion explained the Passivhaus standard. Other topics covered included the regulatory framework, passivhaus products, construction, costs and research into retrofit.
Feedback was very good – see graph attached (note speaker number 2!).
The PassivHaus launch event on Sustainable Solutions for Passive Design took place at The Building Centre, Store Street, London WC1E on Tuesday 13th September 2011.
The event attracted over 30 attendees.
It was chaired by Gary Newman of Plant Fibre Technology and speakers included:-
He is now recognised by the PHI and is listed on the www.passivhausplaner.eu database, one of only 3 chartered surveyors in the UK and Ireland.
Published in Green Building Magazine summer 2011.
Paul Mallion gives a designers perspective on a passivhaus light industrial unit.
Paul Mallion has been elected Fellow of the RICS by achievement. This was based on Paul’s contribution to the profession in regard to sustainability and energy efficiency.
It is not true that he now has to grow a beard!
Conker has been assisting a local group in saving the unique and historic Westgate Hall from demolition. On 28 July 2011 Canterbury City Council agreed to save the building and grant a 99 year lease to the Westgate Community Trust from March 2012. The hall will be preserved, refurbished and managed as a community centre.
Click here to see the story of how the hall was saved.
Conker Conservation obtained Listed Building consent and specified and tendered the work to The Mariner’s Tea Rooms in Rye . The work carried out by contractor, R Flisher Ltd has been ‘Highly Commended’ in the Townscape Awards 2010 for the meticulous repair and redecorations’.
Conker Conservation Ltd are working on designs for a Passivhaus Standard primary school in Kent. Colliers Green School is a very successful rural school, with very forward thinking Head, staff and governors. They were dismayed at the apathy displayed by conventional designers when given the brief for an ultra-low energy building. No so at Conker, we have researched primary school design in the UK and found many exemplary buildings completed in the last 10 years.
Regrettably, these are dwarfed by the number of average buildings with poor energy performance, almost none meet the DECC guidelines for electricity consumption.
A passivhaus school recently completed in Redberg, near Frankfurt has given us confidence that we can achieve the standard. Fund raising is currently underway.
Conker win the Special Award for Sustainability, Residential Category in the Kent Design Awards 2009/10.
Click here to see Award Project
The Award was for the Green House, Shepherdswell, near Dover, which was recognised by the judges as being the first house in Kent designed to Passivhaus principles, using the PassivHaus Planning Package 2004 software. Conker beat off stiff competition for the award, including a project featured on Grand Designs. The judging panel recognised that embarking on a passivhaus design in 2007 was a brave move by the client, when products and experience in the UK were still in their infancy. They were also impressed by the fact the high thermal performance was achieved using conventional UK methods, such as cavity wall and timber frame, rather than costly specialist systems.
Conker used experience gained on the Pines Calyx , designed in 2004/2005 to Passivhaus principles, to detail the thermal junctions, windows and doors. We have since refined these into a library of passivhaus details for cavity walls, timber frame, solid walls, in both new build and retrofit.
Conker win the award for ‘Residential Development’.
Click to see Award Project
In June 2009, Paul Mallion becomes the first surveyor in Kent to receive his Certificate of Completion for the AECB Carbonlite PassivHaus Planning Training.
Published in Green Building Magazine Vol 18 No 3 – Paul Mallion explains why timbrel vaulting could enjoy a re-emergence.
Conker’s article on the use of cork insulation on two projects, one being Friends of the Earths new roof terrace.
View cork article
A house we designed for London contractor/developer Hillman & Sons was the National Silver Winner for Small Residential Projects of the Green Apple Awards in 2006.
The London Borough of Lewisham recommended some form of ‘eco’ building after they were unimpressed by the original designers proposals. The purchasers took the initiative to enter the building for the award, being enthusiastic and dedicated to the green ethos.
We have worked with Hillman and Sons for many years, including a Thunderbird’s style mobile pond over a subterranean swimming pool complete with adjacent car lift!