We do this by using our PHPP (Passive-House Planning Package) software, (which is registered with the Passiv-Haus institute in Darmstadt, Germany). There are a number of ways in which we can improve things.
This involves facing as much glazing to the South as is feasible, to maximise solar gain, helping to heat your home during the winter months. Also we reduce the glazing to the North (unless there are terrific views) which loose heat. We can also incorporate roof-lights, or sun-tunnels in sensitive areas. We look at roof-slopes to see if they can be altered to accommodate solar panels.
We can offer different construction methods depending on your requirements. These include: Insulated foundation systems, timber frame (sustainable) or solid block with external insulation. We do not recommend ‘traditional’ cavity construction because there are a number of reasons why this method is fast becoming a thing of the past. In the roof, we generally recommend changing the rafter depth to 225mm (9 inches) as it is more cost-effective to insulate to a high standard.
By far the most important investment you will make. Euro for euro it is the most effective way to save you money in years to come. Again, using our software to calculate U-values, we are able to accurately specify the most cost-effective ways to insulate your home, and can make compensations for any existing cold-bridging or other heat losses. We also eliminate cold-bridging where possible, to reduce the risk of mould growth. We do not endorse any particular insulation manufacturer (unlike some others) but specify the products that give the best performance to cost ratio.
We look at the methods and systems required to make your project air-tight. Today’s standards are relatively poor compared to what can be achieved. Up to 35% of heat losses can be attributed to unwanted draughts. We use only the best materials to guarantee the best results, which can be verified by a door-blower test prior to slabbing. All of our tradespeople are aware of the consequences of puncturing membranes etc and all work together to ensure that the integrity of the system is not compromised. Chimneys are among the biggest offenders when it comes to heat-loss and draughts, but we have a number of remedies for these also, without losing that ‘real fire’ cosiness that we love so much in this country.
Ventilation & Heat Recovery
It is very important at design stage to consider how it is intended to provide adequate ventilation. Let’s face it, none of us like to shiver beside those ‘hole-in-the-wall’ vents all winter, and that’s why most of them are blocked up by now, causing condensation and mould problems. There are a number of other ways to satisfy building regulations, and to maintain comfort and air quality within the building. The main three are: passive stack ventilation, demand-controlled ventilation and mechanical heat-recovery ventilation. We will design the best solution to meet your requirements (and budget) prior to construction, and using our tried and tested system suppliers ensure that the chosen system is fitted and guaranteed to the highest standards.
Windows and External Doors
We take the guess-work out of choosing what types of units are fitted. Again, we do not endorse any particular manufacturer, but base decisions on the merits of the standard of product. Whether looking for timber-frame or PVC, double or treble glazed, we can get the best results to suit your budget. If required, we can go full-on with Passive-house windows and doors that as yet cannot be manufactured (yet) in this country, and are currently being imported from mainland Europe. In all cases, an air-tight tape is fitted around the inside of the frames as part of the air-tight system (no draughts).
Heating systems. Based on the annual space heat demand of your home (which will be very low, if all of the above are considered carefully), we can accurately calculate the amount of heat you need to keep it warm. We will give you all the options, and steer you in the right direction (away from oil!).
We can bring your project to Passive-House standards!