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Free advice! show us your designs and we’ll improve the energy performance

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in news | Comments Off on Free advice! show us your designs and we’ll improve the energy performance

We know how to make your buildings more energy efficient without costing you more to build (in fact a lot of our suggestions are likely to make it easier or cheaper) Whether you’re going for full Passivhaus, or just want to make an improvement we can help.   Why are we doing this? We understand spending money in the early days of a project is usually at risk, but this is where the greatest impact (and true value engineering) can take place.  So we’re doing it for free, with no obligation to employ us later either. Just send us an explanation of the project including an idea of the current energy strategy, along with any drawings, sketches or ideas that are currently on the table. What will I get? We will give you our top 5 design changes to improve thermal performance and comfort.  The intention will be to focus on changes that don’t impact on cost but we may stray from this if we think it’s worth it. Send your projects to (p.s. please be kind to our inbox and use wetransfer or similar) Please note that we can’t guarantee a time-frame, and the suggestions are not based on modelling or calculations but rather an eyeball over the scheme.  We reserve the right to not give advice, in which case we will give a...

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PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.03 Released

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in news | Comments Off on PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.03 Released

PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.03 Released

Dear all, We have released version 6.03 of the PHPP WARM Results Sheet, which can be downloaded here:   PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.07 (204.2 KiB, 5,710 hits) The biggest improvement is that it now works with PHPP 8.4. The other changes are minor, and have all been focussed on making it look nicer 🙂 . Hope you like it.

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PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.01 Released – PHPP9 Compatible!

Posted by on Dec 2, 2015 in news, Of interest | Comments Off on PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.01 Released – PHPP9 Compatible!

PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.01 Released – PHPP9 Compatible!

Dear all, We are very proud to announce the latest release of our popular results sheet. This release represents a big overhaul, and includes lots of new features, as well as improvements to usability. It is compatible with PHPP8 and PHPP9. Download link:   PHPP WARM Results Sheet v6.07 (204.2 KiB, 5,710 hits) [Edit 02/12/15: updated to v6.02] The biggest improvement is the addition of 3 new sheets that show a summary of the key data in the PHPP. Hope you find it really useful. Liam McDonagh-Greaves,...

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New PHPP Guide: Formulae to Make Solid Shading Transparent

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Guides, news, Of interest | Comments Off on New PHPP Guide: Formulae to Make Solid Shading Transparent

New PHPP Guide: Formulae to Make Solid Shading Transparent

Dear all, We have published a guide to applying a transparency factor to objects in the shading sheet in your PHPP. Let’s say you are modelling a line of trees in your PHPP. The spreadsheet assumes that they are completely opaque, but this isn’t true – some degree of light always gets through. This guide shows you how to apply some transparency to those trees, making your shading more accurate. It is also useful for modelling non-solid fences, brise-soleils and pergolas. Download link: Hope you find it useful! Liam McDonagh-Greaves,...

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UK Passivhaus Conference

Posted by on Nov 6, 2015 in news | Comments Off on UK Passivhaus Conference

UK Passivhaus Conference

  Pete recently presented at the UK Passivhaus Conference talking about our experience of Passivhaus on a large scale.  . . . The full talk is here but the key principals are: Massing: Is the thermal envelope really a simple shape? Fenestration: Dominates PHPP but use daylight criteria to size windows Ventilation: Consider central systems, early design input absolutely crucial Distribution losses : Significant impact on primary energy and overheating, standard solutions don’t work   He also sat on the panel at the end of the day discussing scaling up Passivhaus in the UK:  Honesty  Be honest regarding bad design decisions. ‘Sharing knowledge means the industry can learn from mistakes rather than repeat them’ says Pete Warm, WARM. This was echoed by Gwyn Jones, Norwich City Council, who says ‘we should learn from each other.’ Constructive feedback will facilitate improvement within the industry as a...

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Why quality matters

Posted by on Aug 14, 2015 in news | Comments Off on Why quality matters

The recent article by Cartwright Pickard Architects in the Architects Journal, entitled ‘Are our homes making people sick?’ is a welcome addition to the research on comfort within new homes. Their findings, based on internal monitoring of environmental conditions, energy use, occupant behaviour and build quality checks, should make uncomfortable reading for everyone in the sector. The performance gap noted in a number of other studies is sadly replicated here. Ventilation systems were found to be poorly installed, commissioned and maintained, and most of the properties overheated. Poor indoor air quality was found in most of the properties.    However, I would have to take issue with the statement that ‘Improved energy efficiency in our homes may be having unintended consequences for occupants health’. The catalogue of issues highlighted in this research cannot really be described as unintended consequences, as they are entirely predictable, and the impact on occupant health is not down to energy efficiency. It is down to at best lacklustre MVHR design, shoddy installation, haphazard commissioning, and a toothless regulatory framework. The houses were all designed to meet Code for Sustainable Homes Levels 3 or 4, but it is evident that the checks in place within CfSH and Building Control assessments are incapable of preventing the issues Cartwright Pickard Architects uncovered. With the bonfire of regulations undertaken by the newly elected Government, it’s unlikely that this will improve in the short term.   The strategies proposed in the article, which include carefully considered heating and ventilation strategies, ensuring enough fresh air for occupants, fresh air supply in all habitable rooms, and balanced MHVR supply and extract rates, are all very sensible and could almost come from a Passivhaus introductory lecture. As Designers it’s clear to us how far from the UK norm Passivhaus requirements are. The photograph in the article, of flexible ductwork piled up in a heap within a presumably cold loftspace, reminiscent of the coils faced by Archibald Tuttle renegade heating engineer in Terry Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’, sums up all that is wrong with typical MVHR installations. Flexible ducts suffer high pressure losses and can easily be compressed, restricting airflow. If as it appears they are in a cold roof space a significant part of the heat recovered in the winter will be lost through them. Conversely, in the summer the heat built up within the loft space will be transferred into the ducts, exacerbating any overheating problem. In our role as Certifiers we require evidence that the MVHR system has been designed to the Passivhaus requirements, that appropriate components have been used and that the system has been commissioned correctly. An unbalanced system which does not meet the required flow rates will prevent a building being certified.   With the Code For Sustainable Homes, the Zero Carbon target and the Green Deal all scrapped, as the Passivhaus Trust have pointed out, there is now only one standard for those interested in low energy buildings. Passivhaus provides a robust methodology for the design installation and commissioning of MVHR systems, and as a result offers a real alternative to the catalogue of errors which is typical UK domestic ventilation. http://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/buildings/are-our-homes-making-people-sick/8687255.article?blocktitle=Building-Study&contentID=12205 http://cartwrightpickard.com/   Blog written by Karl...

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