Our new EnerPHit office

WARM Office MVHR

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on WARM Office MVHR

Here you can see the real-time performance of our MVHR. In warm weather, you can see the summer bypass mode switch in.

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WARM’s Office Finalist at PHT Awards 15

Posted by on Jul 23, 2015 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on WARM’s Office Finalist at PHT Awards 15

WARM’s Office Finalist at PHT Awards 15

We are delighted to share that our WARM Office is a finalist in the PHT awards 2015  ‘retrofit category’.   The 2015 Awards aimed to celebrate the design and performance of Passivhaus in the UK, highlighting that Passivhaus can be used on any building type to create beautiful buildings that address health and well-being, energy efficiency, occupant comfort issues and demonstrate that Passivhaus can deliver successful retrofit solutions. You can read all the details about our submission at the PHT Awards page. Below is a short video about our Office in Plymouth. Enjoy it!  ...

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WARM new EnerPHit Office opening

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on WARM new EnerPHit Office opening

WARM new EnerPHit Office opening

  We have just received certification for retrofitting our Office to the Passivhaus EnerPHit standard.    40% of EU carbon emissions come from heating or cooling buildings, and of course, we think that most people wanting to cut this significantly are working under the Passivhaus banner.  We thought the Green Party might agree. Therefore, we are delighted to welcome Molly, our Green MEP, to Plymouth and we have invited her to unveil our EnerPHit plaque marking the first Passivhaus retrofit in Plymouth. Below are some pictures of the opening day with Molly:...

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MVHR: Emoncms.org open source logging – brilliant!

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on MVHR: Emoncms.org open source logging – brilliant!

MVHR: Emoncms.org open source logging – brilliant!

Just got the MVHR up and running before the cold weather hit.  Good job as I was starting to get really irritated with venting via open windows – I seem to get all the draughts to give others in the office the fresh air 🙁 Anyway, now its been running for a week or two, I decided to get the open source emocms.org monitoring kit we asked John Canton to make up for us in our old office.  Plugged it all in and it worked!  Logging temps, humiditys , powers straight to the website.  Some pulses ( water, gas) too once we get the reed relays sourced. Profoundly grateful to all those who have put in effort to the www.emoncms.org contributors, especially as I’m a complete programming/electronics assembly dumbo. thankyou, Thankyou, Thank you! Anyway, what good is it?  Well we just set the MVHR up to run without controls at a constant 180 m3/h ( ie about enough for 6 people. our average occupancy) The following trace shows the four temperatures across the unit over the last few days (ignore green, that’s attic temp):   I must admit to being surprised at how fast the office cools( the above being a weekend), until I took a look at the gains: We are so good at cutting gains at night and weekend that we only have 80W electrical power, plus a bit of solar on Sat Nov 16th between 10 and 12am. And 40W of that 80W is the MVHR itself. So my first thought is to reduce this by turning off the vent unit out of office hours. Must be worth a few watts! A quick calc shows this to be right:  reduce from 180 to 50 m3/h(unit minimum) for say 10C avg temp difference assuming 80% heat recovery:  power = (180-50) *0.33 * 10 k * (1-80%) = 85W, so I can effectively double our gains by switching the unit down to minimum, or more if I can switch it off… This is an example of what commissioning should be about: get some decent monitoring to see what going on, and then adjust, and see the result.  Its what supposed to happen to all our buildings fitted with expensive Building Energy Management Systems, but never happens – probably because once its past hand-over, nobody wants to know. Interesting contrast to Houses too, they have much more regular gains, so they don’t have this issue so much as commercial. Ill post the next stage once I’ve got this implemented. pete.                        ...

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Week 18: Wrapping Up with Insulation

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 18: Wrapping Up with Insulation

Week 18: Wrapping Up with Insulation

This post was begun by Emma, enhanced by Liam and beefed up by Sally. The external insulation blocks have gone up really smoothly and the building is almost all covered now. At floor height an XPS (extruded polystyrene) block is used. A key piece of the whole build is yet to be put in: the MVHR (Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery unit). This has been ordered and holes have been made in the wall to accommodate the intake and exhaust ducts. Preparing to move in Inside, the decoration is coming along and a usable office space is taking shape. Our moving in date is booked – we’ll be moving in here at the beginning of next week! It won’t be quite finished but it will definitely be a working space, and it’ll be really interesting to be on site as the last works are completed. The low energy approach isn’t limited to the outside of the building; Pete has put in some clever wiring that means that individual desks can be turned off at one switch, and further master switches which allows us to leave the bare minimum on when we leave. Watch this space to find out how it all goes and get more details about the final works! I’m hoping to continue to share our experiences with you as we get used to working in an EnerPHit space. The front of the building showing the graphite EPS insulation, with the purple XPS insulation at ground level.  This will all be rendered and then the scaffolding can come...

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Week 17: A Lick of Paint and Lots of Insulation

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 17: A Lick of Paint and Lots of Insulation

Week 17: A Lick of Paint and Lots of Insulation

Insulation is something we talk about a lot in relation to Passivhaus and EnerPHit – it’s a really key aspect to achieving the very low heating demand targets called for by the standards. At Admiral’s Hard our wall insulation is a type of expanded polystyrene (EPS) block that has been treated with graphite in order to improve its insulating properties.  This week the builders have been applying the blocks to the walls using a “muck”, in a way similar to putting up drywall using the dot-and-dab technique. It’s critical to the performance of the insulation that there are no gaps behind or between the boards.  The existing walls aren’t very flat so this means that care is needed during installation.  Where it’s impossible not to have a gap then low expansion foam is used to fill the holes.  This foam is great to bridge holes in insulation, but it’s no good for airtightness. The long fixings pass through 250 mm of insulation and then into the outer leaf of the cavity wall.  Once all the insulation is in place, the entire area will then be rendered. Inside, the plumbing is largely complete, the displaced kitchen units are returning to their rightful home, and a dado rail has been installed to carry power and network cables round the office.  The decorators have been very busy indeed, giving the place a splash of colour, and later this week we hope to show you some glimpses of the light, bright and airy space that’s being created.   The insulation abutting a window installation, showing the airtightness tape (blue), plywood window mounting box, airtightness paste (green) and white window frame.  The gap will be filled with low expansion foam.             A block of insulation, covered in muck, ready to be mounted to the wall                 A cut-through of the wall showing (inside to outside): the inner leaf of block; cavity filled with PU foam; outer leaf of cavity; graphite-treated EPS insulation.  Ultimately, a ventilation duct will be installed in this wall...

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Week 15: Finishing internal works

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 15: Finishing internal works

Week 15: Finishing internal works

This week most of the effort has been in finishing off the internal works. Downstairs, floor insulation is going down in the hallway –it’s comprised of two layers of rigid foam insulation (80mm and 25mm).  Extra work was made this week when the decision was taken to open up under the stairs and remove the studwork – it turned out that one area was riddled with woodworm and so that had to be removed and the balustrade replaced. The 80mm layer going in. In the shop Eventually the shop floor will also have a layer of insulation. It seems that the cavity wall insulation and new windows are already making an impact – in fact the shop staff are finding it really warm. This is mostly due to the heat given off from the very large fridges and appliances in there, and it’s something that we’ll have to tackle in order to maintain a comfortable working environment for them through the summer. Greener Plymouth study tour We’ve also run our first study tour! Pete gave a presentation about the project’s principles and aims, followed by a tour of the site, as part of Plymouth City Council’s Greener Plymouth Day. The attendees were interested in finding out more about Passivhaus and EnerPHit builds, and about how this might be applied to the wider housing stock of the south west and encourage higher standards to be taken on in the industry. Despite still being a building site it was great to show what we’re doing and we look forward to being able to run more tours in the future.    ...

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Week 14: Good news! A great air test result

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 14: Good news! A great air test result

Week 14: Good news! A great air test result

On Tuesday night Alex ran another fan test, after he and Robbie had been spending the previous days finishing off the last airtightness details – well, fingers were firmly crossed that all the last leaks had been found. And…we’ve done it….a depressurisation result of 0.67 ach at 50Pa! A similar result of 0.69 for pressurisation adds confidence to the construction. What is really interesting is that this last test is significantly better than the previous ones because we opened up an old sealed up door between the office and shop, so that all the leaks between the two were now non-existent. It’s brilliant news and a real pat on the back for the team after their hard work of the last few weeks. It means now that work can move on, getting the second fix joinery completed and the last bits of plastering done before the decorators can move in and the build team can move out and start on the external insulation. Lessons learnt? Alex ran this air test himself, having really come along on the Passivhaus journey as the build has progressed, and I asked him if there had been any surprises or difficulties for him. The main thing he’d learnt, he said, was not to spend ages looking for leaks that weren’t there! His relative inexperience with using the equipment meant it had taken a while to get it working accurately, and during this time they had been assuming there were air leaks which they had been actively searching for, when in reality it was just a matter of getting to grips with the kit. All in all, I think it’s really encouraging to see that the team are enthusiastic about picking up the skills needed for quality low energy building work, and I hope it sends a positive message to the UK building industry.   The outside of the office, week 14: you can see the new shop windows at the front of the...

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Week 13: Finishing off windows and airtightness

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 13: Finishing off windows and airtightness

Week 13: Finishing off windows and airtightness

Spirits are high following the encouragement of Friday’s air test results and with the help of the summer sunshine flooding into the building. “It was brilliant, really encouraging to get those results” says Alex. Now the team can start finalising last details of airtightness and finishing off the windows. At this stage, work is concentrating on finishing all the small bits and pieces before moving on to the external insulation – checking for airtightness, finishing off window reveals and boxing, patching up render and finishing plastering. Looking for air tightness details As Liam pointed out in his last post, once the major areas of air movement have been identified and dealt with, you start to find the smaller leaks and problems that were overlooked before. For instance, it became apparent that lots of air was coming up through the stairs from the shop – more judicious use of the Knauf airtightness tape should have put that right now. The last window for upstairs has finally arrived and been installed, so hopefully there will be no more leaks from here either. We chose this window so that we were able to showcase different suppliers and products – this is a Passivhaus-certified PVC window from Munster. The shop gets new windows The team have also managed to get those massive new shop windows installed downstairs. They look really good and with their red frames tie in with the existing shop décor. Now they’re in, the plan is to do another fan test tomorrow, this time testing the building as a whole for the first time. The shop floor is not insulated yet, but as it’s concrete there shouldn’t be any leaks or impact on airtightness. Shop window at back of building Looking out through one of the main windows Fingers crossed this air test goes well!  ...

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Week 12: A Lot to Cheer About!

Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 in Warm EnerPHit office | Comments Off on Week 12: A Lot to Cheer About!

Here’s some great news: we managed a depressurisation air tightness of 0.89 air changes per hour late in the afternoon on Friday! Most of the day had been spent trying to make some remaining aspects of the fabric as airtight as we possibly could.  These efforts focussed primarily on the windows, where we used an airtightness tape specially designed for sealing around windows, and combined this with an airtight adhesive where we wanted to guarantee a good bond to the irregular surface of the render. Once the fan was in place in the doorway, we depressurised the building to around 50 Pa, in order that we could identify and seal up any remaining leaks before carrying out the air test itself.  Some leaks that would previously have been dwarfed in magnitude by more significant breaches in the fabric now seemed very obvious indeed, and so we spent some time carefully sealing up tiny voids, gaps and cracks. Once we were satisfied with our work with the sealant, we did a depressurisation test and sent the list of figures over to Pete, who had been working elsewhere on the day.  He plugged the figures into our air change calculator and let us know the good news! There is no guarantee that the figure of 0.89 won’t increase slightly as more works are carried out, and we’ve not done a pressurisation test at this stage, but this is an indication that we are achieving the level of airtightness that we’ve been aiming for all this time, and has been enormously encouraging for the team. Bravo, everyone! Photo 1: Sealing the window installations with air tightness tape               Photo 2: A newly-finished airtight window...

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