Alison and Mark’s house is a self-build, eco-house, constructed of timber-frame with recycled wood fibre insulation and high air tightness to maximise energy efficiency. The build has been a learning process! We would love to share what we have learned with you.
- The house has been designed and built to be as energy efficient as possible. South facing windows maximise solar gain and the construction is timber frame with high levels of insulation and air tightness to keep heat inside. The insulation is recycled wood fibre and there is a demand control ventilation (DCV) system, allowing the house to be breathable and maintain and pleasant living environment (easier to install and more energy efficient than the alternative MVHR (mechanical ventilation and heat recovery) system).
- Heating is provided from an air source heat pump with underfloor heating
- All light bulbs are low energy LED
- All energy is supplied from renewable energy sources
- (solar to be added to the roof later this year)
Sustainable and locally sourced materials and trades
- As much as possible, materials used for the building are sustainable and locally sourced
- All timber used is either PEFC, FSC certified or obtained from sustainable sources, locally wherever possible
- Excess materials or off-cuts have been re-used in other projects (e.g. re-use of leftover cladding and decking for storage boxes and coat racks, path borders, re-use of excess flooring for shelves)
Water saving measures
- Although we don’t have a household water recycling system, we have used water flow limiting devices on taps and shower to minimise water use and we re-use rain water from water butts in the garden.
We are creating a wildlife garden, working towards Zero Waste and growing our own veg.
Compromises and learning
The house is as Eco friendly as we could make it, but on certain things we have had to make compromises which were not as Eco as we had hoped, sometimes due to the constraints of the site, structural issues, budget or timescales. For example, we would really have preferred to find alternatives to the use of concrete for the foundations and for some of the other materials, but were limited by the requirements of Building Control. Our overall view on this was to do all that we could wherever possible, rather than not be able to progress at all.