Scandia-Hus are passionate about building eco-friendly homes for the future. We believe that energy efficient design is essential in any new property. With this in mind, we have put together some information to help you achieve this with your self build.
‘Low Carbon’ output begins with the design. Tinkering with a flawed design at a later stage will have a limited effect so it is important to get it right at the beginning. A new home needs to be designed to capture available solar energy, minimise heat loss by incorporating high levels of thermal insulation and to achieve high levels of Air Tightness. Careful thought should be given to the following when designing an eco-friendly home:
- Size does matter – it is important to give consideration to matching space requirements with real use demands. The shape of the building can affect not only the total construction cost but also its carbon output.
- Orientation of the design – remember to follow the sun to reap the maximum benefits.
- Think about the room arrangements – who needs sun flooding into a utility room or a view from a broom cupboard?
- Remember to incorporate ‘Buffer Zones’ where possible – this includes placing non habitable rooms on the north side and air locks at the main use external doorways.
- Consider the services you require – wet rooms in close proximity to one another minimise pipe run lengths which in turn improve operational efficiency.
- Open fires with chimneys are not good news – instead, why not opt for an enclosed wood burning stove with well sited combustion air arrangements and insulated flues – these are an ideal form of secondary space heating.
Insulation and Air Tightness
By incorporating high levels of insulation and adopting air-tight principles Scandia-Hus homes achieve exceptional insulation values. High levels of insulation and air tightness are number one on the sustainability priority list and, as the financial and environmental costs of energy continues to rise, we are confident that our methods are compatible with a cleaner and greener future.
It is vitally important to make new homes as air tight as possible. Uncontrolled air migration (in or out) is a significant route for heat loss even in a well insulated property. Do remember how necessary it is to provide ventilation at all times of the year. In the colder months this can be achieved using a mechanical ventilation system which incorporates heat recovery. In warmer times, however, there is no substitute for opening windows.
Solar Heat Capture
Scandia-Hus Timber Frames homes are inherently ‘low thermal capacity’ structures that benefit from sun rays beaming in. They heat the air in the rooms and not the structure which in doing so provide ‘Incidental Heat Gain’. To get the best results from solar capture, always remember to maximise south facing windows and minimise north facing windows.
Passive solar collection can be a significant contributor to seasonal space heating and so it is important to avoid any overshadowing details. However, do be wary of summer over heating which is a natural partner of winter solar gain and a potential problem with low thermal capacity structures. To help alleviate this problem, remember there is no better thing than natural cross ventilation when the temperature rises. Global warming will bring hotter summers to the UK and as such new buildings should feature external shading devices such as wide roof overhangs and loggias etc.