£50,000 printed house released by WikiHouse

From: http://www.technology4change.com/page.jsp?id=312

Looking at the details in the PDF, a lot of the ideas are similar to those being used by ecofab for my project:
– see some screen grabs below.


From the article:

WikiHouse has released the design for a £50,000 printed house for the UK that could help tackle problems like urbanisation, climate change and inequality, say creators.

The design is the latest creation from the non-profit project that has been developed to help produce low-cost, high-performance houses that are suited to local needs.

The project, called WikiHouse, is an open source construction system which makes it possible for anyone to design, share, download, adapt and ‘print’ houses.

Users of the system can ‘print’ house parts from a standard sheet material like plywood, and the main structure assembled in about a day without the need for conventional construction skills, say creators.

“The open secret is that in reality almost everything we today call architecture is actually design for the 1%,” said WikiHouse co-designer Alastair Parvin of London-based design studio 00.

 

“The challenge facing the next generation of architects is how, for the first time, we will make our client not the 1% but the 100% – to radically democratise the production of architecture.”

He added: “We are moving into a future where the factory can be everywhere – and increasingly the design team can be everyone.”

WikiHouse is currently under development, with a growing community of teams and is seeking collaborators and funders.


Wall panel layers:

 

WikiHouse-Panel-detail

 

WikiHouse-Panel

Assembled wall panel:

Rear courtyard ideas

The rear courtyard is going to be used any time you want a wind sheltered spot and more privacy than the front garden.
– although with the garage raising the front of the garden, the front garden should be more private than it would otherwise have been.

These are few ideas for the courtyard, in no particular order:

courtyard

The courtyard will have slate tile flooring, but maybe some wall wooden cladding that ties in with the cladding on the building could soften it all. Plants will certainly look good. But they’ll need to not take up too much space and although I like this look (below), keeping a vertical wall is the planning approved design.
– I think it would eat too much into the rear slope and reduce privacy from the rear of the property down into the living area and rear courtyard.

In the pic below, there is wood and a tile floor. Then the sheet of rusting metal, water and plants all seem to work well. There are also edge up lights.

courtyard ideas

The wall could also have a streak of art sunlight !

courtyard art

With other colour splashes from furniture.

The space isn’t actually that big, so it won’t make sense to have full time outside big tables and chairs here.

But widening the stairs up to the rear could open it up, but the width shold line up with the other building lines.

There will be an outside shower in the courtyard. In the SW corner by the door to the plant room. This will be below the stairs that go up from the rear to the top floor home office / study.

So there could be lights from the bottom of the stairs to the shower area?

shower - with bench and light all under the over-hang

Their should be the option to detach and use the shower on a shower hose for getting all the sand, mud … off people, wetsuits, kids, dogs ….

If the south wall to the courtyard was white, which will fit the rest of the lower floor render, it’ll keep the courtyard brighter:

shower - 04

It’d be good to have a shelf or 2 in the wall for shower products etc.

Also some hooks for towels and wetsuits on their initial dry out.

shower - 03

In the picture below from Claire at Illumina Lighting, there’s great plant courtyard uplighting:

courtyard lighting idea

Thermal Scanner

There are a lot of conversations on the GreenBuilding Forum:

That include using a thermal scanner for during and post build use of thermal scanners to check for thermal efficiency (leaks, bridging, U-values).

Wait for the heating to be working, so that it’s warmer inside than outside by 8C or more (so probably winter !) and start using a scanner.

From inside, to look in all directions (floor, walls, ceiling) and from as many external aspects as you can. You could find where (for example) insulation in the wall has perhaps sagged and left a less insulated section.

Yes you’ll possibly find problems when it’s too late (ie not during the build) but better late than never, as you may still be able to improve where these problems are.
– if it’s during the build, but post final hand over, you can get the builder(s) in to sort out the problems.

It’d also be interesting to 2, 3, 5, 10, 20 years on to do the same and see how the building has held up.
– yes it’d be good to also get an air test several years in.

Cost Implication / Problem

One problem with this plan is that an air test is about £300 at the moment. That’s a lot, unless you believe there is a big reduction in the building efficiency and you want to check, to confirm (and if the case) resolve what has failed over time.

FLIR Thermal Image cameras start at around £1,000 and what training / learning do you need to use one properly?

 

FLIR i3 / i5 / i7 camera model comparison

From http://www.flir.com/cs/emea/en/view/?id=42844

 FLIR i3 FLIR i5 FLIR i7
Thermal image quality:
60×60 pixels
Thermal image quality:
100×100 pixels
Thermal image quality:
140×140 pixels
Field of View:
12.5°(H) x 12.5°(V)
Field of View:
21°(H) x 21°(V)
Field of View:
29°(H) x 29°(V)
Center spot Center spot Spotmeter, area with max./min. temperature, isotherm above/below
Thermal sensitivity: 0.15°C Thermal sensitivity: 0.10°C Thermal sensitivity: 0.10°C

Pro’s and Con’s of kitchen counter top options

From http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/1623075

USA and US$ figures, so likely to be a bit different in the UK:

Granite

Pros: Granite’s beautiful mottling and the host of colors and patterns found in nature make each piece one of a kind. It stands up well to splashes, knife nicks, heat and other wear and tear.

Cons: Like most stone, granite must be sealed every so often to avoid stains. And its heaviness means you’ll need very sturdy cabinet boxes to support the weight.

Cost: $35 to $100 per square foot, installed

Solid Surfacing

Made primarily from acrylic and polyester, solid surfacing first was sold under the brand name Corian, which is often (erroneously) used as a generic term for it. Today, it’s made by a host of manufacturers and has enjoyed steady popularity over the years.

Pros: Because solid surfacing is nonporous, it’s virtually maintenance free — no sealing or special cleaning required. Although it can be susceptible to scratches and burns, those are easy to sand out. Color and pattern options are extensive, and because you’re not trying for the look of a natural material, you can experiment with vibrant hues such as turquoise or tomato red. Seamless installation means there are no cracks to trap dirt and debris.

Cons: Solid surfacing can have a patently artificial look and feel, yet can approach the price of natural stone. As mentioned above, it doesn’t stand up to hot pans or sharp knives as well as other materials.

Cost: $35 to $100 per square foot, installed

Quartz Surfacing

Crafted of resin and quartz chips tinted with color, quartz surfacing (also called engineered quartz or engineered stone) is a good compromise between the beauty of stone and the easy care of solid surfacing.

Pros: Quartz surfacing has the same advantages as solid surfacing with regard to maintenance. As an engineered product, it’s available in a far greater range of colors and patterns than natural stone.

Cons: This material doesn’t have the natural variegation of granite, so it may be evident that it’s an engineered product. It’s relatively pricey, although its durability can make it a worthwhile investment.

Cost: $40 to $90 per square foot, installed

Marble

Is there anything that looks and feels more glamorous than a marble countertop? Peerless in terms of its luminescence and distinctive veining, it’s an ultratraditional choice.

Pros: Nothing beats marble for sheer elegance. It stands up to heat well, and because it remains perennially cool, it’s a traditional choice for pastry and baking stations (read: Dough won’t get too soft).

Cons: Marble is very susceptible to stains, even with sealing. For that reason, it’s not often used throughout an entire kitchen — most homeowners limit it to one or two small areas. It can also scratch and chip.

Cost: $40 to $100 per square foot, installed

Tile

Modular and inexpensive, ceramic and porcelain tile offers nearly limitless options for colors and designs. Tile works with almost any kitchen style, from country to majestic Old World.

Pros: It holds its own against heat and sharp blades, and resists stains. If one or two tiles chip or crack, they’re fairly easy to replace.

Cons: Tile’s uneven surface can make it difficult to balance a cutting board or roll out a pie crust. Unsealed grout is prone to staining; standing moisture can damage it and contribute to bacterial growth.

Cost: $10 to $80 per square foot, installed

Laminate

Made of paper blended with resins and fused to particle board, laminate has been a kitchen mainstay for decades. In the past, it hasn’t always had a reputation as stylish, but that’s changing: The latest designs on the market mimic stone, butcher block and other pricier surfaces.

Pros: Laminate is one of the most affordable countertop materials, so it’s a good choice if your budget is tight. It’s low maintenance and easy to clean. Its light weight doesn’t require the support of a thick cabinet base.

Cons: Laminate is prone to scratching, burns and, in some cases, staining. With wear and moisture exposure, the layers can peel. Because of the raw particle board core, you can’t use laminate with undermount sinks, and it’s also difficult to repair if it gets damaged.

Cost: $10 to $30 per square foot, installed

Soapstone

Although it’s in no danger of overtaking granite, soapstone has come into its own as a countertop material. It offers subtle, nuanced beauty yet feels humbler than granite or marble.

Pros: Soapstone has a natural softness and depth that fits very well with older and cottage-style homes. Although it usually starts out light to medium gray, it darkens with time. (Most people enjoy the acquired patina, but you may consider this a con.)

Cons: Soapstone needs polishing with oil to keep it in top shape. It can crack over time, and it can’t handle knife scratches and nicks as well as some other types of stone. The natural roughness of its surface can scuff glassware and china.

Cost: $70 to $100 per square foot, installed

Stainless Steel

Once found mostly in commercial kitchens, stainless steel has slipped into vogue within the past two decades. These countertops are custom made to fit your kitchen, so you’re guaranteed a tailored look.

Pros: There’s a reason stainless steel is used in restaurants and other high-traffic kitchens: It’s nearly indestructible, and it resists heat and bacteria. It also provides a very distinctive look that feels appropriate in contemporary and industrial-style kitchens.

Cons: Fingerprints show and must be wiped off frequently, and stainless steel can also dent. It can be loud as pots, pans and dishware clang against the surface. Chemicals can affect its color and cause unwanted etching. Stainless steel is extremely expensive due to the custom fabrication.

Cost: $65 to $125 per square foot, installed

Concrete

Think concrete is just for floors? Think again. Slightly edgier than other materials, concrete countertops have an industrial chic that fits right into a loft or adds interest to an otherwise traditional space.

Pros: Concrete is extremely versatile: It can be cast in any shape and custom tinted any shade you wish. You easily can add unique inlays, such as glass fragments, rocks and shells. Concrete stands up well to heavy use, although it isn’t as heat resistant as some other surfaces.

Cons: Because it’s porous, concrete will stain without frequent sealing. With time and settling, small cracks can develop. Concrete is extremely heavy and will need strong support beneath. Like stainless steel, its custom creation ups the price tag.

Cost: $75 to $125 per square foot, installed

Butcher Block

Butcher block has a classic appeal and always looks fresh. It’s especially fitting for traditional, country and cottage-style kitchens.

Pros: Many homeowners like butcher block’s warm, natural appearance and variegated wood tones. Although knives scratch it, many people like the shopworn look it develops — after all, it’s what chopping blocks have been made of for years. But you can also sand scratches down with ease.

Cons: Wood swells and contracts with moisture exposure, and butcher block is no exception. It harbors bacteria and needs frequent disinfecting. Oiling is a must to fill in scratches and protect the surface.

Cost: $35 to $70 per square foot, installed

Paper Composite

Paper countertops? You read it right. Created from paper fibers mixed with resin, this surface is ecofriendly and a whole lot more durable than it sounds.

Pros: Paper composite evokes the look of solid surfacing or laminate but with a warmer sensibility. It’s surprisingly hardy and can withstand heat and water admirably. It’s also a great deal lighter than natural stone or concrete.

Cons: The material isn’t scratchproof and is susceptible to chemical damage. It needs an occasional rubdown with mineral oil, and even sanding, to refresh it. Although it sounds as though it would be a lower-budget option, it isn’t (unless you install it yourself).

Cost: $85 to $125 per square foot, installed

 

New “Dutchtub Wood”

The DutchTub team have created a version of their “tea cup” hot tub that is encircled by wood, which might look better for Silver Spray.

I asked and “Indeed, the Dutchtub wood has the same inner shape as the Dutchtub Original.”

The original Dutch Tub can weigh 1400 kg / 3000 lbs when full of water and 4 people. They suggest a small platform under the tub can spread the total weight on more square meters than just the four legs of the tub. ”

Details

  • Length: 170 cm/67 inch
  • Width: 234 cm/92 inch
  • Height: 82 cm/32 inch
  • Weight: 85 kg/187 Ibs
  • Capacity: 650 liter/171 gallon
  • Material: 
    • Glassfibre polyester (RAL 7003, single color option)
    • Stainless steel
    • Preserved wood
  • Additional: This design is developed in collaboration with Feather Down Farm Days®
  • Delivery: The Dutchtub Wood will be delivered with a fire basket for the spiral, a special wok, a fire shield, a turbo connection for fast heating and a fiberglass cover
  • Check out the accesories.

Whole house shutdown could cut carbon emissions by a fifth

This article at http://www.building4change.com/page.jsp?id=1444 on “Whole house shutdown” says that:

Technology to turn off power to non-essential electrical items while residents sleep or are out can have major impact

A system that allows home occupants to conveniently and reliably turn off power to non-essential electrical items while they sleep or leave the house could cut household CO2 reductions by almost a fifth. This finding emerges from a study of technologies that could influence a reduction in energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions for a typical home built in 2016, carried out by NHBC Foundation.

From the nine technologies assessed, a system to remove power from all non-essential electrical items, called ‘whole house shutdown’, offered the greatest CO2 savings of 19 percent. The study also identifies individual socket shutdown units and waste water heat recovery as other technologies that can offer significant CO2 reductions of 16 percent and almost 7 percent respectively.

Thermodynamic Panels & a heat store or heat recovery system

Looking at one of the Thermodynamic Panel system PDFs:

One set up has a thermal store (a tank that heats up, and your heating is delivered by coils that go into this store, heat up and take that hot water to where you want it), and a second, linked to a pool seems to have a form of heat recover system, in that the colder water from the pool is going back in the loop for re-heating via the Thermodynamic panels and the thermal store tank.

 

For the thermal store the Akvaterm thermal store water tanks looked good at the 2012 Eco Expo in London.

  •  The Akvaterm Akvantti thermal stores are oblong which could be a better shape for the plant room. It’s available as 1400lt, 2000lt or 2400lt volumes. The 1,400 litre unit is £3,757.00 + £85 carriage.

Akvantti-Accumulator-Heat-Store-Tanks-4

 

A chunk more information on the concept and benefits of a thermal store (and their version of one) at http://www.greenspec.co.uk/thermal-storage.php:

Thermal storage – pros & cons

+ Provides effective buffering
+ Reduces boiler cycling
+ Allows for integration with low temp heating systems eg underfloor
+ Adds mains pressure to hot showers
+ Provides potable hot water
+ The use of a heat exchanger means that in most cases, thermal stores can be integrated with existing pressurised boiler circuits
+ Requires much smaller cold water tank then standard vented systems
+ Thermal storage is recognised by NHER software
– Heat can be lost through inefficient heat exchangers
– Storage temperature will usually have to be 10 deg C higher than required DHW temperature
– Cannot be used with existing DHW power showers and pumps
– Expensive and unvented storage, very expensive
– Vented stores require a header tank to be located above the heating systems

Points to consider when specifying a Thermal Store

  • The design of the heating system should be matched to the calculated peak heat load.
  • When including solar heating, ensure that there is extra capacity within the store to accommodate fluctuations.
  • Where a biomass boiler is being used, consider sizing the store to provide for the heat capacity generated in a load / firing
  • Consider designing not only for short-term anticipated capacity but possible future extensions to the system.
  • Consider stratification of water temperatures within the store, particularly where low-grade heating is provided. Effective separation between the hot water at the top of the tank and the cooler water at the bottom, can increase the time between charges.
  • Ensure that there is adequate insulation to the store (100mm + PU foam)
  • Ensure that there is adequate pipework insulation

 

Automatic fire !

Scandinavian HWAM fires have a heat sensitive spring that auto regulates the amount of air going into the combustion chamber of the fire, so that you continually get optimised buring of the wood:

  • More heat from the same amount of wood
  • Less ash
  • Less hassle
  • Less soot on the glass.

Video that shows the auto system (jump to 1 minute in !).

Above picture of the HWAM I30/55 that has the Nordic Ecolabel. For more info see

http://hwam.com/products/insert+selection/hwam+i+3055

Fire Heat Storage / Thermal Store

Create a thermal mass, with the chimney around the fire, so that post the fire dying out heat is slowly released into the room.

HWAM have a page on their soapstone system at http://hwam.com/hwam+advantages/heat+storage

UK HWAM Distributors: