A lot of sealing up progress

A lot going on, with the build and with other things, so a long while since an update.

The relentless UK weather of high rainfall and strong winds that have flooded large sections of the UK and battered the Cornish coastline has slowed down the daily work rate and meant that some items, such as the dry roof membrane for the flat roof, is not yet done.

The stormy sea from the house:

2014-02-05 09.15.01 (2)

2014-02-06 08.52.45 (4)

2014-02-05 09.16.52 (2)

The roof had a mesh of timbers put on, with marine ply over the top, to give a gentle slope from a central ridge for the “flat” roof:

2014-01-29 08.34.05 (2)


2014-01-30 16.52.59 (2)


You can see the level drop in this photo:

2014-01-30 16.44.33 (2)


2014-02-11 08.58.20 (2)

2014-02-11 08.58.23 (2)


At the same time, the internal studwork is going up:

2014-01-30 16.36.18 (2)


The window frames are going in (the white tape comes off later !):

2014-02-13 09.20.38 (2)

2014-02-13 13.40.02 (2)

and a bit more of the garage has been built:

2014-01-30 16.58.04 (2)


Despite looking bigger than it will due to the scaffolding and lack of cladding and other details that will soften the impact of the size, it’s shape is now there:

2014-01-31 08.52.35 (2)

2014-02-13 09.00.19 (2)

Glass for the fish bowl has arrived

The Yprado GRP window frames and doors, with the glazing has arrived.

2014-01-23 10.45.50 (2) The rather large truck stayed down the road and the forklift cherry picker brought the pallets up to the house:

2014-01-23 09.52.16 (2)

The ecofab team are packing up areas that didn’t have panels with sheep wool (bundle below) and starting to put sealing tape for, what will be, an “airtight house”.

2014-01-22 08.57.23 (2) The rear external stair cast concrete steps are in:

2014-01-22 09.10.07 (2) From the beach, the house has it’s form:

2014-01-19 08.06.41 (2)

Dawn moon over the sea: 2014-01-19 08.06.33 (2)




Kitchen to stair well wall

There are a few ideas for this wall / area:

Kitchen to stairs wall

To insert a vertical line of some of the stained glass windows from the original bungalow:




Which could look something like this:

Kitchen to stairs wall - stained glass inserts

and will further help draw light from the stairwell through into the living area.

I’m not sure on how many glass panes. They’ve all been kept. They vary in size and detail, number of panes etc.

For the rest of this wall, I like the idea of either a black board area, a magnetic wall for photos to be put up (or a magnetic wall that is also a blackboard wall. I also like the idea of a mugs rack, but these could be quite a way from the kettle ?

With blackboard paint, it should be easy to change this final detail in the years to come:

Blackboard Wall in the Kitchen:

blackboard wall - 02


blackboard wall

blackboard wall - 03b

Kitchen Photo Wall

photo wall


Mug rack on the wall:

mugs rack - maybe over the photos black board


Fridge side pantry slide out “wall”

For next to the fridge up against the wall I like the idea of this slide out pantry wall:

storage rack by the fridge idea

YPRADO GRP Windows and Doors

This week, one of the senior chaps from YPRADO came to the ARCO2 / ecofab offices to do a presentation on the YPRADO company and their Pultec®  GRP Windows & Doors.

Great to see a full sample window and a corner cross section.

GRP goes under several names:
GRP = Glass Re-enforced Plastic = Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics (FRP) = composite

Great to have the presentation and then discussion with Chris Dixon from YPRADO and the ARCO2 ecofab team.

  • Manufacture.
    • The GRP is pulled through the pulleys etc. The even and controlled drying out / curing of the GRP means that if damaged (like a GRP surf board) you don’t exposed glass fibres and un-cured resin that can give osmosis star crazing.
  • Maintenance needs (super low, just the metal hardware)
  • Lifespan (75 years plus, ease of replacing any glazing units that fail).
    • Outlasting PVC, Alu clad wood etc. means ends up being cheaper and lower environmental impact as one set of GRP windows and doors = 1+ sets if PVC, wood or Alu clad wood.
  • End of life recycling (theoretically possible, but nobody is currently doing this, but how much are Alu clad timber frames etc. properly recycled? Sadly, few if any).
    • In Europe their seem to be only 3 factories who can recycle GRP. ERCOM in Germany, MCR in France and Miljotek in Norway. They struggle to find markets for their recyclate.
    • Current end of GRP life is landfill (relatively cheap), incineration (50% becomes ash which is landfilled) or into cement production (energy from incineration and ash into the cement).
    • There is currently no market value for waste composite in the UK as recyclate. Other than a few firms which grind production waste and use it as filler. At the moment the recycling cost is too high. As the price of landfill goes up or the raw material price goes up, this could change.
  • Cost.
    • Outlasts alternatives, so over 30 years apparently cheaper than PVC.
    • Wood required re-painting every 3 or so years. Factor that cost in and the shorter life and more expensive.
    • Initial outlay can be lower. Current GRP quote from Pultec is a LOT less than the quote for Alu Clad wood doors and windows (that don’t have as good a thermal U-value !)

Photo of the sample window brought to the meeting. Focusing on the handle!

YPRADO - window handle

Pultec GRP Windows Specification

  • Triple glazed
  • Krypton fill
    • Argon has a thermal conductivity 67% that of air,
      krypton has about half the conductivity of argon.
    • Krypton is an inert gas, heavier and denser than Oxygen. It is colourless, odourless, tasteless and harmless. The Earth’s atmosphere is made up of approximately 0.00011% krypton. It is obtained by separating air into its constituent components by fractional distillation.
  • Warm edge spacers
  • Double Low ‘E’ softcoat.
    • This metal coating reflects heat (keeping heat in during the winter and sun heat out in the summer)
    • Soft coat Low E glass is more reflective than hard coat Low E glass.
    • Soft coat Low-E glass,  involves the application of silver, zinc or tin to glass in a vacuum. The glass enters a vacuum chamber filled with an inert gas which is electrically charged. The electricity combined with the vacuum allows molecules of metal to sputter onto the glass. The coating is fairly delicate or “soft.”
    • A “hard-coat” low-e application is done when the glass is in a molten state. The process results in a durable coating that can be used on storm doors and windows. A “soft-coat” low-e application happens after the glass is made. The soft coat is more efficient at reflecting heat energy, but also more delicate. This low-e coating always faces the insulating airspace in double or triple-pane glazing. Since soft coat emissivity can oxidize when exposed to air, argon or krypton gas is often used in the insulating airspace to help preserve the coating.

Summary of advantages of GRP Windows:

This summary is from an email from YPRADO.


  • “A” Rated in BRE Green Guide to Specification for Sustainable Construction (UK)
  • BREEAM: 4½ extra credits potentially available.
  • 22% is from a recycled source. Product 100% recyclable upon disposal.
  • 65% glass content, (silica/sand, the most abundant substance on the planet)
  • Sensitivity Report (emailed to me), quantifying environmental credentials by sustainability consultants Price & Myers, London.

Energy Efficiency:

  • “U” values 0.8 – 1.6 “U” W/M2K on the total window. 1.2 U value achieved with double glazing only, no need for triple (thus cheaper and less wear on hinges)
    • I’ve asked for triple glazing, so even better U Values.
  • Low embodied energy in pultrusion manufacturing process (confirmed by GreenBuildingForum threads, where there was however some discussion regarding the embodied energy of the raw materials).


  • Twice the strength to weight ratio of mild steel – cannot deform like aluminium
  • 75 years service life + 12 year Warranty.
  • Negligible coefficient of expansion, even if coated black
  • Performance unaffected in temperatures between +100C and -100C
  • Impervious to UV degradation
    • But the paint will slowly fade in colour.
    • The paint is over the white GRP frames. The paint chemically bonds to the GRP (unlike paint on Aluminium frames).
  • Impervious to salt corrosion and sea water.
  • Impervious to the harshest weather – effectively, indestructible by natural forces.

General performance:

  • Robust! – used on Young Mental Offenders Secure Units – Meets MOD anti-terrorist glazing requirements – DMG2 “Normal”
  • Secured by Design accredited – Police preferred specification – including both BS 7950 and PAS 23/24
  • Zero maintenance required – however, surface damage, structural repairs and re-painting can be easily undertaken on site, with no consequential liability for future applications.
    • You can just use surf board resin or similar.
  • High resistance to impact damage – will not deform under impact.
  • Highly price competitive with aluminium and timber/alu composite windows.
  • Any RAL colour available (200+ options)
  • Impervious to all chemicals and most acids.

Frame colour – RAL 5007

As per the planning application, the triple glazed windows are going to be framed in a grey / blue that ties in with the current grey / blue colouring of the current (original) Silver Spray building:

Silver Spray from the road (Google Earth)

The front garage and sign are a lighter blue than the blue on the building:

Silver Spray sign


The surrounding houses have also gone for shades of blue:

Neighbouring blues

By going to Silver Spray and comparing the colours to a RAL colour chart, the colour that seems the best match is RAL 5007.

It’s hard to show this on a screen, as different monitors and different graphics cards will show the same colour differently. But here are some attempts. The first is from a Google image search on “RAL 5007”.

RAL 5007 image search on Google

Then from a window company (http://www.plastixal.pl/www/fr/425,palette_de_couleurs.html) that shows different painted frames (well the corner, so the colour impact is bigger than it’ll actually be !).

RAL 5007 for glazing frames - 03

RAL 5007 for glazing frames - 02

RAL 5007 colour swatch



Frame the sea view ?

How about, as suggested ages ago by Jo Brannan, reducing some of the north, sea facing glazing (glass windows, doors, panels) to have more of a frame on the view.

Yes it’s great to have some rooms where it’s full whack the view, where the end side walls, roof and floor are the frame.

But maybe some other rooms have less glazing. Walls are also much more thermally efficient and cheaper for the heating efficiency of the building.

This extreme framing (ie mostly wall Vs small window) works to amazing effect.

The above photo is from www.houzz.com

For this endless ocean view, instead of the windows going floor to ceiling, the designer chose to pull the focus tight by using a smaller window. The minimally framed window creates the look of art on the wall and brings your attention to the balance of sea and sky and the subtle gradient of color.

It seems almost any frame, can end up adding to the view:

Corner Window Idea(s)

There is an idea to reduce the bulk / the massing of the top floor by putting a corner window on the NE corner.

So I’ve had a look at corner windows and found these on houzz.com

In the above building the corner window isn’t floor to ceiling and still seems to massively reduce the impact there would be if there was a solid corner.

A similar corner window would still allow the current block top floor where there isn’t a roof “cap” that extends beyond the walls.

Viewed from inside, this corner window isn’t floor to ceiling.  Neither is the image above.
Both seem to work well.

Looking at another Houzz.com corner window gallery >>

Again, the window isn’t floor to ceiling, but close !

On the top floor this could then have a column, before a (from inside) a, to the floor door that opens out onto the terrace.

Having supporting columns at or near the corner seems to work well too !

Corner columns can also be fine.
Look at this corner from the outside and inside (season shift):

and this corner window, with a corner frame piece on, what looks like an office building.

26 May 2012 Additions:

This image is interesting, not only for the corner window, but also for the lounge where there could be a problem getting triple glazing to the height, so a top window band strip might be a solution.