the first Certified Passivhaus in England, by Seymour-Smith Architectsthe AI PassivHaus

1st March 2010

Robin and Les dig out around the changes in level to prepare for the arrival of our gabion baskets

which arrive flat-packed, ready to be laced together and filled with our crushed stone...

Meanwhile, Andy Yates is doing a splendid job installing our stove flue. Can just picture the evenings sitting in front of this fire putting the world to rights...

and it’s great to see some plumbing going in now too...

2nd March 2010

Leighton puts his back into drilling through our lovely block walls to get hot and cold water into the bathrooms

and Robin and Les make a great job starting the gabions – really exciting to be finally working on the view…

4th March 2010

First view of some completed gabions to the changes in level. These are filled with the crushed stone that we excavated last year – can’t get a more local building material than that!

We make good use of one of the fork lift tynes (that we had had fabricated last year to unload the big packs of insulation with the farm fork lift) – it will be the spout for our water feature.

installation of the cable trays is progressing nicely

and our TiSUN thermal store has just arrived, which we’re thrilled about. It doesn’t look much at the moment, but it’s a splendid and very important piece of kit…

11th March 2010

The first of the ceiling conduits for lighting is installed. With all the services like this on show, lots of thought has gone into routing and positioning conduits and cable trays – they become an important design element.

This is the all-singing all-dancing pump for our solar system, which will also collect and store temperature data.

15th March 2010

More cable trays and ducts – looking good…

and the gabions are looking mighty fine too (the render they’re against is a waterproof base coat – will be beautiful crisp white later)

More gabions at the other end of the house...

and splendid to see the inside flooded with light like this – almost looks finished enough to move in…

17th March 2010

The thermal store, showing the clever solar heat exchange coil to its right. This connects to the thermal store at four different heights, ensuring that the hot water is always delivered to the right part of the thermal store, keeping it well stratified with the hottest water at the top.

18th March 2010

The two big metal boxes contain coils that Leighton is linking to the top of the thermal store. If it gets chilly in the house, hot water will be circulated through these, which will heat the incoming ventilation air.

All of this clever gubbins is starting to look really rather fabulous… Note – there is NO boiler!  The thermal store is heated by the Solex system on the barn roof and backed up by our wood-burning stove.  This will give us all the hot water we need, and the ventilation system (white box to the left) will distribute warm air throughout the house.

30th March 2010

The floor has been prepared ready for its screed topping. We’ve put blue foam strips around all the walls to allow for expansion as it cures, making sure it doesn’t crack. And the black polythene on the floor is to prevent little air bubbles from the concrete rising to the surface and forming voids in the screed. It was quite a headache getting around all the wiring conduits…

31st March 2010

A fantastically exciting day, as, after a few false starts, our floor screed is finally being poured.

The aggregate is 100% crushed glass bottles, that would otherwise have gone to landfill – in fact, our floor uses 20 tonnes of recycled glass – saving 100 cubic metres of land fill space...

and the binder part of the screed is derived from desulphurised gypsum (DSG), a by product of the emissions cleaning desulpurisation process being carried out at coal fired power stations.

This is a flowing screed, pumped throughout the house with a long hose. It’s also a quick-drying formulation, that crystallises and locks in the water, rather than waiting for it to evaporate like a conventional screed (we learnt our lesson waiting for the plaster to dry in an airtight house!)

It finds its own level, and is just gently dappled to remove any air bubbles. The whole house is finished in a day, and can be walked on within a few hours.