the first Certified Passivhaus in England, by Seymour-Smith Architects

the AI PassivHaus

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AI are our key partners in this exciting venture, supplying all of the (mainly precast) concrete elements of the house. They, like us, see this as a great chance to promote PassivHaus principles, and to eventually create a template that can be much repeated.

Concrete will bring major benefits to the passive eco design, in the exploitation of its thermal mass, and in that it will form a monolithic structure which will be naturally airtight. Concrete is the only sensible material for an underground house, and earth-sheltered construction is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to build.

The use of precast concrete in particular will give all of the benefits of off-site construction with reduced wastage, but will also of course give a superior finish, important because much of it will be exposed internally. The interior is carefully designed to show that concrete is sexy.

web:     www.aggregate.com
e-mail:  corporate.communications@aggregate.com
tel:       +44 (0)1530 816600    
           
 

Waterproofing is obviously key in an underground construction. We chose Fosroc for our waterproofing partly because of the large range of waterproofing solutions they are able to offer, and particularly because of their innovative Proofex Engage product. This is a high performance membrane which sits beneath the concrete floor slab, mechanically bonding to it when the concrete is poured, allowing the entire slab to be exposed within the building for the benefit of its thermal mass.

web:     www.fosroc.com
e-mail:  uk@fosroc.com
tel:       +44 (0)1827 262222 

 

Dow are supplying the STYROFOAM insulation that completely surrounds our house.  This is the only extruded polystyrene insulation made in the UK.  Extruded polystyrene can cope with being outside the waterproof envelope, and has high enough compressive strength to sit below the concrete structure, leaving the all-important thermal mass exposed internally.

web:     www.building.dow.com
e-mail:  fkltech@dow.com
tel:       +44 (0)20 3139 4000

 

The StoTherm Classic insulated facade system provides industry-leading impact resistance and excellent thermal performance that is so vital to Passivhaus design. The self-cleaning render finish also provides high crack-resistance, and will give us the crisp finish we are looking for.

We will also be incorporating some StoSilent Modular acoustic ceiling sails (made from 96% recycled glass) inside the house, to cut down reverberation times due to the many hard surfaces.

From the large range of Sto interior and façade paints, we will be using StoClimasan Color for our internal walls. This innovative, odour-eating paint contains a catalyst that, when exposed to light, becomes active in breaking down odours and other airborne pollutants. StoClimasan Color is the only interior paint to work with artifical light. It is VOC-free to help provide us with a healthy living environment.

web:     www.sto.co.uk
e-mail:  info.uk@stoeu.com
tel:       +44 (0)1256 332770

 

Our Optiwin windows are Passivhaus certified, and are thermally broken with 3 separate layers of insulation (cork, wood fibre and sheep's wool), providing excellent thermal efficiency.  They are also are the slimmest frame on the market for passive windows, and have lots of options for opening features - tilt and turn, turn, bi fold, tilt and slide and sliding windows.

They are designed for the insulation on the outside of the building to overlap the frames, which is thermally efficient as well as looking good.  They have also been great as a company in terms of service, technical support and lead time.

web:     www.optiwinwindows.co.uk
e-mail:  sales@optiwinwindows.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)845 528 0330




Solex solar roofing, which we have used on the south facing barn roof slope, is an innovative solar hot water system, replacing traditional roof coverings with toughened glass tiles, which cover solar absorbers.

This system gives all the benefits of solar hot water panels, but without the bolt-on appearance. The fact that this is used instead of slates (rather than on top of them) provides significant cost savings. The cost per m2 is also cheaper than conventional solar panels, allowing us to install a greater area of collectors, and save more CO2.

web:     www.solexenergy.co.uk
e-mail:  info@solexenergy.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)1305 837223


 

We used Lignacite blocks internally, chosen primarily for their extremely impressive eco-credentials.  For walls to be plastered, we've used Ashlite "Waste not Warrior", which have an impressive 90% recycled content (ash, glass, ground granulated blastfurnace slag and recrushed concrete).  For fairfaced blockwork to be painted, we've used the unique medium density "Lignacite" block, which replaces aggregate with graded wood particles, a selected waste wood product from the timber industry.

These products are unique in that they will give us all the eco benefits of thermal mass without the environmental impact associated with traditional concrete blocks.

web:     www.lignacite.co.uk
e-mail:  info@lignacite.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)1842 810678





Our wonderful kitchen was designed, supplied and fitted by Kuche. Not only does it look fabulous and work beautifully (with Blum mechanics), it also has good environmental credentials. Wood products are supported by FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) as well as Woodland Heritage. And the finish we chose is eco friendly "soft touch”, high performance water based lacquer with low VOC, giving a dead matt finish.

The service we received from Kuche was outstanding, particularly their attention to detail.

web:     www.kuche.co.uk
e-mail:  kitchens@kuche.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)845 094 9591





Limitless supplied and installed our Parans fibre optic lighting system, an innovative and environmental way of bringing natural sunlight from the outside, inside.  Parans allows gloomy or artificially-lit rooms to be transformed with beautiful (and beneficial) natural sunlight.  Sunlight is collected by external solar panels and channelled inside using flexible fibre optic cables. The sunlight flows out into the desired location through a unique range of Parans luminaires. We used these along the back wall of our kitchen, the deepest part of the plan.

web:     www.limitless.uk.com 
e-mail:  info@limitless.uk.com
tel:       +44 (0) 1373 831 497






TiSUN supplied our super-stratified thermal store. It’s astonishing how difficult it is to find a simple and low carbon hot water system once you’ve done away with the need for a central heating boiler – but we think we got there in the end. We chose this thermal store as the best way of linking – and maximising the output from – our solar hot water and wood stove back-boiler.

web:     www.tisun.com 
e-mail:  Geoff.Miller@tisun.com
tel:       +44 (0) 787 563 8224





The installation of the two external screens to the SW facing windows was carried out by Caribbean Blinds (UK) Ltd, the market leaders in the design, manufacture and supply of exterior solar shading solutions that deliver real energy saving benefits.  Their screens will improve the building's energy performance by limiting solar gain in the summer and allowing it in the winter, whilst controlling light levels, cutting glare, improving visual comfort and providing privacy but maintaining the view and connection with the outside world.  The screens will be motorised and linked to heat and light sensors so they are able to automatically react to the external climatic conditions, positioning themselves accordingly to provide perfect thermal comfort.

web:     www.cbsolarshading.co.uk
e-mail:  info@cbsolarshading.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0) 844 800 1947





UGS Ltd supplied all of the pipework, chambers etc for both the foul and surface water drainage systems.  The product was Osmadrain, manufactured by Wavin Plastics in the UK.  We chose them because it was really important for us to specify a quality and robust system for the perimeter drainage around our underground house, which forms an important part of the waterproofing.

UGS are a really forward-thinking and entrepreneurial builders merchant, set up and based locally to us, but now with naitonwide coverage.

web:     www.ugs.uk.com
e-mail:  banbury@ugs.uk.com
tel:       +44 (0)1295 672 000



 

Heli-fix supplied and Cotswold Structural Services installed this clever system of long corkscrew-like ties to consolidate and strengthen the existing barn walls. The crumbly old barn walls are of uncoursed cotswold stone, constructed in two leaves with rubble between. The Heli-beam system was able to tie these leaves together as well as to stabilise cracks and tie the 3 elevations together.

web:     www.helifix.com
e-mail:  sales@helifix.com
tel:       +44 (0)20 8735 5222 

web:     www.cotswoldstructural.co.uk
e-mail:  info@cotswoldstructural.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)1242 578616 

 


fantastic lighting supply and design:

web:     www.lightmaster-direct.co.uk
e-mail:  sales@lightmaster-direct.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0) 1608 682 115
 




Knollands specialises in the supply of eco friendly sewerage systems. The plant supplied was a Biopure 3, deep invert with a gravity discharge. The advantages of the Biopure system are that it has a lower power consumption, lower maintenance need, longer desulging periods and is easier to install than similar products.

web:     www.knollands.co.uk
e-mail:  info@knollands.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0) 845 094 5603




We've used four Rainwater HOGs to harvest the rainwater from the barn roof for watering the kitchen garden.  This fabulous product allows the house-proud and the eco-conscious to harvest their rainwater without compromising space or aesthetics.  HOG modules can be used horizontally or vertically, and are designed to fit under decks, houses, along walls and fences.  Uses include irrigation, toilet flushing , laundry and car washing.

web:     www.rainwaterhog.co.uk
email:   david@rainwaterhog.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0) 800 520 0310




The gabion retaining walls were our ultimate bit of recycling – they were filled with the rock we dug out of the ground, crushed on site. The baskets supplied by Hy-Ten were welded mesh, with special helical coil connectors, which look great and are also child friendly.

web:     www.hy-tengabions.com 
e-mail:  sales@hy-tengabions.com
tel:       +44 (0)1902 712200







Our aluminium powder coated cappings were fabricated and installed by JB Products Ltd. They were able to offer us an incredibly fast turnaround, coupled with an exceptional quality product and fabulous installation expertise. We’re thrilled with the results.

web:     www.jbproducts.co.uk
e-mail:  info@jbproducts.co.uk
tel:       +44(0)1384 563 510





Polypipe supplied us with the Polystorm water storage cells, which will form our sustainable surface water soakaway.  As well as stormwater management, they have also been unexpectedly incredibly useful throughout the build as ladders, scaffolding, props, tables, chairs, ballast...

web:     www.polypipewms.com
e-mail:  wmsenquiries@polypipe.com
tel:       +44 (0)1509 615100





splendid wonky building paintings

web:     www.dylanizaak.co.uk
e-mail:  info@dylanisaak.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)1789 491107





Albioncourt are specialist manufacturers of lampshades & pendants producing for all contract sectors whether hospitality, commercial, retail or residential, and are frequently specified by architectural and design practices. We asked for 3 simple shallow drums, with diffusers, in a bright orange to go over the dining table, and were delighted to receive exactly what we needed almost by return.

web:     www.albioncourt.co.uk
e-mail:  info@albioncourt.co.uk
tel:       +44 (0)1747 822818