A quick round-up of some of the components and materials specified.
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Solar water heating
A Thermomax vacuum tube system will be installed. The manufacturers claim it provides up to 70% of your annual hot water free.
Compressed Earth Blocks
Sumatec hydraulically compressed earth blocks are used as the main load-bearing construction for the three-storey building. Normal clay bricks and blocks are fired at high temperatures in a kiln, and concrete blocks are made for cement which is responsible for 5% of global CO2 emissions. These unfired clay blocks use waste clay which is too earthy to make into bricks, and they have very low embodied energy. The blocks store heat very well, and they can also help to moderate or control the internal humidity in the building and act as a natural air-conditioning system. They absorb moisture when it is too humid and give it out again when it is too dry.
Warmcel insulation is used in the new cavity being constructed inside those brick walls which will remain as outer walls. Warmcel is manufactured from 100% recycled waste newspaper and has extremely low embodied energy, requiring far less energy to produce than any other mainstream insulation material. It does not contain any added formaldehyde and is free from CFCs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other toxic substances.
Collecting and using rainwater from a roof for toilets, laundry and the garden can reduce water consumption by up to 50%. It will also reduce the amount of water discharged into the drainage system. The water is filtered and stored below ground, using equipment from Rainharvesting Systems.
Glazing and light transmission
- Triple glazed windows
- Mykon translucent panels for internal screens and landing floor to allow light into the heart of the house
This takes hot water from the solar panels on the roof and (when necessary) from the small log-burning stove, and stores it for several days.
- Glaster, a plaster using ground up recycled glass bound with lime
- Earth-based plaster using natural clay
- Kitchen worksurface using reprocessed recycled glass
- Floor finishes made from rammed and polished red clay dug up from the foundation excavations on the site
Tying it all together
Specifying an insulating wall tie shows the sheer attention to detail that has gone into this design. Wall ties are usually small stainless steel objects which stop the inner and outer brick skins of a cavity wall construction from parting company. In this case, a new skin is being built inside the two original brick walls which will remain as outer walls, and the TeploTies used are made from basalt fibre.
GreenPro is an on-line with details of over 1000 green building products available in the UK. arranged in over 40 categories. It includes in-depth descriptions of every product, collated technical data and comparisons across product types.
The AECB (Sustainable Building Association) database may also be helpful.