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Musical interlude while C19 settles down



I was due to be writing about the happy day when my SIPS kit arrived on the Island, but instead I find that I have closed up the site and reduced outgoings as much as possible because the SIPS team can't be accomodated and fed on the Island given current restrictions, and travelling the length of the country is hardly sensible conduct at this stage.



Just so there is something to see from the site, here is the beam and block floor going in. Close to 1000 blocks and 68 beams placed in 3 days by 3 people and 1digger. The white blocks have good thermal properties and will be used along with a PIR insulation upstand at the sole plate interface to reduce the thermal bridge.


So now I have to find something else to write about. I haven't said much here about the house design and my goals.

Here are the floor plans as submitted for planning permission. Chris (my architect) and I spent time discussing dimensions and circulation spaces but the overall concept remains to my original plan. The only change from planning to build is that the main bathroom has been flipped so that the large cupboard will double up as a service access.




These pictures show the elevations (apart from north west - which is really boring). The planners decided I had to have real wooden cladding instead of cedral. Bricks were similarly not allowed.



You may ask why there isn't a window in the obvious place on the SW elevation. It makes the bedroom layout impossible! The master bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, so the half round window will provide light from the SW and the window on the SE will provide a good view of the garden. I have designed a sundial to fit in the place where one might otherwise have expected a window.


The house will be a SIPS panel build, aiming for a good SAP A rating without "cheating" by putting a vast solar PV power station on the roof. Because of the design of the roof, based on SIPS panels and purlins, the attic space is open. This gives a good amount of space for hobby rooms or allows eventual accomodation of 6 double bedroooms. There is a designed in space for a spiral staircase to access the attic.


There is no mains gas and I am not keen on burning things within the house so it will run on electricity. I plan to fit 6.6kW of solar PV panels (apprx 20) on the southern roof space. This should generate sufficient energy for 60% to 80% of hot water and heating needs. Heating and cooling will be provided by a ducted airconditioning system and hot water by a thermal store or unvented cylinder driven by an immersion heater. I will be allowing provision for water heating by ASHP but initially this seems unnecessary. Similarly, I am provisioning space for a battery storage system but will wait for battery pricing to drop.


I will be installing a rain water capture system and using it for toilets, garden and probably clothes washing. I know the payback is long, but my building inspector is quite keen I make an effort at meeting the water use targets, and this tips the balance and allows the bath that the boss has asked for.


Final SAP rating for the design was 96 (with limited solar PV) and well over 100 with the full 6.6kW.

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Hi @dnb seems you are at around the same stage as me - my frame was due to go up in two weeks!


I'm interested in hearing a few details of your build - in particular you mention insulation upstand, can you elaborate on this for me please.  Also your air con/heating solution.





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The insulation upstand is a very simple idea. I plan to batten the inside of the house to create a thin (30mm apprx) service void between the SIPS and plasterboard.  This void only needs to extend down as far as the wall sockets. Below this, a 30mm thickness of PIR will be attached to the SIPs panel down to the bottom of the floor insulation. Thus the insulation is as contiguous as possible and the thermal bridge at the sole plate is minimised.  I'll dig out a picture.


The aircon is simply a 6 kW Mitsubishi unit that will fit in the plant room ceiling with ducts going to all the rooms through various service voids. It will share some ducting with the MVHR where this is sensible. The nice thing about modern inverter air con units is a good coefficient of performance whether it is heating or cooling. And I expect the house to spend a lot of time requiring cooling.

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8 hours ago, dnb said:

Below this, a 30mm thickness of PIR will be attached to the SIPs panel down to the bottom of the floor insulation. 

I get you now, so this an internal upstand, I thought you may have been doing something externally.


8 hours ago, dnb said:

The aircon is simply a 6 kW Mitsubishi unit that will fit in the plant room ceiling with ducts going to all the rooms through various service voids. It will share some ducting with the MVHR where this is sensible. 

I'd be interested to learn more about what you are doing here as I suspect you have trodden a path I want to walk. 


Our builds are very similar in terms of SIP, size, no gas, all electric, a good chunk of PV. 


I also think aircon is the sensible thing to do - in the summer when needed it will be paid for by the PV so a no brainer.


At the minute I have them as two separate systems, ASHP to the UFH and air con to it's own manifold in loft.


They are both the same thing - a heat pump. What I havent investigated is whether I can get both uses out of one heat pump - UFH and air con (too busy looking at other stuff).


Thinking about it now there are many on here who use the ASHP to cool the slab but it is the same O/P - ASHP --> UFH pipes. Can this O/P be switched from UFH pipes to aircon ducts? (Just thinking out loud now as you've got me pondering this now!).


Yeah, be interested to hear where you're going with your set up.





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A friend took his daily walk past my site a couple of days ago. He had his drone with him so indulged in some aerial photography. Not a bad picture of the house foundations and site. Much better now the site has drained. We can't wait to get on with the next stage.



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