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Nick Thomas

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  1. One place left on https://cat.org.uk/events/build-a-tiny-house-test-august-2024/
  2. Oh nice, it's battery storage as well as PV. https://sunnica.co.uk/ . So already a kind of hybrid site. Another way to model this would be that we're swapping 0.006% (ish) of our agricultural land to increase our generation capacity by 0.06% (ish).
  3. These do exist: https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-news/2022/our-two-new-hybrid-parks-have-launched-today Food self-sufficiency is a bit of a red herring here; national strategy is focused on security of supply, and isn't particularly bothered about small-scale land swaps in and out of agriculture. The UK has 17 million hectares of agricultural land; taking 1K hectares away reduces food production capacity by 0.006%. Or to put it another way, we could do 200 of these before the impact was worth walking about.
  4. Hah. Wouldn't that be something? But no, it's not the joints.
  5. Another bag down. Managed to destroy my foot somehow doing this, so I'm out of action for a bit now. Tendonitis or something? From going up and down the ladder in stupid shoes? Sigh.
  6. OK, unit finished except for shelves, doors and trim. Sink is arriving tomorrow, so I get to start fitting services soon. I figure I'll make them all temporary and pluggable until I can dig a trench and get a Real Electrician™ out for that side of things. Got a second coat on the east wall, and it's looking much better than I expected it to. It still undulates, but most of the smaller-scale variation is just... gone. Trowelling it on is much harder and slower than slapping it on with my hands though ^^. One bag went pretty far; the remaining seven ought to be enough to finish this coat everywhere, but I'll definitely need more for the final coat.
  7. I wouldn't worry too much about doing this. I've read that the difference between peak export and normal rate import is there to compensate for the inefficiencies in battery storage, although I forget where.
  8. I'm having a break from the lime render before starting the next coat. Decided to convert a bunch of offcuts from the ceiling and floor into a unit running the length of the round window wall. I can screw it to the floor joists and render right up to it, to make it integrated AF. Leaving the render behind it just basecoated will save me some too. I had to buy some 2x1 and 2x2 to make a frame to hang everything off, and all I could get on a Saturday afternoon was rough-sawn from b&q, so I got to play with an electric planer too. Progress so far... well... it's a pine box ^^. Don't stand on it yet. I'm planning to divide it into three compartments with panels made out of planks surrounded by 2x1, which will make it a bit sturdier. The perimeter is all 2x2. I was going to have a go at mortise and tenon joints, but chickened out and am just using lots of glue and pocket screws. I guess I'll need trim pieces on the front, and some jiggery-pokery to get the wood closer to the lime. The sink will be in the corner closest to the door - probably a counter-top one, to minimise holes through the worktop, with a couple more bits of 2x2 to support it underneath. Then a couple of sockets in each of the other compartments. Cables and pipes will come through from the back. Doors? I guess? They'll have to be flush with the trim, the floorboard offcuts being used for the worktop aren't long enough to give me a decent overhang ^^. Each compartment will be about 7000mm wide at the front, so 2x 350mm doors? I don't have any wood for them yet. I need wood for shelves too. I've got some old decking boards that were going to be the floor; maybe they'd look alright, planed up a bit.
  9. I was staring at my garage door last night while planing some wood. What a good idea ^^. It sounds like your supplier is saying their doors have a U value from 4.8 to 5.4 W/m²K, which is... not much. Basically the same as single glazing. You can convert it to an R value by dividing 1 by it: U=5.4 = R=0.18. Doesn't sound insulated at all... ("Rating" is a weird term to use here, but they're giving you the unit so I'm confident it's not an obscure rating scheme. Language barrier?) Don't think I'd get planning permission to convert my garage into living space, so if well-insulated garage doors *do* exist that might help a lot.
  10. Hah, I meant my calculation was naive, not yours ^^. You're doing great, tackle the jobs you have time for and come back to the rest when you can.
  11. I did come across some rules while working out the planning and building regulations constraints. No prohibition - at least, none that I found - but if you're building within a certain distance of the boundary (which I definitely am) then the height and footprint limits are reduced compared to if you were building out of brick. With the lime render on, the fire resistance is very good, so maybe one could argue that it's not equivalent to, say, a wooden shed - but I'd rather not be talking to them at all 😅.
  12. OK, I wasn't expecting it to look this good. Amazing what a bit of dappled light can achieve. Keeping the tree alive was absolutely worth it ^^. The bubble window is only on temporarily, it'll come off again for the next coats. Looks alright though.
  13. It was a very naive calculation, but it gives you a ballpark to see how you feel about the costs upfront. Retrofitting this stuff later can be a pain ^^. Also remember that it's an assumption based on when it's 0 outside; seems the mean in January in Reading is actually 5°C. Getting up to temp, as @JohnMo noted, would require extra heat going in above the 1.15kW - that's just what's required to *maintain* the temperature difference (i.e., how much heat is leaving the building, and so, how much need to be replaced to maintain steady state). One benefit of better insulation is that the same size of heat source will get the building up to temperature faster in the mornings. It does take time to install, but, it'll probably be faster if you do it in the first place rather than retrofitting it ^^.
  14. OK, basecoat on all but a tiny section of the outside now - and a few awkward bits of reveal. Eleven bags of lime used, nine remaining. That's a lot thirstier than I expected, but the remaining bags should be sufficient to do the straightening coat (1:2.5 lime:sand) and I can always buy some pre-mixed finish coat, since I'd need to get the finer sand for it anyway. Hessian up - and regularly watered - to protect from wind and sun externally, which makes getting pictures a pain, but here's a few I remembered to take. So far it all seems pretty sound. I've had to redo a few small sections, especially in places where the straw is loose - soft bales or bale ends, at the reveals and corners. It's a nightmare to get it to stick when it's like that, and you can easily end up with voids behind the render. Presumably this would be less of a problem if I'd done a stipple coat ^^. Easy to find and fix though - and the rest of the render holds the straw firmly in place while patching. I could have been more diligent about scratching up this coat; sometimes I've forgotten, or thought "I'll do that tomorrow" and by then it's too hard to rework. Not really anticipating any problems as a result, though, it's really rough. Next up is straightening; I've got a darby, but could do with a pool float. Don't really want to pay £60 for one though. I also need a wood float, although the temptation is to just attach a handle to a bit of offcut ^^.
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