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About Eileen

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    It's usually Nigel masquerading as Eileen - it's just that she signed on first!
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  1. Hi Nick - our ASHP is 6kwDaikin Altherma and was installed by the plumbers, and the UFH separately bya specialist sub-contractor working with our plumbers. This is entirely separate from the electrically heated Sunamp, which we just use for DHW and which was also installed by the plumbers. At the time Sunamp really weren't geared up to supporting people like that with no previous Sunmp experience (as opposed to highly-motivated diy self-builders) but I think that's improved now. We recently had to replace our Sunamp under warranty as it leaked PCM material. Apparently that was a known problem with V1 of the new range (a missing O ring , now fixed. A specialist installer came and did that.
  2. Congratulations! I'm not sure how hand on you're intending to be, but with our Passivhaus build, the really important thing was to have a "Passivhaus champion". Our project manager got enthused and went on the training and then indoctrinated all the subcontractors and was on their case the whole time. He personally did much of the taping. He was even disappointed when we "only" got 0.56 on the final airtightness test!
  3. We've now been shortlisted for the RIBA regional awards - so awaiting the jury visit "some time"!
  4. One thing to watch out for - we also built on a virgin plot so my wife (Eileen that is, as this is her husband writing), who did the garden design, was very keen. However, we found that some quite large areas had been really trashed by the groundworkers. Having moved away the topsoil at the start it was then pushed back, but beneath it the sub-soil was very compacted and had lost all its structure and if we dig into the topsoil we often find puddles underneath. As a result, several trees have died, although we did belatedly dig some drainage trenches near them. I guess we should have kept a closer eye and had them do a bit of breaking up of the subsoil before re-laying the top soil, but of course everyone was rushing in a mid-December period. BTW I'm not the gardener so this is a layman's description!
  5. Eileen


    On batteries - we have a 10kWh LG DC battery (originally ordered a Tesla AC battery, but that caused a problem because of the limit set by Western Power). Over 2019 we used 4.95MWh of our solar power, of which 2.25 came via the battery. We are on the lowest feedin tariff as we only just made it before the cut-off, so we save in the order of 10-12p per kWh by avoiding the roundtrip to the grid for those 2250kWh. I can see that a little more capacity, such as the 13kWh offered by Tesla would be optimum, and that's about where some research I read put it for the normal domestic situation. We're switching to a variable tariff this year so I hope we'll be able to time-shift the cheaper power then. Even at the crappy feed-in rate our net electricity cost was zero (we are all electric, including borehole water and sewage treatment pant, so that's the only utility bill). In the summer quarter we were asked by the electric company to provide photos of our feed-in meter to prove we were telling the truth about how high it was, and by another part of the same company to check our readings on the consumption side because they were so low!
  6. @kayeCIL came along just after our new-build but we paid some S106 charges that were relatively low. However, on looking at our local planning authority site it confirms that new builds are exempt, BUT it says that you must apply for and recive an official exemption certificate before you commence development, otherwise you will be liable for the full charge. So it would definitely be worth checking if your authority is the same.
  7. @Ferdinand - coincidentally, 1,000 years is about the same timeline for our energy savings to pay for the project!
  8. We’ve got a concrete basement too - we couldn’t go up so we had to go down!
  9. @Thorfun it needs to be occupied and then you have a two year window for the awards. By that time the need for sustainability credentials will really be ramped up - ref the RIBA 2030 challenge.
  10. We've been entered by our architects for the RIBA 2020 awards, but all the regional shortlist announcements have been postponed. RIBA are now putting a big emphasis on sustainability for the awards, which is good for us. So finger crossing will be for longer than expected....
  11. @eekoh which one was it and did it get an award?
  12. That’s what we thought @Randomiser - nothing was actually innovative in the sense of first use, which in fact is likely to be pretty rare. Oddly enough they supported another one since and made the point that it was innovative because it was built from panels that were constructed off-site! We did that too, but it didn’t cross our mind to claim that it was innovative.
  13. When we started down the para 55/79 route our Planners seemed to have a "never mind the quality, feel the width" attitude! At the meeting following our first pre-app they said we'd need to go down the para 55 route and then to put us off they physically dropped in front of us the 2 volume, 200 A3 page D&A statement for the one and only previous successful one in the area (Sadler Brown too) and said that this is what they'd be looking for! The other thing was that they said they required exceptional design AND innovation, notwithstanding the deliberate OR in para 55/79. As it turned out the design review panel said yes, the planners said no, but the develop committee overruled them.