kxi

New Para 79 development approved, party on sustainability grounds

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A new paragraph 79 residential development has just been approved in Yorkshire

https://ruralsolutions.co.uk/para79-landscape-ampleforth/

 

And I think it is interesting to see the approach the planning consultants & architects have (successfully) taken in order to get this kind of 'modern country house' style permission;

Planning consultant application https://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/documents/s45692/11 - Planning Statement-.pdf

Architect's design statement https://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/documents/s45797/Item 6 - 0.pdf

 

They have weighed heavily on both the unusual design and the proposed sustainabilty features such as an interseasonal heat bank and trombe walls.

 

I'm torn between feeling 'good for them' and frustration about the apparant difference in planning consideration given in grand schemes like this vs that applied in 'normal' planning when it comes to weird/interesting modern design and innovative/unproven sustainability features.

 

In my very limited experience, our local planners did not care about sustainability features for one second (other than an overwhelming desire to reduce car usage) and unusual design was absolutely the last thing they wanted to see. I'm sure this is a well worn topic, but it appears the planning system is geared to resist innovation except for the super rich.

 

In terms of the individual sustainability features proposed, I'm interested to see the effectiveness of an interseasonal heat store, here apparantly driven by ground-mounted solar thermal collectors. Though it is odd that despite this heat storage, and the trombe walls, they also plan to supplement with IR heaters. I'm not clear why a conventional ASHP or GSHP wouldn't just be better either as a supplement or replacement? Is their approach that sustainable if they opt for a 1:1 electrical heating top-up? Is this a genuinely effective sustainability proposal, or is it a means to a planning end, bouyed up by 11 kWh of PV? The sustainability statements focus entirely on energy generation and recovery, and nothing on fabric first, presumably reflecting the buttons they know to push from a planning point of view.

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Oh dear, hard hats folks... trombe walls... had to look it up.

 

I dare you to read this The sheer number of times the term Thermal Mass was used, bound to wake the Sleeping Giant.😮

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I read that as 79 dwellings, and thought that the 'group of dwellings' idea had finally succeeded with para 79 🙂 .


Could you drop in a link to the Officer's Report, and quote the Planning App number at Ryedale Council, which may be useful? Cheers.

 

F

Edited by Ferdinand

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3 hours ago, AnonymousBosch said:

Oh dear, hard hats folks... trombe walls... had to look it up.

 

I dare you to read this The sheer number of times the term Thermal Mass was used, bound to wake the Sleeping Giant.😮

I dared-- 

correct me if wrong ,but it looks like a glass wall with a reflective surface on inside which allows solar to come through from outside and heat the "THERMAL MASS"

the reflective surface (on the glass) stops it exiting as quick as it came in

 

Edited by scottishjohn
  • Confused 1

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Did my entire detailed comment that I edited over the empty one just vanish?

What did I do?

Edited by Ferdinand

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8 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

Did my entire detailed comment that I edited over the empty one just vanish?

What did I do?

 

The comment 2 up from here? I think only admin can see this detail. We can only see that you edited it. 

  • Thanks 1

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25 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

[...]
What did I do?

 

You appeared at that time to have saved an empty post , F. So I deleted it - after checking I saw the same thing on my  laptop, phone  and PC

Apologies if I made an error.

Ian

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2 minutes ago, AnonymousBosch said:

 

You appeared at that time to have saved an empty post , F. So I deleted it - after checking I saw the same thing on my  laptop, phone  and PC

Apologies if I made an error.

Ian

 

Thanks. Never mind.

 

I had published in error some time ago, and then removed the incomplete stuff for re-editing properly.

 

Unfortunate timing.

 

F

Edited by Ferdinand

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@scottishjohn re Trombe walls, I think they come in two versions:

 

1. Only radiant heating

This is just a big wall with glazing outside that heats up in the sun and then very slowly conducts heat through to the inside and then radiates into the room. The glazing just helps heat it up. The thick wall stores the heat via its thermal capacity biggishness and releases slowly later in the day aka decrement delay.

 

Image result for trombe wall

 

To do this, the wall has to be UNinsulated on the inside. This design does not seem a good idea in the UK climate and wouldn't meet building regulations.

 

2. Mainly convection heating

The glazing traps sunlight, heating both the air and the thermaly bigly capacity wall behind it. When heating is desired vents are opened at top and bottom of this wall allowing a convection current to flow up, taking heat from the sun during the day and slowly released from the wall in the evening / night. Some designs even include a large water tank on the outside of the wall.

 

Image result for trombe wall

 

Not insulating the inside of the wall seems pretty foolish but most descriptions seem to leave this out. 

 

If insulated, this version seems better for a UK climate (or indeed any climate...) but from a passivhaus-principles POV the vents would seem an airtightness weakspot. Unless the air barrier layer is actually the external glazing and that this is double/triple glazed.

 

TBH I'm skepitcal whether the concept is really that useful in the UK when compared to other measures (like say triple glazing+shading strategy+ASHP), but I expect someone else knows more.

 

 

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I think that selling a Trombe Wall as "innovation" or "energy saving" is misconceived - this is only billed as saving 6000 kWh per year, and the same can be achieved using a few solar panels and a couple of Heaters in the slab. 

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Trombe walls as an idea have been around for a few decades, but tend to take up space and are far from being the best way to increase the thermal time constant (which is largely what they are doing).  It's much simpler and easier to just design the structure to have a long decrement delay, be well-insulated and airtight. 

 

Solar gain is a mixed blessing in a low energy house in the UK.  We find it's just a bloody nuisance, as all it does is make the house too warm.  If you have a house that only needs a tiny amount of heating, the ability of the sun to chuck maybe 500 W to 800 W of heat per square metre into it becomes a real PITA.  The real issue we have is getting rid of heat, not keeping the house warm.  As a case in point, it was sunny here yesterday, our heating hadn't been on for a couple of days and despite all our measures to reduce solar gain, the house was close to 24°C by late afternoon. 

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1 minute ago, Ferdinand said:

I think that selling a Trombe Wall as "innovation" or "energy saving" is misconceived - this is only billed as saving 6000 kWh per year, and the same can be achieved using a few solar panels and a couple of Heaters in the slab. 

 

Yes, this is part of my frustration. This design appears to have been sold as para 79 partly on the basis of these 'innovative' sustainability features. Wheras the features are in at least one case (trombe walls) probably just not a good idea at least in UK climate, and better sustainability (& comfort, etc) can be had via more conventional approaches.

 

Taken to an extreme one might even view this as borderline fraud in order to enable access to a planning permission that would not be available via the normal route. For example if a normal rural house application were to say "I will use high insulation, high airtightness, long thermal time constant walls, and a heat pump" e.g. a timber frame + pumped cellulose + triple glazed + ASHP, this would AFAIK cut no ice with the planners who would just say 'don't care, it's a rural house and as such necessarily unsustainable and therefore not allowed'. In the above case, it would appear that exotic / little-used methods have been proposed in order to win over the planners in a way possible under para 79, but not elsewhere. This feels incorrect.

 

That said, I'm very interested to see to what extent interseasonal heat banks MIGHT be used to show improvements over conventional heat pump setups. But I suspect, as with GSHP in general, it's probably not worth the effort.

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31 minutes ago, Jeremy Harris said:

The real issue we have is getting rid of heat, not keeping the house warm. 

 

I wonder to what extent there is a heat dumping issue with trombe walls - once you superheat all the air and wall but it's too hot inside....what do you do? I assume they should also include external vents on the glazing side that would allow you to cool the wall with an external convection flow. Or use one with a water tank & circuit as the thermal storage. But it's all irrelevant for the UK I suspect.

Edited by kxi
additional option added

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7 minutes ago, kxi said:

That said, I'm very interested to see to what extent interseasonal heat banks MIGHT be used to show improvements over conventional heat pump setups. But I suspect, as with GSHP in general, it's probably not worth the effort.

 

Once you get a house down to where the heating requirement is around 1,500 to 2,000 kWh/year, it may well be possible to build an inter-seasonal heat store to meet the heating needs, but would it be cost effective? 

 

Our heating requirement is around 1,500 kWh/year, and with an ASHP running with a COP of 3 (in reality it's more like 3.5), run from off-peak electricity at 8.148p/kWh, the annual heating bill is around £41.  An inter-seasonal heat store would have to be very cheap in order to make sense.

 

1 minute ago, kxi said:

 

I wonder to what extent there is a heat dumping issue with trombe walls - once you superheat all the air and wall but it's too hot inside....what do you do? I assume they should also include external vents on the glazing side that would allow you to cool the wall with an external convection flow. But it's all irrelevant for the UK I suspect.

 

 

We find that if our floor slab gets too hot it can take several days to cool down, and all the time the floor is too warm the house will be too warm.  I would guess that a trombe wall would behave similarly.  We take care to stop the floor slab getting too warm, by running the UFH pump to circulate water around and transfer heat from the warmer areas to the cooler areas.  We also fitted solar reflective film on the windows that tended to allow sun to shine on the floor, to reduce the problem a bit.

 

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31 minutes ago, kxi said:

Yes, this is part of my frustration. This design appears to have been sold as para 79 partly on the basis of these 'innovative' sustainability features.

 

My lost comment (!) had a good old whinge about the prevalence of marketing and 'architectural bollocks' in the 200 pages of these documents 🙂 , and speculated whether "innovative or outstanding" in Paragraph 79 needed changing back to "and".

 

eg:

 

 

Quote

The resultant forms are curvilinear in plan and, partially, in elevation, providing an extraordinary internal space. “Circular living provides a balance looking inward and outward, looking out at the natural environment and surroundings but then coming in again to the self and the hearth” (David Raitt, Yurts Living in the Round). It is our belief that curved forms, as living spaces, provide a better sense of well-being.

 

The mystical properties of this philosophy are enshrined in the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui and such forms are common in ancient cultures with roundhouses and yurts. We seek to build upon the mystical relationship between man and nature with our buildings, so that nature is given expression in physical and harmonious forms. We believe through this architectural approach that we create the “highest standards in architecture”.

 

There were some very good comments in the objections, and I did not think that overall it really merited a 20Ha site in an AONB, though I approve of the relative lack of prominence in positioning in the site.

 

I think that a good opportunity for Selwyn Gummer houses will be in small conifer plantations by 'keyholing' the house in, and turning it into a more mixed woodland by introducing and enlarging with deciduous.

 

This was a good way of presenting the basic layout, however:

 

sadler-brown-architects-summarising-aspects-of-design.thumb.gif.60fb81c4c61480321b02c6d3a7d34230.gif

 

Ferdinand

Edited by Ferdinand

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@Ferdinand

I've now read the comments and the planner's report provided to the planning committee, which mysteriously is not listed in the planning documents

https://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/documents/s45682/1 - Report.pdf

 

It seems I mischaracterised it slightly. The development was actually opposed by the planners, most of the experts consulted, all the public comments, the parish council, and alledgedly "100% of the local residents". But went through on planning committee, because...well who knows. But personally I do think it's interesting and engaging architecturally (organic moon base?), and the nestled aspect is great and suggests they genuinely did want to blend in.

 

However, the original point does seem to be true, that the planners DID accept the 'sustainable' features proposed as being a key contributer to considering the design as 'innovative', mainly by accepting a 3rd party's view on this (a 3rd party employed by the applicant...):

 

image.png.7c7aa651125268d8c593230c78f5d9db.png

...

image.png.486a33b430c889f1e8aaf4a59855b0bd.png

 

Which I find unfair on smaller developments using likely more successful sustainability strategies, which they get no planning points for.

 

To their credit, the Yorkshire and humber design review panel do politely suggest the sustainability proposed isn't really innovative, more of a good effort, and in particular sound skeptical about the Trombe wall. (page 75 of https://democracy.ryedale.gov.uk/documents/s45797/Item 6 - 0.pdf)

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Posted (edited)

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.

 

Edited by Eileen
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Personally I think OR is the best answer.  We should be encouraging outstanding architecture without it needing to also break new ground in terms of innovation.  Something can be sustainable without being at the bleeding edge of technology.  

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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.

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