In my absence…

In my absence the quality of the advice on this site has certainly improved… 😉

johnrush a ‘Chartered Building Services Engineer’ has made a couple of interesting comments on the forum.

Firstly on the heating-help-needed topic, John has written an informative piece on insulation. I particularly like his holistic ‘six-sided’ approach to insulation:

Try to think of your house as a box and you are trying to heat the inside of it. The top of the box is the easiest to deal with as it is relatively easy to add insulation to the roof space. Just dealing with the loft will not help much as you have only tackled one of the six sides.

John then goes on to add to the discussion of heat-pumps with some clear and informative information.

Thanks John!

a mosaic of cut log ends…

Whilst the interiors of this barn conversion in Austria are a little too coldly architectural for my liking, I love this external wall. It evokes a favourite Roger Deakin quote. (It’s also a bit daft that it’s the north facade of the building as the logs will get no sun on them to aid in their seasoning.)

wall of logs

The other thing I always notice with these European conversions is how they would never pass British building regulations – for example, on picture number 10 (the one with a blurry man going upstairs) there appears little if not no insulation in the roof. The budget of 70,000 euros also suggests an ‘unemcumbered’ build.

Sheeps wools insulation

I was at Rounded Developments last week for a meeting and a big bag of sheeps wool insulation was cluttering the place up. It was a cancelled order that was now looking for a home and fortunately I have a home for it. I have two ‘boxing-in’ projects to complete.

From Barn Conversion 2010

The first is around the manifold and associated gadgetry for the underfloor heating that currently hums away and looks very hi-tech under the stairs, the second is a larger project, to build a cabinet around the thermal store and all its associated gadgetry. The thermal store boxing-in will extend across the width of the second bedroom and incorporate a cabin or built in bed as I’ve discussed previously.

Under the stairs it’s mainly about muffling the sound of the pumps, whilst the thermal store / cabin bed project is a whole lot more complex, with the insulation needed for both sound-proofing and stopping the thermal store from over-heating the cabin and bedroom.

I’d always planned to use sheeps wool for this – I like the idea of the cabin bed being surrounded by nice, warm, natural sheeps wool rather than anything more artificial and harsh.

So far I’m pleased with the sheeps wool as a product – soft and with a pleasant smell, it seems to be just what I’m after. Not sure that the sound insulation will be like and it’s pricey (I haven’t paid for it yet so I’m not entirely sure what it costs) but I’m looking forward to working with it – a job for the forthcoming wet and dark post-pointing days…

Insulation ~ Foamed Glass

A strong yet light insulator, foamed glass is suitable for load bearing applications especially those demanding water and vapour resistance.

insulation

Description
Foamed glass insulation is made from (usually) recycled glass that is mixed with carbon and then heated to very high temperatures. Upon heating the carbon oxidises and forms bubbles in the resultant stone-like material. It is usually supplied as a gravel, but is also available in (very expensive) batts.

Features

Performance
Typically in the range 0.037 – 0.048 W/m.K. (Watts per meter Kelvin ~ a lower value is a better result)

Cost
With strength comes cost …for gravel at a depth of 100mm, cost is around £15 per square metre or around £150 for a cubic metre bag.

Insulation ~ Extruded Polystyrene

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) is made by mixing polystyrene and a blowing agent under pressure and then forcing the resultant fluid through a die. As it emerges from the die the fluid expands into a foam, which is shaped before it cools. Extruded is stronger than expanded polystyrene and as such is better suited applications where some load bearing is required such as below ground (for example, in providing an insulation layer in a floor).

insulation

Features

  • Manufactured from petrochemicals so not sustainable and toxic when burnt.
  • High embodied energy.
  • Moisture tolerant and relatively durable.
  • Versatile, strong and relatively easy to fit.

Performance
Typically has a thermal conductivity or K value in the range of 0.028 – 0.036 W/m.K. (Watts per meter Kelvin ~ lower value is a better result)

Cost
Depending on thickness costs should around £7 a square metre with more specialist flooring products up to £15 a square metre.