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In my absence…

Category: Site Announcements May 18th, 2012 by mbc

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!

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a mosaic of cut log ends…

Category: Barn Conversion Journal January 11th, 2011 by mbc

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.

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Sheeps wools insulation

Category: Products & Materials November 18th, 2010 by mbc

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…

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Insulation ~ Foamed Glass

Category: insulation July 7th, 2010 by mbc

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

insulation

Lies, damn lies & statistics...
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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.

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Insulation ~ Extruded Polystyrene

Category: insulation December 23rd, 2009 by mbc

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)

Lies, damn lies & statistics...
Don't agree? Know better? Got a real world example to share? Are you a manufacturer or supplier with something to say?
This isn't a one way street, we really want to hear from you so please comment below or have your say on the forum...
Great posts will be eligible from prizes from our forum competition!

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

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Progress

Autumn 2013

Right that’s the summer over with, now I can get on with some real work without the distractions of other things (like holidays and playing with children, all that enjoyable stuff that gets in the way of progress)… With few major jobs (painting, boxing in – nasty stuff!) left inside, mainly fiddly things that need […]

I’m having a moan on twitter… https://twitter.com/barnconversion/status/368427314868396032

A lovely Flemish barn conversion

I love the interior of this conversion and the great use of horizontal slats on this conversion. I retains the essential ‘barnyness’ of the building… flemish-barn-by-arend-groenewegen-architect

Coming soon, my barn conversion guide… Interesting earthship greenhouse project on Kickstarter

I really like this Kickstarter project >> The Farm of the Future: Earthship-Inspired Greenhouse This project is “Prototyping the First 100% Off-The-Grid, Affordable, Low-Maintenance Greenhouse using Earthship Principles and Aquaponics“. If any of those words meaning anything to you you’ll be interested in the project if not, pass it by… It’s already funded so I […]

Barns

Barns Gallery on Remodelista

There is a lovely gallery of barn related inspirational photographs available on Remodelista.

Barns – the Long House

Situated on the North Norfolk coast, this is a building to admire…

Barns – the Balancing Barn

A stunning piece of architecture, although not entirely to my taste…

New fast-track planning permission for the development of barns proposed

The Daily Mail reports on a new fast-track route through planning controls for the conversion of barns…

De-assembled, re-assembled, re-cycled barns

“A bit like a private sector, modernising, repurposing St Fagan’s…”

Design

What is a shadow gap?

A shadow gap – a mysterious dark place between two plains…

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents Part D – Toxic substances

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part C Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture

Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

An overview of Building Regulations, Approved Documents – Part B Fire safety

Architecture

Your barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

Thoughts on making YOUR barn conversion – "what you really wanted for yourself"

The Stirling prize 2012 winner – the Sainsbury Laboratory

The 2012 Stirling prize was won by a outsider, the Sainsbury Laboratory…

The Stirling prize 2012

I think that this years Stirling prize has some exciting projects on the shortlist…

Our engineers … our architects – Le Corbusier

The efficient, shiny world of construction in 1923…

Design in Storage

When designing a layout it’s easy to forget to plan for storage…

News

Green Deal slow beginnings?

Oh dear! The green deal hasn’t got off to a very auspicious start… As reported in the Telegraph today since it was launched nearly a year ago just 12 homes have taken advantage of the Green Deal with a few hundred more in the pipeline. 71,210 households had been assessed for Green Deal measures such […]

The property roller coaster – planning reform to be rethought

Eric Pickles vague compromise on planning reform keeps the house happy (for now).

Energy policy, smoke screens, fracking, confusion and big bucks

There seems to be only one thing that is certain in the world of energy policy and that is that costs will rise annually above and beyond anything that inflation can currently throw at us. Beyond that, smoke screens & confusion seem to reign. Take the recent news for example… It’s reported today that the […]

Flanking manoeuvres and good design…

It seems that the government are undertaking flanking manoeuvres on the green belt…

Green Deal Launch

The Green deal launched in the UK on Monday of this week. Fanfares? fireworks? a deluge of marketing? … read more …

Plaid Cymru’s Green New Deal promise

The leader of Plaid Cymru has promised a “Green New Deal” to rejuvenate the Welsh economy and help maintain Wales’ position at the forefront of Green policies.

Permitted development extension limits to be doubled

The government is due to announce a temporary increase in the maximum depth of extensions that can be built under permitted development rules.

Lloyd Khan, making shelter simple.

I wanted to share an interview with Lloyd Khan that I recently found…

Just what is ‘sustainable development’?

Sustainable development – with the term now enshrined in planning law, what does it mean?

Sir Patrick Abercrombie – “It is a matter for serious thought…”

While reading up on the response of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) I came across this quote from Sir Patrick Abercrombie…