We at The Green Register believe in building green - encouraging air tightness, reducing heat loss and managing moisture. Site visits are a great way for architects, engineers other professionals to see the implementation of the ever evolving technologies, measures and materials involved in creating better, more sustainable buildings.
Last week we ran the first of a series of joint events with Bow Tie Construction to live building sites in the London area. All the events will be bringing a lot of theory to life and giving visitors opportunities to discuss design decisions and build challenges with the contractors who are delivering low carbon, energy efficient buildings.
Definitely a building site
The event was held at a south London terraced house being fully refurbished to the Passivhaus EnerPHit standard. The refurb features: a blend of natural materials and EPS insulation board; high performance double glazed windows; MVHR; underfloor heating; and electronically actuated rooflights controlled by smart-home system to manage overheating. At the time of visit the house was undergoing its second fix and had recently achieved an air pressure test level of 0.8.
Work to this level does not come cheaply (Bow Tie pride themselves on meeting – and exceeding – high quality specifications) and it is sadly unrealistic to expect any government funded schemes to bring this forward in quantity needed for domestic energy efficient retrofit. However, pursuing CPD which covers so many key issues in retrofit is obviously sensible for anyone engage with this aspect at any level.
Project Manager Szymon ready to welcome and admit the visitors
After signing in, visitors to the house familiarised themselves with the house and works before hearing from Rafael and Hagop from Bow Tie about the detail of the construction. In the following 90 minutes, a number of issues were covered including wall and floor thicknesses, use of different materials to meet EnerPHit standards and addressing the client’s post-Grenfell concerns.
Each project always throws up its own issues and hearing about these first-hand, and noting the questions asked by visitors, is always interesting. Some of those that came up in Camberwell were the compromises around the use of materials, and the detailing of the basement floor and the front door frame. Some considerable care and time had also been spent removing the Japanese Knotweed from the rear garden which Bow Tie can appropriately do well too!
Rafael of Bow Tie answers questions during walk around
It’s always good to keep up with the times and this is a fast changing world. We had all witnessed the excellent standards and workmanship being achieved by this very Polish rooted company and Rafael finished highlighting new developments in Passivhaus including decentralised MVHR systems and informing us the next Passivhaus conference will be held in China!