Archive for August, 2012


My wife Hilde and I are just embarking on our house renovation project. It’s a huge change of direction for me, I find it exhilarating and a little bit scary.

I’ve created a new category on this blog for the project. I’ll be using it to discuss various technical aspects of the project, and progress. All the content is syndicated across to the Project Site, and from there it goes out to Twitter & Facebook. (Hilde’s been reading up on marketing!)

Have a look at things to come with the Teaser Trailer.


Energy efficient windows

I’m going to have to choose some windows, and a window fitter soon.

Most of the windows that we want to reduce are in solid brickwork, so at least I can do the new brickwork myself. I like that idea, because it will allow me to add chamfered jambs, which will let in more light, and be an interesting feature.

Fitting windows to cavity walls is complicated, so I don’t fancy doing it myself. But do I go to a local window company and get UPVC (U-value about 1.4) or to someone like Green Steps or Green Building Store who make wood-framed windows with a U-value of 0.8-0.9? I calculate the better insulation will save about 400W, which is about 5% of my current heating estimate. That’s not a lot really, but they will also look better – and that is important.

Furthermore, who will fit the windows for me? Green Building Store offer a supply & fit service, but Green Steps seem to be supply only. I suspect that it’ll be way cheaper to find a local fitter.

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Cove Lighting

I calculate that we’d need over 100 LED spot lights (at about 200 lumens each) to get 500 lux in the big room. That’s £1000 of light bulbs! So now I’m considering fluorescent bulbs (T5) concealed behind an architrave or coving.

Altima have an all in one solution, but frustratingly, they don’t say how bright it is. PJ Engineering have much simpler luminaires, but then I’d have to construct my own coving – and I’d have to make my own reflectors too.

In any case, we’ll also need some spots for detail lighting. Dimmable fluorescent tubes would be good too.

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Almost Passive House

Almost Passive House is a blog about a new build project in the US. They are obviously trying to achieve much the same thing as we are with Westacre. I found then through a Google search for lighting, but they also seem to have useful information on heat-recovery ventilation.

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