At the start of 2022 we finally got rid of the gas supply to our home, and retrofitted an air source heat pump. With the high proportion of renewables in grid electricity now, this has led to an absolutely huge cut in our household carbon emissions, and we are delighted with how it has performed so far.
I am greatly indebted to the meticulous working and thinking of architect Mark Siddall (LEAP architecture) here. He’s been talking about thermal bypass for a while, so I asked him to walk me through the basics.
What the term ‘thermal bypass’ means is cold air (usually cold – though of course in summer it could be too hot instead) washing through building fabric, and undermining the thermal performance.
This means that in winter, cold air may be moving around in the walls and roof and taking heat from indoors, even if it doesn’t actually break through any air barriers. A classic example is when insulation is loosely bunged into a cavity, and warm air behind the inner leaf is drawn away and replaced with cold, when it should be held snug against the fabric.
My interview with Mark and some explanations and examples were written up for SIGA, and you can read them here.
This 150-odd-year old historic stone warehouse in the centre of Cirencester has been very carefully converted to create a youth hostel, providing much-needed budget accommodation in this pretty Cotswold town.
This light and airy Passivhaus was built by a retired couple who wanted to downsize from their awkward older home, to one that would be eco-friendly, comfortable, and work well whatever their future needs.
The successful result is an attractive, warm, modern-looking house. The structure is timber frame with wood-based insulation; the roof meanwhile is basically all PVs, and a heat pump and battery complete the comprehensive renewable set-up, minimising the need to import – and pay for – any grid energy.
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