Modern 'box' style home in rural Essex
The Touchwood Homes team are now on-site in rural Essex with their latest exciting new build project: constructing a modern ‘box’ style home on a plot of land previously occupied by a poorly performing 1950’s bungalow.
The main features of this design are the large over-hanging first floor and glazed areas to the rear of the building. These presented us with several structural engineering challenges to solve, not least how we were to balance the aesthetic appearance of the architecture with a robust build that would be able to stand up to potential high winds, and the possibility of more extreme weather conditions that global warming is offering.
We’ve overcome these challenges by using a section of steel post and beams within the ground floor ceiling, clad inside our thermal envelope system to prevent cold-bridging, which will support our timber framework.
The steel-work contractors have been on-site working on the erection of the ground floor wall structure, and are due to finish this stage of the build by the end of the week, so we’re now able to move in and push this project forward with our timber frame work installation, to build completion.
Chief's Farm drone video release
We’ve just released our Chief’s farm video, which shows the construction of this passivhaus from the initial bare ground plot to completed timber frame structure.
The advanced drone footage on this 3 minute video shows our process in brilliant clarity, demonstrating how well our system works for self-builders who want to manage their own follow on trades after the complex timber frame airtight structure has been erected.
The Touchwood Homes build system makes follow-on works considerably quicker and easier to carry out because we install a robust external airtight layer in our homes, which means that electricians and plumbers can work more efficiently, and so make quite huge time savings from not needing work around a more delicate internal airtight layer, which is currently a more commonly method of build in the UK (2018).
The robustness of our system also makes the finished build completely impervious to strong winds as it simply cannot blow through the insulation with this external barrier.
The comfort of a passivhaus
Passivhaus Open Day 2017
The weekend of Friday 10th to Sunday 12th November 2017 is the Passivhaus open day weekend, where two of our Touchwood Homes projects are open for viewing by the public. The owners will be on hand to answer any questions you may have regarding a self build project, and working with a high quality Touchwood Homes timber frame structure.
To book your visit please follow the links here:
Red Bluff is a Touchwood Homes Passivhaus Plus certified building, whereby to qualify for this level of accreditation, the home must be proven to generate as much energy (via PV/Solar thermal) as it uses; as well as being Passivhaus which means that it is proven to so use minimal energy for running costs.
To view the building over the weekend please contact Ben, the owner, who will be on hand on the day to talk to about the build process and offer his experiences of working with Touchwood Homes!
Bromley Passivhaus is a family home in Bromley designed to blend in with the surroundings street scene, but built with a super insulated air-tight Touchwood Homes timber frame to ensure minimal running costs
Louise managed the build, initially organising the foundation install prior to the Touchwood frame arriving, and then managing the follow on trades to completion. Our partners at Williams Energy Design carried out the passivhaus certification process and also designed the Touchwood installed PAUL MVHR system for the structure.
Please follow the link above if you'd like to visit the home - note this is a family home so visits must be booked.
£50 a year running costs? We're not bluffing!
“Red Bluff” in Weyhill, Hampshire was designed from the outset to meet passivhaus standard, and has in fact exceeded this to be one of just three homes in the UK to achieve the new Passivhaus + standard!
The simple rectangular external form of the home is cleverly detailed to maximise solar gain and summer shading through Aura triple glaze windows. Its construction has been built around Touchwood Homes pre-cut I-beam timber frame structure, with 300mm super-density Warmcel cellulous fibre insulation filling the cavity to the walls, and 350mm filling to the roof. Timber glulam ridge-beams allowed for the first floor ceilings to be vaulted allowing extra light through the windows and creating a feeling of spaciousness to the upstairs.
The home is set on a 400mm EPS slab foundation to complete the insulated layer, with the air-tight layer being made up of our rigid TG fibre board external air-tight system. These factors combined resulted in an air-tightness level of 0.2 ACH!
An air sourced heat pump operates both under floor heating system to provide heating and cooling to each of the bedrooms from a fan coil unit in the loft, which also controls the water heating in an unvented cylinder unit. Roof mounted PV panels provide the bulk of the home’s everyday electrical needs, with future plans to install a Telsa powerwall unit, which would result in the house being largely off of the national grid.
The home has been occupied by a young family of four for one whole year, and in that time the electricity usage has been approx. 6000kWhrs at a cost of £750.
Total generation from the PV system was 10500kWhrs over the same period, generating approximately £700.00 from FIT payments.
So effectively the house costs just £50 per year to run!
The efficiency of the super-dense insulation and air-tightness of the build means that the heating system is only required during the winter months, and operates for just a few hours per day at 25 degrees Celsius to maintain a pleasant house temperature of 21 degrees.
The comfort of living in this environment has to be experienced! Seven – eight tons of super density Warmcel insulation material creates a very stable internal temperature, and also eliminates any noise from outside, so creating a very calm internal environment.
'Our new home has exceeded our expectations. It is always warm and draft free, which is in complete contrast to some of the homes we have lived in! Its great place for us to raise our young family, and a huge bonus not have to worry about ever- increasing energy prices. All houses should be built this way!
The Touchwood team were a valuable source of information and assistance throughout the build, we are very grateful for their help on our self build journey'
Red Bluff, Weyhill
Certification - Passivhaus Plus
Timber structure - Touchwood Homes
PHPP work - Touchwood Homes / Willliams Energy Design
Architectural work - Touchwood Homes / Constructive Individuals
Air tightness - 0.2 ACH
Size - 215m2
Glazing - Rationel Aura plus triple glazed, Solarlux SL97 triple glazed bi fold doors
Ventilation - Touchwood Homes PAUL Novus 300 MVHR
PV - LG 10.8kW PV array (3 phase), SMA sunny boy 10kW inverter (3 phase)
ASHP - Samsung EHD TDS 6kW with 2kW Heating/cooling unit
DHW - Telford Tempest 300L with 3kW immersion
Controls - Loxone home automation system
Lighting - LED throughout
Wendover passivhaus project!
Weyhill Passivhaus +
Our Weyhill project has now officially been certified as meeting the new Passivhaus Plus standard - we are one of the first 3 houses in the country to reach this new standard. The Plus standard has the Passivhaus very demanding minimal energy requirements to heat the building, aswell as the house also producing as much energy as it consumes.
Being Passivhaus, the building fabric requires minimal heating, and the heating system is very efficient. The little energy required for the building is equal to the energy produced on site by the large 10kWp PV roof mounted PV system.
Our clients Ben and Elle are rightly very proud of their achievement in reaching the new plus standard:
We look forward to building more Passivhaus, Passivhaus Plus, and Passivhaus Premium homes in the future - which are set to become a mandatory EU requirement after 2021.