We has just moved into our small eco house barn conversion!

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Vortex2
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We has just moved into our small eco house barn conversion!

Post by Vortex2 »

After nine years of fighting the planners and neighbours we moved into our small eco house barn conversion two minutes into Christmas Eve!

We have one bedroom, bathroom, utility room and a large living room / kitchen area. Total area is around 83 sq metres.

It's a Passiv Haus (not certified) design with massive insulation and triple glazing.

We have MVHR combined ventilation and heating based on an air source heat pump.

We had to install a packaged sewage plant. Luckily we have mains electricity and mains water.

It's a computer cut timber frame lining to a modern tin barn. The tin barn has been retained, and was not taken down during the construction, which was all done from the inside.

Thnaks to a cautious structural engineer, the timber frame is sitting on massive steels sitting on piles.

The design is from Wiki House, and so is based on a jigsaw like constructon kit custom made for us.

We are the first ever domestic barn conversion based on this technology.

The internal appearnce is very unusual : it's like a ship or boiler house, with the large ventilation pipes and also all electrics surface mounted.

Construction started in September and finished at the end of December. It could however been completed in maybe 6 weeks if the timings had been precisely organised.

Aftren nine years of commutimg 6-miles there-and-back twice a day to look after our animals on our smallholding we can now simply open the front door and we are there!

I'll post photos when I can remember how to do that here.

Ah ha, this may work ...

Image
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mikepepler
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Post by mikepepler »

Looks great! Do you have a plan for going partially/completely off grid in future?
Mike

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Vortex2
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Post by Vortex2 »

Not really.

What we need now is sleep - and money ... building a house turns out to be a LOT more expensive that you originally estimate!

Once we have flooring etc in place then we will look at restarting a sheep flock, in addition to our goats and chickens.

We will also look at restarting apple juice production - we have an 800 tree orchard.

That said, some sort of emergency electrical supply would seem very prudent in view of the MVHR.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Vortex2 wrote:..... That said, some sort of emergency electrical supply would seem very prudent in view of the MVHR.
That is the reason that I am reluctant to advise on a full Passivhaus spec: and the distinct possibility of a breakdown in supply making spare parts for future maintenance unavailable.

I am very keen, however, on a proper Passive House spec which involves no moving parts. There are a couple of ventilation systems which relies on passive stack ventilation to provide a heat exchange path but I am willing to take the hit on the kW or so of additional heating required to make up for the warming of incoming air in a rural situation with the heat supplied through a wood burning stove to make a house comfortable.
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

Excellent and congratulations. Very impressive build time! Ours was around two years (dominated by external lime rendering and clay plastering). We only recently moved into our self-build and really appreciate losing the daily commute.

Little/no value in actually being off-grid but an emergency electrical system with just a few PV panels and batteries could be useful for lighting, IT, refrigeration and MHVR.

Edit: Think that's the same triple glazed door we've got!
Last edited by clv101 on Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
stumuz1
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Post by stumuz1 »

Welcome back, Vortex!!

Will catch up this week,

House looks good.

Are these the 5 acres you bought all this years ago?
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Post by Vortex2 »

Yep - but we sold that piece and bought 11 acres.
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Post by Vortex2 »

More info:

Architects (at Wiki House) and structural engineer partially sponsored in order to encourage Wiki House technology.

Timber CNC frame build time was around 3 weeks.

Glazing and reveals took maybe a couple of days.

Stupidly overkill steel foundations about 2 weeks.
(Amazingly complex and expensive and unexpected .. could support an effing tank! Final accuracy 2 or 3 mm across 15 metres)

Electrics, plumbing, sewage - all parallel - 1 week

Still pending:

- kitchen
- flooring
- permanent access stairs to front door
- special acoustic wall to be built between us and noisy woodyard next door

Walls buildup:
ply-300mm rock wool-ply- 50 mm rockwool - one/two layers of heavy fibre reinforced ceramic panels (to reduce sound and to act as thermal mass)

Features: Wood computer-cut pillars run down the centre of the building, every 1.1 metres

Very high pitched roof.

No contact between timber frame and tin barn, except for window & door reveals and air in & out pipes.

MVHR designed for apartments so contains air source heat pump with full house ventilation plus water tank and heater.

Zero concrete used.

Two walls without windows.

No wet trades.

No general builder.

No excavations for the house - just for sewage etc pipes.

Only a handful of shell penetrations : air in, air out, water in, mains power, toilet waste pipe and kitchen waste water pipe.

Packaged sewage plant. Waste pipe of clean water runs underground 330 m (!) to a ditch.

Soil pipe venting sited at sewage plant - not through roof/wall - needed special permission.

Main problems: Unexpected need for battleship grade steel foundations, huge timber frame lorry got stuck, wrong size glazing delivered, glazing pallet failed during hoisting ... but saved just in time, huge budget overrun, neighbour moaning about everything, Somme-like mud even now.
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Vortex2
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Post by Vortex2 »

Edit: Think that's the same triple glazed door we've got!

Green Build store, Lithuanian or Latvian ...
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

Vortex2 wrote:Edit: Think that's the same triple glazed door we've got!

Green Build store, Lithuanian or Latvian ...
Yep, that's the one! We get frost on the outside while it's still ~16C inside. When I was a kid my bedroom windows had frost on the inside!
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Vortex2 wrote:
Soil pipe venting sited at sewage plant - not through roof/wall - needed special permission.

I'm surprised that works satisfactorily. If it isn't vented above and near the highest flush sewer gas will build up and escape into the bathroom when you flush.
Somme-like mud even now.
A driveway and parking area built with drainage and clean granular material of a proper depth is expensive but if done right will last a lifetime and is the only real solution to mud. Some will pipe up abut using geo-textiles instead but they are also expensive and the same money spent on installing a thicker sand layer under the top gravel will accomplish as much.
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Post by emordnilap »

Ten years ago we started using a ‘bucket and chuck it’ indoor loo. We have three bins for composting the toilet products, so every year we use material on the garden that has been composting for at least two years.

I love the system and would not revert to a old-fashioned wasteful water-based toilet given a choice.

So while I admire all you’ve done, V2, (and you’re doing so much right) you’ve missed an opportunity for further ‘eco-ification’. Our toilet needs no water, electricity, piping, treatment or maintenance.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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Vortex2
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Post by Vortex2 »

Hi,

* 60 tons of cleaned motorway scrapings are on order for the drive, parking area etc so mud should be reduced in due course.

* External soil vent pipe is higher than the internal loos. Seems to work so far.
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Vortex2
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Post by Vortex2 »

We did look at a composting toilet, with grey non-mucky water going to a soakaway.

However we have heavy clay so an artificial soakaway would have had to have been constructed ... expensive.

Also we would have had to get special EA permission ... possible but a total pain.

It was just easier - although very expensive - to install a packaged plant, and have a 'normal' looking loo.
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Post by emordnilap »

Our clay’s heavy at the septic tank area - another incentive to compost our doings (saves the bother of getting it emptied too, carting away good nutrients).

As for permission…the law knows nothing.
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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