From Sketch to Reality

Posted 26th November 2015

Passivhaus

I was kindly invited to stay with clients in Dorset at their new Passivhaus that I designed in 2012.

The Den was finished in 2014 by Nicola and Dennis, with final details such as solar shading being finished in 2015, following which certification was obtained.

The detached 3 bed house is next to The Fox Inn, Ansty, Dorset.  As my stay fell over the Halloween weekend we attended a party at The Fox.

Waking up very early looking for the paracetamol, I noticed the room, once it had stopped spinning, was fresh and cool.   The Paul MVHR system was running on its lowest setting, and was barely audible despite the quiet countryside and triple glazed windows. The house is ‘upside down’ with 2 bedrooms on the ground floor, and living accommodation on the first floor to benefit from the views from the higher level.  The ground floor is concrete, the thermal mass keeping the space cooler than the upper levels.  The only source of heating is a 4 kW wood stove in the living room, electric towel rails were provided in the bathrooms but have never been wired up.  Hot water comes mainly from a 1.35m² flat plate solar panel, boosted by 3 kWp of solar PV and an Immersun controller, and when necessary backed up by electricity.  This solution was not the ideal choice but was by far the most cost effective to install, and is proving economic to run.

Nicola and Dennis have finished the house beautifully, using local builders and sub-contractors.  It was a privilege to stay in the house, that originated as a sketch on my drawing board.