Did you know CLPM provide renewable energy advice for architects?

We have recently been working with Arquinaut architects of London, to provide renewable energy advice for their clients who wanted to make their home more energy efficient, and install a variety of renewable technologies.

They had planning to add a two-storey rear extension and pitched roof above existing flat roof, to a cottage close to the village of Goring, near Reading in Berkshire. There were also plans to update the property, as well as make minor interior alterations to its layout. The property was built in the 1930’s and had an existing extension from the 1980’s.

The couple who own the cottage were very interested in employing new green technology, with an emphasis on having a low carbon footprint, with careful consideration to the environment. They were aiming to boost the energy performance of their home and were looking for detailed, specific advice on how best to add more insulation to the structure of the existing building. They also wanted to understand how best to heat their home, and the opportunities which existed for installing the most suitable renewable technologies.

As independent energy consultants we aim to help architects and their clients to design and build a house which has low energy consumption and then to assist in the selection of the right heating system for their needs. We always give this advice in a bespoke way, and in a way which makes good financial sense. A general objective for this project, for example, was to make capital investments towards better energy performance that paid back in roughly 5 to 7 years.

The way we approach projects of this nature is by talking at length with the architect’s clients to understand the approach they want to take, so that we understand their attitudes, lifestyle and any financial considerations they may have. We then carry out an inspection of the property to check its location, immediate situation and orientation. We then establish how each element of the building is constructed, and assess its state of repair. We can then calculate the current energy performance of the building and use this as a baseline.

The next step is to put together options for boosting the energy performance of the building. We do this by running thermal models with associated estimates of annual energy usage, and peak heating load. We do this for each of the different configurations of insulation, and air tightness. This allows consideration of the benefits gained by the different insulation packages to energy use. It also drives the sizing of the heating system, which in turn allows a choice to be made of the technology. Our work often also considers a few other related matters that we have been asked to review. In this case that included the suitability of a solar photo-voltaic array. It included how best to harvest and store rainwater. We were also asked to assess the risk of the house over-heating (and its need for ventilation) and to check the design to ensure there would be sufficient natural day-lighting.

The key choice at this stage is about how to improve the building design regarding the thickness and type of insulation by area, and improving air-tightness. The building could be designed to be better than regulations, but how far should this be taken? This then leads to establishing a heating system specification and so the choice of heating technology can be made from an informed position.

With projects of this nature we discuss the options available with the architect and client, but also produce a very detailed written report for their use thereafter. In this instance the report detailed a number of very specific improvements that could be made to the building. These included changes to the construction of the floors, walls and ceilings to improve the U values and resolve some damp issues, and to install new double glazed windows. We made proposals regarding adjusting the sizes of roof-lights and introducing sun-pipes in rooms with poor daylight. We suggested the most appropriate insulation and air-tightness levels for each part of the property, and gave detailed practical guidance of what the builders would need to do to achieve these. We gave the pros and cons of either an air source heat pump or a ground source heat pump, and proposed how these technologies would link up with a combination of an underfloor and radiator heating system. We gave detailed information on how the system could be installed, recommended the potential location of the manifolds and made suggestions for the best way to provide and store the necessary hot water for their needs. We also made recommendations about the way to approach installing a rainwater harvesting and storage system, and gave options for the position of one or more photo-voltaic arrays as well as calculating the payback period the couple could expect.

Are you an architect or homeowner looking for renewable energy advice? Whatever the nature of your project – whether you’re planning a new build, conversion, renovation or extension we can help.

For a chat and a free no obligation quote simply call us on 01923 896550, email info@cl-pm.com or complete a contact form.

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CLPM Project Managers cover London, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. Energy Consultancy and Cost Advice services available across the UK.
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