About

We are building a new home for ourselves with the aim of being energy efficient. As a result we are going to build to the Passivhaus standards which require our house to meet some very low energy consumption targets.

Principally the house cannot use any more than 15 kWh/m2 per annum for all the heating, and it must have a maximum heating load of 10w/m2.

Compared to normal low energy housing this represents a big improvement in terms of energy used for heating:

Despite the reduction in energy required to heat the house, it should still be warm (20C) and comfortable.

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12 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi there

    We have recently started following your blog with interest. Great looking house! We are interested in building a passive house on our plot in Deeside, and would be very grateful to hear a bit more about your build, e.g. Footprint and your projected cost per sq, as it looks fairly high spec and we are curious to know about the impact on cost of features such as dormer windows.

    Thanks in advance
    Dirk and Sally Wallis

  2. Hello,
    Your house looks good – well done for getting it done! We are about to start building in Deeside too and would love to hear if you have comments on timber frame companies and builders – seem high spec (not quite passivhaus but close..) is far from their working standard!
    Cheers,

    Mette Cormack

  3. Hi there.

    We’re currently going through process of choosing kit supplier for new build in Finzean, builds supposed to commence early next year; we’ll see! We’d like to go as passive as possible but local guys aren’t looking too promising or interested. As per Dirk and Sally,who we know, if you’ve any time spare to pass on any information it’d be appreciated. in particular could you let me know if Northmuir supplied kit and are working as main contractor?

    Doug

  4. Hi there,
    Just wanted to say cracking house!!

    I am currently building a garage come workshop in torphins and plan to large clad it also, would you mind me asking where you went for your larch?

    Many thanks

  5. Hi there,
    Very nice looking project. We are currently trying to get approval for wet dash harl on our extension, our initial white colour has been rejected. I see you mention having to offer up a subdued off white, any idea of what colour it is exactly and which company makes it?
    Many thanks,
    Nick

    • Hi,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The wet dash colour doesn’t have a name. To begin with we were given some samples by AGC which we didn’t like so they made up a sample board for us specifically. It was a combination of a wet dash mix from the Chap quarry (I think near Drumoak) which has lime, sand and grit in it, mixed with as much snowcrete cement as they could get away with to whiten it. We like the final colour. It changes dependent on the weather conditions. When it is wet it is a moderately dark beige which lightens when dry and when the sun comes out looks quite white. So it was made up on site by AGC (Alan Grant Contracts) by combining a lot of snowcrete to a standard wet dash mix.
      I don’t understand the planners reluctance to allow white, but it would appear to be one of those things that they dig their heals in for. Good luck!

  6. Hi really enjoyed your blog. We are in the early stages of a self build and wondered how your underfloor heating system was working. We are unsure has to how to heat a passive house and reading your blog prompted me to contact you to see if you had any advice that maybe of interest to us.
    Thanks
    Pete Green

    • Hi Pete,
      Sorry for the delay in responding, life has been a bit nuts recently. In terms of our heating we have a wood burning stove (12kw with most heat to water) and four solar thermal panels feeding into a 500l thermal store. From this we have underfloor heating downstairs and two towel rails in the bathroom/en-suite upstairs. In terms of the towel rails upstairs we have never used them. Upstairs is usually at about 22-23C and never feels cool, though the thermal store does give off some heat as not all pipes are lagged yet. Downstairs we run the UFH with water at about 40C, it tends to come on for about 1-2hrs a day during the depths of the winter then is off for the rest of the day. This can make a reasonable dent in the temperature of the thermal store. So typically in the winter with sub-zero temperatures and no sunshine for solar gain we would have the fire on for about 4hrs which would provide just about enough heat for our hot water and UFH, though we do have an electric immersion which will kick in in the thermal store if we don’t light the fire or it hasn’t been on long enough. If the sun comes out the house is heated for free, pretty much whatever the temperature outside. We switched the UFH heating off just over two months ago now and the house has stayed warm (18-23C).
      Our system works, it is nice to heat the house with solar and a wood burning stove and the house is pretty cosy. Downsides would be that the floor can feel cool a lot of the time as the UFH isn’t on, plus you need to be organised with your wood for the stove, which takes a bit of effort. If you want an easier way to heat the house (i.e. not having to light a fire every night in the winter / filling the log basket on snowy nights) then I would install a compact unit air source heat pump which utilises the latent heat of the MVHR exhaust air. I would then try and run the UFH from this. I don’t think I’d be inclined to heat the passivhaus through a heater in the MVHR supply as this will send hot air to the bedrooms upstairs which are hot enough without any heating. However this would be a cheaper option as compared to installing UFH. We do have a direct electric heater in our MVHR system, but it has never worked (On our list to get sorted) so cannot give feedback on how it performs. The other option if you are at a very early stage of the process of planning your house is to put your living space upstairs and bedrooms downstairs, this would require a lot less heating for the house overall.
      I hope this helps, if it doesn’t make sense or you have any other questions then get in touch.
      All the best.

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