Low Carbon House Design | Part 5





Elements of Low Carbon House Design

In this article, we will study the elements of low carbon house including design of windows and skylights, door air-gaps, airtightness, thermal bridging and understanding monthly energy demand profiles.

Windows and skylights

Ultra-efficient triple glazing will be used for windows and skylights in combination with insulated timber frame. According to Passivhaus standard, 1990, the resultant U-value will be 0.8 W/m2K.

Use of LED lights. Making use of day lighting from the roof and the windows. This would help reduce the reliance on artificial lighting. Shutters and louvers can be used to control solar gain and glare. (Halliday, 2008 p. 69)

Door Air-gaps

Loss of energy can be prevented by installing automatic door closers. The inside of the doors can be installed with brush strips to close the air gaps near the flooring. Modern, well-insulated doors can improve comfort levels by decreasing loss of heating and cooling.

Airtightness

It is estimated that up to 15% of energy is wasted to losses through the building fabric. Of those losses, up to 20% energy can be lost through windows and roof, while up to 35% heat energy lost is through air gaps near the doors..

Airtightness

Airtightness. Source: Carbontrust.com

 

To ensure airtightness of the building, wet plaster will be applied to the inside of the wall. This will minimise shrinkage between the wall and the floor. Airtightness tapes and membranes will be used to seal all the corner joints of windows and doors. Airtightness tape will be applied at junctions with plaster. It will make the low carbon house 20 times more airtight as compared to the standard homes built according to the building regulations (Passivhaus, 1990).

Airtightness grommets will be used around cabling and pipework to ensure that there is no leakage of air.

Thermal bridging

Reducing thermal bridging is important. Thermal bridges are inevitable since we cannot live in purely insulated boxes without openings.  The thermal bridge is formed where the wall meets the foundation strip and heat is transferred from solid concrete ground floor slab through the wall into the ground and strip foundations below. Although the interlocking Neopor lightweight concrete blocks reduce thermal bridging, however it can be further eliminated by using lightweight aerated 7N/mm2 blocks below the slab level.

Monthly Energy demand profiles

Energy demand profile has been defined as ‘the pattern of energy use in a building, which varies during the day and over the year’ (MacDonald, 2012).

Space and water heating utilises the greatest amount of energy used in British residences. According to the estimates of DECC (2013), 66% of the total domestic consumption was for space heating; water heating constituted 17%, lighting and appliances constituted 15% and cooking constituted 3%.

Below are the steps to designing a low carbon house:

Eco House Design : Part 1

Introduction to the Eco House Design Guide

Design Methodology : Part 2
Eco House Design: Part 3

  • Climate of Brighton and Hove
  • Orientation of the building
  • Building design, construction and low energy specifications
 Eco House Design : Part 4

  • Insulation: Active Thermal Insulation
  • Roof Design
Eco House Design: Part 5

  • Windows and skylights;
  • Door air-gaps
  • Airtightness
  • Thermal Bridging
  • Monthly Energy Demand Profiles
Eco House Design : Renewable Energy Sources| Part 6

Ground Source Heat pump

 Eco House Design : Renewable Energy Sources| Part 7

Solar Electricity Generation

Eco House Design : Renewable Energy Sources| Part 8

  • Rainwater harvesting system
  • Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery

Eco House Design : Renewable Energy Sources| Part 9

Annual Energy Balance

Eco House Design : Part 10 | Conclusion


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