In this section we look into some of the vital ingredients and concepts which go into making a zero carbon house...

Vital Ingredients for Zero Carbon Houses

For all true zero carbon homes passive solar design should be followed with  the following ingredients:

Thermal mass

Using dense materials in the ceilings and floors reduces fluctuations in temperature from internal heat gains and losses through open windows

RuralZED concrete plank wall

ZEDheat-hub™ heating & ventilation system

  • A ventilation system with heat recovery

  • A micro-heat pump

  • A compact hot water cylinder

  • Plus an additional coil for a wood stove

High levels of insulation

Wrapping the thermal mass in high levels of insulation reduces the need for active heating and cooling in a building to an absolute minimum.

Airtight construction

In order to keep the valuable heat and coolth in, the building should have as little uncontrolled ventilation as possible, particularly during the heating season.

Our Zero Bills Home has achieved an airtightness of 1.3 ach @50 Pascals test pressure on first test without walls plastered

ZEDroof integrated PV panels to generate all net electricity

Roof integrated BIPV panel with integrated daylight system replacing conventional roof and cladding systems.Where conventional homes struggled to achieve 4.5 kw peak, the ZEDroof BIPV system could easily achieve 7.5 kw peak / home from the roof surfaces alone.

Low-embodied-energy building

Timber Structure

Reducing the embodied CO2 of any construction means that the time taken to payback the original CO2 construction debt is shortened. This improves the overall ‘cradle to cradle’ lifecycle carbon analysis – which will eventually become the key performance parameter for comparing and assessing different low carbon projects, particular when the embedded CO2 tally for each project is added to BIM CAD design systems.

Reduce land footprint: reclamined materials

It is advisable that prior to commencement of construction, the construction site puts in place a Site Waste Management Plan.

The following issues should be considered during design development and in preparation for construction:

  • Identify resources already on the site, such as top soil or hardcore, which can be put to useful effect in the new development.

  • Good practice in terms of waste management should be employed including monitoring of waste streams.

  • Every opportunity should be taken to recycle materials or send waste materials to waste recovery centres.

  • Ensure options for the uses of reclaimed and recycled construction materials, which meet the materials specification, are considered.

  • Recycle suitable spoil, demolition materials, pruning, and surplus construction material arising from the works on site to avoid the need to transport materials.

  • Keep the site tidy to reduce material losses and waste.

  • Many choices in the design process have downstream impacts in terms of waste generated. In particular, opportunities should be sought to use modular designs, which make use of many identical building components, but at the same time avoiding blandness in external appearance and being in keeping with the character of the local area or suburban context.

  • Ensuring that measures have been taken to enable more components of a building to be recycled during refurbishment or demolition.

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