We hope to build a home that requires near zero carbon to run. This will be achieved through two complementing approaches:
1) reducing losses to a minimum (the PassivHaus ‘tea cosy’ effect);
2) sourcing as much power as possible from renewable energy sources.
For energy, we plan to use solar gain from South / South East windows to provide the main heating, plus solar panels for hot water and electricity.
By combining zero-carbon energy production with high thermal efficiency, we plan to reduce or carbon intake to virtually zero.
One of our main objectives on this project is to use resources responsibly. There is a bungalow on the site that we plan to replace. In doing so, we want to recycle, reuse and reduce waste as far as possible (the subject of a future post!). This will be achieved through the effort that we are putting into the design and seeking every opportunity to reuse materials. For example, we plan to use the existing foundations for the new home, reuse roof timbers, the boiler, and bricks/blocks if possible (or crush them on site for aggragate if not). Energy is not only used to run houses but also to construct them. But through good design, recycling and attention to detail we believe the CO2 required in construction will be recovered within a few years of operation.
The current bungalow is poorly insulated and uses significant amounts of energy to operate. The proposed sustainable house will reduce the energy consumption by over 90%. We therefore expect to recover the minimal carbon used to build the new house within 3 to 4 years. Over the first 20 years, we hope to save over 200 tons of CO2 (the weight of a 747 jumbo jet).