In the Heart of the Cotswolds - The Moonstone Project
23. Insulation

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Moonstone Project Introduction
01. Existing Cottage & Demolition Works
02. ArchiCAD & Planning Proposals
03. Basement Floor and Blockwork Walls
04. Quadlock - ICF Concrete System
05. Basement Slabs
06. Waterproofing of Guest Wing Slab
07. Tanking to Walls
08. General Building and Blockwork
09. Slinkies
10. Boreholes
11. Steel Erection
12. Zinc Roof
13. Stone Lintels
14. Stone Walls
15. Gull Wings
16. Flat Roofs
17. Solar Systems
18. Oak Frame
19. Becker : Triple Glazing
20. Toughened
21. Timber Cladding
22. Heat Recovery Earth Pipes
23. Insulation & Passiv Haus
24. Solar Panels
25. Aquatron & Poo
26. Reed Beds
27. Underfloor Heating
28. Tiling
29. Stone Bath and Polishing Floors
30. Steel Staircase & Balustrades
31. Weather
32. Technology and Lighting
33. Kitchens and Fitted Furniture
34. Glass Stairs and Glass Box



You simply can't have enough of the stuff .When you have the luxury of building a new home, what ever you think you are going to spend on insulation, double it and double it again - the dividends will pay off massively in the end. Making sure that your house, be it an 100 year+ or new build is properly insulated and I mean at least maintaining the outside fabric of the walls, floors and roofs to have a U-value of 0.2 W/m2K as a starting point - and if after this you have to install an Ikea kitchen or you couldn’t afford a fancy heat pump, rest assured - your money is in the highest paying interest account.

Passiv haus / Passive House what ever takes your fancy - is a German standard for supreme Eco house construction - see Unlike our very confusing SAP calculations and Code levels 4 to 6 of the new building regulations, which allow developers to trade off technologies to achieve their own outcomes - Passiv Haus lays down very clear goals and methodologies to get a building to require the absolute minimal of heating and cooling. Total energy demand for space heating and cooling is less than 15kWh/m2/year treated floor area, super insulation with minimal thermal bridging, careful consideration of passive solar gain, excellent levels of air tightness, and indoor air quality provided by whole house mechanical ventilation systems. U values for the walls and building fabric are generally down to 0.15W/m2K.

MOONSTONE goes way beyond the Passiv Haus, I wanted the building to be a Positive energy house, in other words, to design and build a house that PAYS YOU TO LIVE IN IT. Of course at the time (2002) I wasn’t aware of the generous new FITS tariff that came in April 2010 paying people tax free income to generate their own electricity, and fingers crossed that the Government goes ahead in 2011 with the Renewable heat incentive, paying home owners for the hot water they generate through solar thermal, biomass, wood chip or heat pump technology.

To make it more difficult I wasn’t going to do this to a 100m2 building but to a 1500m2 building (approx. 16,000 square feet) about the same size as 21 fairly typical modern day 3 bedroom houses. The answer is firstly eliminate any need for heating - you simply have to massively insulate your house structure, our external stone walls have a U-value of 0.06W/m2K, triple glazing is our only weakness at U=0.7W/m2K, all underground basement walls U=0.08W/m2K (remember heat loss is alot less as the ground temperature here is a constant 8 degrees), floor and roofs are also U=0.08W/m2K - this gives us a space heating requirement of just 6.6kWh/m2/year - 55% lower than Passiv Haus - FREE pre-cooling and pre-warming is available from our Rehau AWADUKT thermo ground air heat exchangers.

But beyond this, Moonstone doesn’t have any mains water or mains sewage. All water is spring fed, water is collected (from the roofs, driveway to the tune an estimated yearly capacity of 800,000litres a year) and stored in a 10,000 litre storage tank, even waste grey and black water from toilets, washing machines, showers and dishwashers can be recycled back into our drinking water system. An Aquatron and worm biogester take care of all solid black waste - no electrical or moving parts and the final product is pure compost good enough to go onto your tomatoes, the unit needing emptying every 8 years not every 3-4 months.

Massive solar thermal panels produce excess hot water that can be stored for upto 8 days without any additional input from the panels to produce over 90% of the Moonstone's total hot water and heating demands.

All electrical appliances are chose for their A++ rating. A full heat recovery system connected to the Rehau Awadukt system, provides unparalleled air quality and FREE cooling and heating, even extracting warmed air from the tumble dryer and worm biogester unit. SMART (no proper SMART) energy monitoring will provide individual feed back via iphone and ipad interface, allowing the user to switch off remotely appliances that are left on or have no need to be on - intelligent management system will learn occupier rules and control appliances.

Moonstone's entire LED lighting system had to be conceived and planned back in 2005, when the technology was n its infancy. Being an early pioneer, is not cheap and problems do occur, however most were minimised. We do have some unusla features preferring to hide most of our lighting in shadow gaps and ceiling details, so some several rooms we have over 20metres of continuously running LED tube, with full colour change capability - we would need 15No. 1.4m T5 bulbs consuming 80 watts of electricity per bulb or 1.2KW to replace the LEDs that only use 210 watts for the same output. Including every single light, internal , external, flood lights etc..our total consumption if everything was turned on would be 4.766KW, compare that to 25.858KW if the house was lit with conventional ow energy efficient lighting, and worst still 56.9KW if the house was lit with conventional lighting.

A CLIPSAL lighting control system further manages the lighting consumption, by limiting the amount of power to each light at only 80% (as the human eye is unable to tell the difference between a bulb lit at 100% or 80%), all lights have a maximum time for On set at 3 hrs, while corridor lights and passageways and garages are all activated by PIRs.

I'm not sure that I have ever understood what is ment by the present generation of SMART electricity consumption meters - presumably just because you can see on a neat little display waht you are consuming thats enough to make you change. But waht are you consuming, which appliance is actually on..and can you be bothered to go out into the garage, shed, basement, kid's bedroom to turn it off... .welcome to the new generation of SMART meter.

See the Youtube video

Very useful links:

Brenda and Robert Vale's Autonomous House