I immediately noticed that my living room was staying warmer for longer, and I no longer get spots of mould in the recesses on either side of the chimney pot in the living room either. I’ve noticed my house get incrementally less damp with all of the small things I’ve been chipping away it on my journey to make my home warm, cosy and damp free, but capping the chimneys felt like a big improvement.
Energy retrofitting – monitoring and evaluation
Dr Nick Banks – Senior Development Manager
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Plant-based insulation materials – the future
Dr Judith Thornton – BEACON – Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS)
Research and results – bio-aggregate retrofitting to existing masonry
Steven Cole – MSc student, Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)
Aberystwyth University Visiting Researcher
The BEACON project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Welsh Government, and the primary aim is to undertake company-relevant innovation and R&D in relation to biorefining and the low carbon economy. One of our interests is in plants as building products. This week, together with Neighbourhood Construction, we have been working on creating samples of breathable plasters containing plant materials, in order to investigate their thermal properties and their capacity to buffer moisture.
The evidence-led approach provides a clear understanding of why, how, what and where the house is reacting in this way. Looking at things in context, the short, medium and long term also, makes you think about future ownership of this house and how I could make a more positive contribution as part of its history.
An interesting thing that I was made aware of recently, is that the natural gas piped into our homes produces a surprising amount of water vapour when it combusts.
With modern boilers, this is not a problem since they are well sealed and vented via flues to the outside. However, where there are gas fires, gas hobs or gas ovens, these might contribute to the total amount of moisture in the house, thus raising the humidity & potential for condensation.
Traditional methods such as lime plastering are often the preserve of buildings deemed to be of historical importance, yet it seems to have been forgotten that more modest properties such as the ubiquitous Victorian terrace were also built with solid walls, lime plaster and a need to ‘breathe’. The designers and craftsmen who built them were creating a carefully balanced internal climate to ensure occupant comfort, avoidance of damp & protection of the fabric of the building and its structural integrity.
Previous surveys were undertaken by preservation and treatment companies have diagnosed rising damp then recommended a chemical damp proof course and cement render. Yet the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors describes ‘rising damp’ as a myth. Following an introduction from the Building Management Company, Simon James Lewis, Neighbourhood Construction CIC has been invited to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property.
Having recently moved into a two-story Victorian terraced house the homeowner was keen to embark on a comprehensive, room by room refurbishment. Concerned that the old wiring could make the house not only unsafe to live in, but more importantly unsafe to work on. Additionally, a leaky roof in the bathroom […]
Last week David attended a workshop on energy-retrofitting the traditional hygrothermal envelope. This included preparation, mixing and casting bio-aggregate mixture of hemp and lime onto existing masonry. The workshop, run by Neighbourhood Construction, taught the installation through kinaesthetic learning, a process that worked very well in understanding all the elements of delivering a […]
I really can’t believe what a difference it has made and wish I’d done it years ago. The first evening after the workshop found me and my partner repeatedly dancing joyfully around the bay exclaiming, ‘it’s even warm over here!’.However, Measuring is simple right? Surely I couldn’t get that bit wrong. Yes, I could!
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Unnecessary and irreversible damage has been sustained to this Listed Georgian property, timbers have been cut unnecessarily, lath and plaster have sustained avoidable damage and masonry work has been unnecessarily chased.
Following a previous site appraisal, The estate management company requested a further site visit and report be undertaken at an adjoining property, to ascertain the probable causes of a number of moisture-related symptoms being experienced at the property. A site visit was undertaken on the afternoon of Wednesday the 9th […]