Our retrofit journey started in the spring of 2021, 6 months after moving to our new home. Our main reasons were to make the property more comfortable and reduce running costs. The initial priority was to add external insulation to the rear and side of the property (£17k), replace single-glazed […]
Good ventilation is essential for the health and well-being of both a building and its occupants. Efficient space heating requires a building to be airtight. Controlled ventilation is essential. Could a responsive Decentralised Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (d-MVHR) be a quicker|cheaper|better whole-house solution?
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.
This rental property has had unresolved issues for many years.
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 purpose behind traditional decorative Architectural detailing. The historic building fabric was designed and detailed to manage moisture vapour by successfully interacting with the atmosphere. Before modifying the original, the function and purpose of the existing form should first be fully understood.
As an adult, it is easy to forget the joy of learning through doing. I have recently had the luck of having my passion for learning kinaesthetically reignited and I would recommend this workshop to absolutely anyone and everyone.
The home I live in needs to change: warmer, less damp, increase comfort, create an open plan room for more family-focused lives, improve aesthetic quality to the rooms and spaces, and a short term solution to create separate bedrooms for the kids.
It is undoubtedly the best hemp-lime application I have seen in several years. It is also one of the best wet-applied, breathable solid wall internal wall insulation systems I have seen, yet I believe it may be one of the cheapest. Well done Neighbourhood Construction
Since purchase in 2016, various damp problems have manifested in numerous locations, several of which focus upon the centrally located chimney stack. Despite multiple attempts to resolve the problem; chimney and roof repairs, clearing and repairs to gutters, the symptoms have persisted.
No doubt about it, damp is both intrusive and ugly as well. Following a discussion with Neighbourhood Construction, I made the move to borrow some tools and get started on removing the gypsum from the troubled areas in the kitchen.
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.
One of the things I have been impressed with is the idea of the partnership between ‘customer’ and ‘provider’ of work. The ethos of the Co-operative is to encourage the owners to join in and experiment for themselves. This can cut down cost and spread the knowledge around.
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.
For the past thirteen years, I have lived in fear of selling my house and “downsizing”. Down deep is the fear that a prospective buyer will discover just how many faults this huge Georgian house has. The Neighbourhood Construction home tutorial showed me that these fears are totally unfounded.
We spent the best part of a day looking at my project in my house. It was one of those moments when all of those question marks, all of those suspicions about what I could do, or should do with the property were crossed off my list. Decisions that I had put off for three years were made that day.
I popped the kettle on and took a look at the gas meter, to see how fast the dial spins each time I make a cup of tea. The answer is faster than expected!
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 […]
The hot and cold pipes ran around the study, twice… before heading up three floors. Smitten by the fittings, it was only after moving in that it was discovered how long it took to get lukewarm water to the upstairs bathroom. The source of this symptom was two floors below. The boiler was […]
Having read a number of publications and white papers on the subject of restoration and conservation of traditionally constructed buildings I understood the significance of vapour permeable, traditional building materials such as lime mortars and lime plasters.
Chasing old walls should be undertaken with hand tools. Installing or replacing electricity and plumbing requires a sympathetic appreciation for the traditional methods of masonry, carpentry, plaster, paper and paint.
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!
This property presents itself very honestly, unlike so many others it has not been freshly painted prior to being offered for sale and therefore allowed for gaining a good insight into the causes of moisture readings previously taken.
Getting on-board, early adopters looking for a more sympathetic approach to insulating our heritage housing stock with support from Joseph Little Dublin Institute Technology and Bristol City Council Principle Historic Environment Officer.
“Now the doors are operable, we really enjoy the warmth!” “And the aroma of cooking heading up-stairs is now a call to action”
20 seconds – Plastic bag; and a rubber band…
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 […]
Early prototyping, testing transient hygrothermal performance analysis with extremes of moisture. Research requires double-loop learning and real-world collaboration.