The NC projects address some fundamental yet simple underlying problems. They are not necessarily building projects, no-cost strategies and low-cost intervention may be all that is required or afforded. Such strategies and interventions can also be part of the diagnostics process during brief formulation.
The projects view each element of the house as a home, connecting the practical and emotional needs of the user as well as those of the property. A door may be perceived as a practical consideration, however, learning to instinctively operate the door will be in response to an emotional need. Either the occupant’s need for modesty or the properties need to reduce the internal convection current, conveying moisture, that results in degradation. Seeing the property as the patient, with emotional needs, maybe anthropomorphising, however, the perspective helps instil the required perception of underlying objectives.
The projects could be viewed as a simple guide to accessible and affordable home improvement, or a series of workshops that build into a comprehensive course. A school for cross-disciplinary RMI knowledge.
It is important to learn each aspect in relation to the whole. When an activity is large and multi-layered, the unknown bigger picture can feel overwhelming. Knowing where you are, that other parts exist, where they are found and how to unpack them is reassuring. It is helpful to have a simple mental model.
Informed occupant behaviour, looks not only at the operating of services and appliances; things with plugs on that are easy to measure, but also operating the building itself, windows, doors, etc, as well as the activities that take place within the building such as cooking, bathing, laundry etc.
Through a better understanding of how to operate our homes and the activities within them, we self-determine our agenda for renovation, maintenance and improvement, fortifying the importance of care, repair and accountability. Operating the operable, all the small things that add up to the whole that are so often overlooked.
Activities within the home
Operating the operable
Successful draught proofing looks not only at air ingress/egress; identifiable and measurable via pressure testing but also the passage and control of internal convection currents and how these affect and are affected by people and the thermal envelope.
Rather than simply installing products, it is important to ensure the restoration and functionality of windows and doors, locks and latches, vents and voids. The principles of internal weather empowering us to take good care and repair of our homes; operating the operable whilst also empowering and up-skilling in preparation for the more extensive project.
Strategic insulation looks not only at heat transfer and u-values; powerfully visualised with thermal images of the overheated exterior façades, but also thermal inertia and moisture buffering and how this effect and are affected by people and internal weather.
Rather than an unsympathetic and unattainable blanket approach to the whole house, it is possible to build a thorough, comprehensive, room by room refurbishment. Removing the smörgåsbord of inappropriate material. A practical, more achievable and efficient approach to keeping warm and dry, quicker cheaper and better.
Paper and paint
Energy and moisture look at the commonly misinterpreted symptoms of damp; plausible explanations for rising and penetrating moisture wrongly attributed to failures in the building fabric. Instead, observation identifies the source and analyses the history.
Rather than treating dampness as a disease that requires a prescription of remediation, we inform our understanding and acknowledge that what we do in our homes and to them affect how they behave. The failure demand of confirmation bias is replaced with empowerment, a knowledge-led approach and a willingness to instil new behaviours.