Sunday, 18 September 2016

A new project: the annex

Of late, the blog has focussed on nature.

But our project is also about living lightly on the earth and reducing the carbon impact of our homes. We are proud of our A+ energy performance. But a lot of work is needed to achieve this. And now, a new chapter begins.

When we originally conceived the Cordwood project, it was Judith's pitch to us that not only would we build eco-homes, they would have provision for mum and dad should they wish it. Our home was built but 'the annex' was not completed, only being built as 'a shell' so that we could meet mum and dad's needs when it was needed as a 'Granny flat'.

Well, mum and dad are coming!  And we're preparing the annex for the builders who should arrive at the end of the month. And we hope to have them in before Christmas.

From 2013, the annex has been used as a store or general dumping ground. And what a load of detritus people can build up. No wonder mum and dad looked glum when we made our first planning visits to what looked no better than a dingy Steptoe's Parlour.

We had to empty the storage container to find room for the contents of the annex. What fun indeed.

And once cleared, our first task was to insulate the annex walls.

Ours is an eco-home and our walls are built with:

  • an external skin of Ancaster stone, 
  • an insulation-filled cavity 
  • and then a course of lightweight Celcon thermal blocks. 

These blocks are not only very effective at retaining heat, they are bonded together with adhesive rather than conventional mortar. Homes can lose 25% of their heat through their mortar joints. This use of adhesive rather than mortar makes the blocks even more effective.

Our architect calculated that even with this higher level of insulation, more was needed.

Starting last Sunday and with Sarah's initial help, sheets of 25mm polystyrene were cut and stuck to all the external Celcon block walls using plaster adhesive: a messy job!

The insulation is 99% complete - only a detail around the door hasn't been resolved.

And now we are working on making the annex airtight. More next time!

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