Friday, 13 September 2013

Self-Build & Design Show is nearly here!

We have nearly completed setup of our stand for the Self-Build & Design Show at Westpoint, Exeter this weekend.

Please drop by and see us to talk about your project!

Gale & Snowden at Self-Build & Design Show

The Self-Build & Design Show 2013 takes place this weekend (14-15th September) at Westpoint, Exeter, and Gale & Snowden Architects will be there!

Come and visit us on Stand D172B to say hello, meet the team and discuss how we can help you with your project.

We look forward to seeing you there!

TSB monitoring update of Passivhaus schemes: Knights Place and Rowan House

We have now carried out over a year of monitoring at these flats, downloaded the data and started the analysis.  To recap, as part of this study we have been monitoring the following:
  • All energy circuits – lights, small power, hot water, MVHR, kitchen appliances etc
  • Temperature, humidity, CO2 levels 

Our findings so far have found that

The flats use 4-5 times less space heating energy and 2-3 times less hot water energy compared to standard new build.  This translates to an overall energy saving of over 65%.  

Whilst we have managed to reduce heating and hot water loads via the design the next step in closing the performance gap is to address tenant behaviour and appliance use.   Energy loads here require particular attention and G&S are proposing to work with the tenants to develop low energy strategies and review how they are using their appliances and the type they have.   

Monitored CO2 levels for winter cold days have been found to be within acceptable guidelines for good air quality.   This is good news as it shows that with windows closed in winter and using the MVHR (mechanical ventilation with heat recovery) system, good air quality can be achieved.  

We have also found that comfortable temperature conditions can be maintained on the coldest of days with the use of a small heater battery in the supply air.

The next step now is to download the summer temperature data for this years exceptional summer to determine how well the flats have maintained comfort levels with all that mass they have been designed with.  

The findings are summarised in the following publication:

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Gale & Snowden Schools Design and Passivhaus Consultancy Services

Gale & Snowden are building on their school building design experience and Passivhaus work.  The practice has recently been commissioned to provide Passivhaus Design Consultancy for a £6m Primary School in Wales.  A planning application is to be submitted before the end of the year and start on site is scheduled for the beginning of 2014.

Torrington Infant School, Devon.  Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd.

Pioneering Work Towards Low Energy Swimming Pools by Gale & Snowden Architects with Exeter University

Gale & Snowden Architects and Engineers has recently completed design work for the UK’s first Passivhaus Certified public swimming pool and leisure complex for Exeter City Council with funding from the Technology Strategy Board under the Design for Future Climate programme. As part of this work Gale & Snowden is pleased to publish a joint academic building physics paper with Exeter University entitled ‘Modelling Low Energy Swimming Pools adapted to Climate Change’.

The results show that the key energy loads for the building are heating the pool water to maintain temperature and heating fresh water followed by heating the pool hall to maintain a high air temperature. Simulations show that the pool hall will require heating throughout the year even under a 2080s climate change scenario. The energy load for this space heating outweighs the loads for cooling and dehumidification even in future climates. Therefore the overall strategy should be to minimise the pool evaporation and heating load where possible, this can be achieved by:

  • Maximising solar gain to the building throughout the year by orientating to the south with optimum glazing ratios.
  • Minimising heat loss from the building by including high insulation and high airtightness standards such as those recommended by the Passivhaus standard.
  • Maintaining relative humidity levels of around 65% and fresh air rates of 0.5 ac/h for normal use are the optimum in terms of minimising energy loads, using variable speed fans to alter fresh air supply rate to balance humidity and water evaporation with occupancy will result in lower energy use.
  • Including shading devices has a detrimental effect on the energy requirements for the buildings, as it will reduce the solar gain that can contribute to the heating load and therefore increase the overall energy loan.
  • Significantly increasing the glazing levels will result in a neutral energy effect, as although the heating energy load will be reduced across the climate change scenarios, it will increase the cooling loads by an equal amount in 2050 and a greater amount by 2080. This study is useful if glazing areas are required to increase daylight levels or views out.
  • The use of efficient mechanical processes and heat recovery (sensible and latent where possible) will become even more prevalent in future swimming pool buildings in particular at reducing dehumidification loads and heating colder incoming fresh air load.
  • Finally, lowering the pool water temperature will decrease evaporation and reduce water-heating requirements. The fresh air supply rate may also be reduced to maintain relative humidity.

We have devised a methodology for the incorporation of swimming pools into thermal modelling software. We have presented proof of concept by modelling an example swimming pool and examining heat loads for different levels of ventilation and humidity. The method accounts for latent and sensible heat losses from the pool water and the required energy to heat water and maintain humidity in the pool hall. This methodology has been used to assess the impact of different design scenarios on the energy loads of the pool building in the current climate and under estimates of climate change over this century.