Tuesday, 8 November 2011

G&S win funding from TSB for energy performance evaluation

Gale & Snowden Architects Ltd are pleased to announce that we have been successful in winning funding from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) under the energy performance evaluation funding.

The intensive assessment over the next 18 months will be for the Passivhaus flats at Knights Place which were commissioned and are owned by Exeter City Council. The project was designed by Gale & Snowden Architects and completed in summer 2011. The in depth study will include:
  • energy monitoring
  • dynamic U-value and heat flux monitoring of building materials
  • air quality monitoring
  • temperature, humidity and CO2 monitoring
  • thermal comfort assessment for both winter warmth and summer overheating
  • renewable energy systems performance monitoring
  • tenant questionnaire

Through this monitoring, we will be able to assess how a Passivhaus scheme performs in operation. Part of the monitoring will be to compare a Passivhaus building with MVHR to a super-insulated, naturally ventilated dwelling.
The funding was won as part of a competition run by the TSB. The results of the monitoring will be published on our website in due course.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Opening ceremony for new extension to social club at Woolsery Sports and Community Hall

The ongoing success of the community building was celebrated on 30th September with an opening ceremony for the new extension designed by Gale & Snowden Architects.  The original building was designed 10 years ago and remains one of the most environmentally aware public buildings in the UK.  The quality of the design was recognised in 2003 when the building was awarded a special Civic Trust Award for 'Vital Villages'.

David and Sam Gale were present at the extension opening ceremony and thanks were given by the community for Gale & Snowden's work and their charitable contribution to the project.

More information about Woolsery Sports and Community Hall can be found on our website.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Insulating a Cob Cottage - 1

Jason our mechanical and energy engineer has recently been taking some time off from work to renovate and insulate his own cob cottage.  Having already plastered internally using traditional methods and lime based plasters it was now time to apply what was learnt to the external facade.   In its existing condition the cottage had cement render which needed to be replaced due to cracking and movement.   This presented an ideal opportunity to also apply some form of external wall insulation system.  Having researched various different ways of insulating cob walls ranging from hemp products to EPS systems to wood fibres Jason deciding on using a lime based insulating render system containing perlites.  A render system called Unilit 20 with a  thermal conductivity of 0.066 W/m.K.   Whilst  not as good as some modern insulants this is still a significant improvement over applying nothing.   A balance had to be found between maintaining the aesthetics of the cottage and cob, vapour permeability and cost.    In addition the render system  has extraction qualities which promotes the drying out of the humidity and moisture in the walls which in turn ensures the walls stay warmer for longer.

Cob Cottage with cement render

existing cement render condition
monitoring instruments

Prior to the work taking place SPAB (Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings) decided to use the cottage as part of a research project they were conducting.  This  research project, which is part funded by the Dartmoor National Park Authority's Sustainable Development Fund is concerned with investigating the thermal performance of traditionally built walls and what can be done to improve them.  

The SPAB Building Performance Survey, prior to the works taking place, looked at:
  • Fabric heat loss through the U-value measurement of wall elements both in the form of in-situ and calculated U-values.
  • Air infiltration through air permeability testing and thermographic survey.
  • Moisture, room and wall moisture including wall surface and interstitial moisture behaviour.
  • Indoor air conditions and comfort levels via the measurement of CO2.
  • Interior temperature and relative humidity.
Once the insulating measures have been carried out SPAB will return this winter to carry out the tests again.  In addition to the external insulating render it is intended to dig out the ground floors and insulate them, increase the roof insulation and make the cottage more air tight.

Extract from SPAB interim report (draft)

cement render removal
lovely bit of cob

now with skat coat
first coat of insulating render

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

G&S obtain funding through TSB Design for Future Climate: Adapting Buildings Round 2

Gale & Snowden are pleased to announce that we have been successful in winning significant funding for two clients' projects from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) - Design for Future Climate: Adapting Buildings Round 2 competition. The projects are a new public swimming pool facility and a new office complex, both to be designed to Passivhaus standards. The funding is to allow the practice to investigate solutions to deal with future climate change by employing our skills in building physics and low environmental impact, passive design.

The award of the funding comes after the practice was successful last year in the Round 1 funding from the TSB for investigating and designing in climate change adaption for an Extra Care Facility in Exeter, Devon. This Round 1 work will be completed in October 2011 and the results will be made available shortly afterwards.

If you are interested in finding out more please feel free to visit our website and contact us.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Passivhaus Open Days

Gale & Snowden are proud to have the opportunity to show visitors around the 18 new flats at Knights Place, Exeter, some of the first multi-residential buildings in the UK to be designed to Passivhaus standards.

Site visits are being held during Thursday 30th June and Friday 1st July 2011, with a series of tours, talks and presentations available throughout each day.

To book an appointment, please contact Gale & Snowden on 01237 474952.

Images: Copyright Gale & Snowden

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

New website!!

Our new website is now online!

ecodesign.co.uk offers in-depth information on Gale & Snowden's approach to projects and our expertise as well as project profiles and literature to download.

If you're interested in anything ecodesign, please visit at http://www.ecodesign.co.uk/

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

G&S Passivhaus flats shortlisted for multiple awards at 2011 LABC South West Building Excellence Awards.

Gale & Snowden's Passivhaus scheme at Rowan House for Exeter City Council has been shortlisted for three awards at the 2011 LABC South West Building Excellence Awards: Best Social Housing Development; Best Technical Development and Best Sustainable Development.

3 Passivhaus flats at Rowan House, Sivell Place, Exeter

The 3 flats at Rowan House, Sivell Place, Exeter are among the first social housing accommodation in the UK to be built using the Passivhaus method for an apartment development.

When the client, Exeter City Council, was offered a funding opportunity by the HCA to develop council housing in Exeter, it was decided to use this chance to provide exemplary, affordable housing, built to the highest standard of sustainable construction.

To meet the stringent Passivhaus standard it was required to achieve exceptional levels of air tightness with the air permeability target as low as 0.3 cbm/sqm/h. This, together with high levels of insulation, high performance windows and doors, thermal bridge free detailing and the use of a more than 90% efficient mechanical ventilation system has reduced the overall heating demand to a minimum so that a traditional heating system was not required.

Achieving the Passivhaus standard was only possible through the combined effort of the design team developing the air tightness strategy and detailing, the site management team and builders for implementing this strategy and finally the client for their commitment and passion to deliver an outstanding, exemplary housing scheme. Purely through passive design elements Rowan House will use approximately 90% less heating energy when compared to a standard UK building (if built to current Building Regulation requirements). In other words Rowan House could be heated by the equivalent of 1.5 litre of heating oil, i.e.15 kWh of thermal energy per sqm per year, or 60p per sqm per year (based on a price for heating oil of 40p a litre), making it truly affordable for its future tenants without compromising on comfort or indoor air quality.

This year the LABC SW Building Excellence Award winners will be announced at a black tie gala dinner on Friday 24th June 2011.  David, Lawrence and Tomas from G&S will be attending.

For more information, please visit the Rowan House project page on our website

G&S Passivhaus schemes win national award

At the Association of Retained Council Housing (ARCH) awards, held on 19th May 2011, two schemes designed by Gale & Snowden for Exeter City Council scooped the ARCH Award 2011 for Innovation and Sustainability.

The two developments at Rowan House (3 flats) and Knights Place (18 flats), are among the first social housing accommodation in the UK to be built using the Passivhaus method for an apartment development.  Rowan House was completed at the end of 2010 and Knights Place is due for completion this month.

Exeter City Council successfully bid for grant funding to build the 21 new homes and worked closely with tenants to understand their preferences in relation to sustainable housing, and with Gale & Snowden to deliver the projects.

For more information please visit the Knights Place and Rowan House pages on our website.

9 of the 18 Passivhaus flats at Knights Place, Merlin Crescent, Exeter.

Gale & Snowden Architects provide a full Passivhaus design service as well as a consultancy service to support their clients with the Passivhaus aspects of their projects including:
  • Individual design consultancy to meet the stringent criteria required by the Passivhaus standard for developers, contractors and designers
  • Advice on economic design strategies to reduce the energy demand
  • PHPP calculations
  • Thermal bridging analysis
  • Air tightness consultancy and detailing
  • Full Passivhaus compliant MVHR design service
  • CPD seminars covering Passivhaus design principles, achieving the air tightness and using the PHPP
  • Individually organized guided Passivhaus tours to exemplar projects in Germany and the UK

Gale & Snowden Architects’ team of certified Passivhaus designers have more than 3 years experience in designing to this standard in the UK context and have been involved with all work stages of the design, detailing and delivery of some of the first Passivhaus Houses in the UK through to practical completion.

For further information please visit the Passivhaus design consultancy page on our website.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Excellent feedback follows TSB presentation

Extra Care for Exeter.  Gale & Snowden Architects

"I really enjoyed the presentation on this project. They are confident that they can provide a safe thermal environment for vulnerable older occupants to 2050 using a passive design. My favourite part is the knowledge that older people in the UK aren't used to passive homes and so they are building in an alert system to prompt occupants to close their windows when the temperature is higher outside than inside.

Another lovely aspect of this project is that they took the opportunity to totally redesign the care home to have bedrooms facing north and the living rooms facing south and overlooking communal gardens to give a sense of other people being around. It's not just a design to avoid overheating above 25 degrees, but also designed to be a more pleasant place to live."

Dr. Fionnuala Costello - Lead Technologist, Low Impact Buildings, Technology Strategy Board


Friday, 20 May 2011

G&S at the Spears Design for Living Awards

On Wednesday this week, after presenting at the TSB Conference for Climate Change Adaptation, David attended the Spears Design for Living Awards in London where Gale & Snowden were shortlisted for the Garden Desire award.  On this occasion, we didn't win but a good evening was had by all!

Photographs by Clive Boursnell

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Design for Future Climate Change: Adapting Buildings

Factsheet illustrating the recent work that G&S have undertaken with Exeter City Council, researching and designing a new-build, exemplary extra-care facility in Exeter.  G&S are presenting the scheme at the Technology Strategy Board conference in London today.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

G&S shortlisted for high-profile award

Gale & Snowden have been shortllisted for a high profile award at the Spear's 'Design For Living Awards'. The award we are shorlisted for is the 'Gardens of Desire' category for 'the designer who works with the materials nature gave us'.

The awards ceremony is being held tomorrow evening, May 18th at Jack Barclay, Berkeley Square, London.

David is attending the event with Clive Boursnell, our photographer, and he is hoping to meet the awards presenter, Elizabeth Hurley......

Keynote speakers at Climate Change conference

Gale & Snowden are a keynote speaker at the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) event in London tomorrow (May 18th). Our research and design work into Climate Change Adaption for a new-build, exemplary extra-care facility in Exeter will be showcased at the TSB conference.

More information on this event, our Climate Change Adaptation work and the extra care facility design will be posted following the event.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Newsletter 6. Spring 2011

Welcome to our latest newsletter.

If you are interested in any of the items, you will find hyperlinks to relevant web sites, so you can explore the subject further.

Please let us know what you think in the comments section below and if you have any thoughts about what you would like to see in our future newsletters, we would similarly like to hear from you.
We wish you well.