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Church cottage in Wootton

House features: Wall heating

(Natürliches Bauen, Koblenz, Germany)

An in-wall, low temperature (30˚– 35˚ C) heating system which delivers radiant heat and is hence ecologically and economically very efficient.

Why we chose it:
1.    energy-efficient
2.    no circulation of allergens through  
       convective air movement

3.    very agreeable heating effect
4.    keeps the walls dry

Pellet Boiler (Rika, Austria)
A 12Kw  stove and back boiler that is very energy-efficient (94%) and emits very little CO2 (less than 0.1%) in the burning process. The stove radiates 15% of heat out into the living room, the remaining 85% go into the wall-heaters.
Latest case studies:

Why we chose it:
1.    only carbon neutral heating system available to viably heat the house
2.    the stoves direct/ indirect heating ratio is ideal for our small living room

Reed board insulation

(Natürliches Bauen, Koblenz, Germany)

A breathable insulation (thermal conductivity: ca. 0,056 W/mK) that also serves well as a base for the wall heating and the clay plaster.

Why we chose it:
1.    proven to work with our wall heating system
2.    easy to install

Clay plaster

(Natürliches Bauen, Koblenz, Germany)

Breathable plaster that doesn't require any paint, can be easily repaired, is breathable, takes up humidity and looks beautiful.

Why we chose it:
1.    proven to work with our wall heating system
2.    has humidity-regulating properties

Casein paint

(Natural Building Technologies Ltd, Oakley, UK)

Used between joists and wherever white clay was not practical. Casein paint is a solvent-free, chalk and/or lime based paint with a matt white finish that mostly comes in powder form and needs to be mixed with water. It is breathable and helps regulate humidity. Where washability is important, however, Casein paint is not suitable.

Why we chose it:
1.    It's breathable
2.    It's solvent free, hence does not aggravate any allergy problems
3.    The powder can be stored for a long time – good for a lengthy building  

4.    The paint structure matches the clay aesthetically

Hemp/ recycled cotton insulation

(Natural Building Technologies Ltd, Oakley, UK)

Used in one wall without heating to insulate both thermally and accoustically (thermal conductivity:  0.040 W/mK) . According to the manufacturer hemp batts can be used in loft spaces, between rafters and within walls and floors. They are elastic and are easy to fit and hold between rafters and in walls, without additional fixings. They are vapour open and hygroscopic.

Why we chose it:
1.    Hemp/cotton batts can absorb and release moisture without degrading    
      and without loss of thermal resistivity.

2.    the manufacturer claims that for every 1Kg of hemp insulation used    
       instead of mineral wool 1.4Kg of CO2 is saved.

3.    The material does not aggravate any allergy problems (unlike sheeps    
       wool) and is easy to work with

Windows and doors

(Vrogum, Denmark)

Made to measure wood frames, double-glazed w. Argon, treated with solvent-free finish. U-value: 1.1.

Why we chose them:
1.    solvent-free, they would not aggravate our allergy problems
2.    they're custom-made and so we could fit them to our extremely    
       differently sized window openings.

3.    They fitted the appearance of the house and neighbouring cottages.
4.    The price. Replacing all windows (bar two) cost £5000

Lime  screed

A lime screed floor maintains the vapour permeability of the floor whilst incorporating insulating and moisture-repelling properties (Leica).

Why we chose it:
1.    we needed to replace the old concrete slab which seemed to push  
       water up the walls with an insulating floor which could also be a      

2.    the embodied energy of hydraulic lime is less than that of Portland    

A-rated energy-efficient appliances/ water-saving loo

We have an energy efficient induction cooker and A-rated oven (Stoves), an A-rated fridge and washing machine (Hotpoint Aqualtis and Electra retro fridge) and a loo (Ifö) that uses 4 litres for a full flush and 2 litres for a half-flush.

Oak floors from sustainably managed forests

(Old House Store, Henley on Thames)

The oak for our new floors comes from sustainably managed forests in Croatia. Used oak was unaffordable.

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