Local Group News

Updated information on events can be found on the website Forum (follow the blue link to Local Groups), AECB News Platform or email localgroups@aecb.net to be put on a Local Group mailing list.

  • New Local Group for the North West (Cumbria) from October

The first meeting of the North West (Cumbria) Group is being organised by Christine Armstrong, a former Trustee of the AECB and founder of Second Nature, famous for its British wool insulation,Thermafleece. The meeting will be held on 5th October 2011 at 6.30 pm at Second Nature, Soulands Gate, Dacre, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 0JF.

This is a great opportunity to network with other AECB members with the AECB conference and Cumbria Green Build Festival being reviewed.

Ten years ago, Christine Armstrong (with help from Leeds University Non-Woven Textile department) launched her natural, ‘British grown’ insulation product – Thermafleece. Famous for its wool insulation Second Nature now also supplies a hemp based insulation which is a blend of UK grown hemp and recycled polyester.

Christine, as well as starting up the new Local Group in the North West, has also served as a Trustee of the AECB. She believes that impartial independent advice and the encouragement of innovation within the green sector is fundamental to the AECB’s ethos. Having now had Thermafleece in the market for ten years, she has gained an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the complexities of researching, marketing and distributing sustainable building. It is this knowledge that she hopes to share to encourage and energise the Association.

If you would like to be kept in touch with regard to this Local Group please contact localgroups@aecb.net.

  • The Nottingham Local Group to visit an advanced “Whole-house Retrofit” – 2nd October 2011

Gil Schalom Group Leader of the Nottingham Local Group invites AECB members to join him on a visit to one of the UK’s most advanced whole-house retrofits using the PassivHaus methodology.

This is a unique opportunity and it is right in the Nottingham Mapperley Park Conservation Area. Two guided tours will take place on Sunday 2nd October at 1.00pm and 3.00pm hosted by the clients and Gil Schalom of Gil Schalom Design and they very much hope you can join them. Booking essential.

  • Cheshire/Shropshire/Staffordshire Group: “Going to the Dogs” – 8th October 2011

The next event near Shrewsbury is due to take place on Saturday 8th October 2011 at 10.30 am at The Roden Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre near Shrewsbury TF6 6BP. Limited places available – please RSVP to localgroups@aecb.net.

Members will visit a sustainable refurbishment designed by an AECB member, Peter Napier of Peter Napier & Co Ltd, Chartered Building Surveyors. The whole development has been designed using Passivhaus principles although it isn’t to be Passivhaus certified but we are only one of three to achieve BREEAM Outstanding. The project, for The Dogs Trust, includes a new reception area and rehoming kennels, a training hall, vets suite and an underground intake kennel building.
Building elements include timber framing filled with Warmcel insulation with glulam structural support, internal air tight barrier; service void filled with mineral wool insulation and, at the rear, steel framing with conventional brick and block cavity wall with 250mm cavity filled with mineral wool quilt. Recycled plastic bottle insulation batts were experimented with but proved difficult to work with.

The Intake building has reinforced concrete walls and roof with 300mm polystyrene insulation against outside face; earth and rubble arisings from the development were mounded over the structure and planted with ecologically rich species.
The whole approach has been to avoid the use of active technologies although PV panels will make the Centre zero carbon. Heating for the whole of the new development is by a district heating system with underground ducts and water heated by an Okofen wood pellet boiler within a pre packaged ‘Energy Box’ brought to site from Austria on a large lorry by DHL! Another AECB member, Eco Energi Ltd supplied and installed this system. Energy consumption will be a fraction of traditionally designed centres.

(see www.greenbuildingpress.co.uk/article.php?article_id=923 and www.wmcce.org/Dogs_rehoming)

  • “The Challenges of High Performance Building” talk at South Yorkshire Energy Centre

“The Challenges of High Performance Building” presentation and CPD by Stephen Baker of Natural Building Technologies (NBT) a leading supplier of sustainable building envelope systems (www.natural-building.co.uk).

To be held on Thursday 13th October 2011 (6:30 for 7:00 pm start) at South Yorkshire Energy Centre, Sheffield S2 3DT.

The South Yorkshire Energy Centre’s “Energy House” is described as an eco-refurbished visitor centre that demonstrates that even the worst north- facing, solid walled, end terrace in Sheffield can become a beacon of energy efficiency!

For directions visit http://www.heeleyfarm.org.uk/index.php?id=south-yorkshire-energy-centre.

  • East Anglia Group Meeting on 26th October – ‘Off-site’ v ‘On-site’ Construction

David Frost, East Anglia Group Leader, invites you to a meeting on 26th October 2011 at 2.00pm at West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmonds IP33 3RL. The topic for this meeting is Off-Site -v- On-Site Construction (A look at modern methods of construction and how traditional build fits in with ‘low energy building’)

  • Northern Scotland Group meeting 27th October 2011 with speaker Lucy Vaughan

Visit to Historic George Fort George Barracks, Ardersier, Inverness IV2 7TD on 27th October 2011 from 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Topic: Historic Scotland Conservation Courses (in conjunction with Inverness College)

Guest Speaker: Lucy Vaughan, Head of Conservation North, Historic Scotland

For more info contact: lforbes@scribbilib.info

  • Local Groups of the South East:

Saturday 29th October 2011 – visit to Ecotecture’s ‘Curly House’ and the Weald & Downland Museum ‘Building Crafts Gallery’

A joint event with the Brighton (aka South East) Group and the Kent Group is being organised for Saturday 29th October 2011. Award winning architectural practice, Ecotecture, is arranging for us to visit their Curly House project. This will be a unique opportunity to visit this amazing building and hear how it came about from not only the architects but also the builder and engineer. More details on their website www.ecotecture.co.uk.

Following this will be a visit to the Building Crafts Gallery at the Weald and Downland Museum where AECB members, Greenman Carpentry, will be informing us on the sustainable building decisions they made on construction methods of the new Building Crafts Gallery as well as their other projects throughout the region.

See their website for further information www.greenmancarpentry.co.uk or www.wealddown.co.uk

About The Curly House.

The Curly House in the Sussex Downs has made leaps and bounds since our last blog on the project. Kithurst builders have now installed the Op-Deck roofing system to the lower ground and ground floor. The product links seamlessly with the Nudura ICF product and produces U-values of 0.1w/m2k as standard. The contractor spent a lot of time ensuring that the services are in place prior to the pouring of the concrete core within the ICF and over the OP-Deck system.

There are many advantages from using a poured system such as excellent inherent air-tightness, but these do need to be weighed up against the time spent preparing for the pour. Leaving any service item out of the equation prior to this point could well prove to be costly or even impractical to install after. With this in mind the cabling for the IT in the building has been specified to be as future proof as is possible.

The building is very strong in its form, particularly as the ICF system is a very bright blue colour. The building will be finished in a self coloured render which will work well with the curves to produce a soft finish, this in conjunction with the curved lines of the deck, the additional landscaping and the brise soleil will sit the building down into the landscape and produce a building of exceptional architectural merit.

The core idea behind the building design is the pushing the envelope whilst maintaining balance between energy efficiency and high design concept. The building has been thermally modelled within IES, and shows that the curved design does not compromise the performance, in-fact it this specific design it actually enhances it.

About the Building Crafts Gallery at the Weald & Downland Museum.

Designed by Richard Harris the then Museum director (retired 01/01/11) as a long awaited replacement for a temporary poly-tunnel type structure that had been in place for nearly 15 years. The ‘white tent’ as it was known, was originally intended as an onsite timber frame restoration facility, the idea being that the public could watch the process of restoration whilst on a visit to the museum. The success of this idea let to the building of the Downland Gridshell and the white tent went on to serve in many other roles but mainly by the education department who used it as a wet weather space for school groups.

With this in mind, plus the intended re-organisation of the introductory exhibition in Hambrook barn, a space was devised whereby the floor area would be unobstructed by posts and have no windows in the walls to maximise display space. The roof pitch had to fit in with the surrounding exhibit buildings and so 45 degrees was decided on. With a span of 8 metres an 45 degree pitch would make the roof excessively high and obscure the view of exhibit buildings. A roof system was devised whereby use of 6 metre king post trusses would be placed accross the corners of the wall plates, the tie beams would take a cross beam and the cross beams would take two large LVL beams which would themselves form a box valley in the centre of the roof. The inside slope of the roof is covered in poly carbonate sheets and the exterior slope has a number of Velux conservation grade roof lights set into a traditionally tiled roof.

The insulation was from NBT and consisted of 200mm wood wool in the walls and 80mm rigid wood fibre sarking board accross rafters with scope to infill between rafters with 100mm wood wool. Anti racking was achieved using OSB on the interior face of the studs, this was pre-painted and edges lined with compriband to stop any drafts. All electrics are surface mounted with extra sockets high up to provide power for future exhibitions whilst being out of reach of the children. Heating is underfloor and powered by an air source heat pump.