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Insulation and air tightness standards
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vtsnowedin wrote:
.... The math on the cross sectional area doesn't work out exactly for a six inch stove pipe but as the stove has a damper plate in the line and is seldom run wide open it works fine in practice.


An oversupply of air to the fire would probably be an advantage as it slows the flow of air coming out of the vent. This would reduce any venturi effect which might cause rapid air circulation, draughts, in the room.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
In the old days inglenooks were the answer to draughty houses. For the uninitiated an inglenook fireplace is one where you actually sit in the fireplace with the fire to get full advantage of it because the rest of the room was so cold because it was uninsulated and extremely draughty.


In the even older day, having a few animals in the house helped too...there'd be a gully in the middle of the floor, leading to the outside, for excreta. Laughing
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BritDownUnder



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One further advantage I can think of improving my draught proofing efforts is that the smoke from the neighbour's wood fire can no longer be smelt inside my house.
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woodburner



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Another problem in older (50s to 80s) houses is the inadequacy of the insulation of the structure which leads to cold spots, condensation, mould and then health problems. In these houses the amount of ventilation required to stop mould means that heating is unaffordable.


This seems to be a statement which is either unclear, or written without sufficient care.

I visit many houses, of all ages, including those built in the 1950s to 1980s. I assume you were not referring to the 1850s. I do this to service and maintain the heating boilers. I have not noticed mould growing on the walls, though I do look. Most now have double glazing with sealed windors and doors. Some of those have trickle vents. Some houses still have the original windows.

Some people are well off, some do not have a lot of money, however, since they are able to buy their fuel and they are able to pay me, I think that indicates that heating those houses is affordable.

In general those that live in the draughtier houses have fewer respiratory problems than those who live in the sealed houses.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritDownUnder wrote:
One further advantage I can think of improving my draught proofing efforts is that the smoke from the neighbour's wood fire can no longer be smelt inside my house.


That indicates they are not good at running a wood fire. Done properly, wood fires do not need to smell. Unless you mean bonfires.
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BritDownUnder



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
BritDownUnder wrote:
One further advantage I can think of improving my draught proofing efforts is that the smoke from the neighbour's wood fire can no longer be smelt inside my house.


That indicates they are not good at running a wood fire. Done properly, wood fires do not need to smell. Unless you mean bonfires.


I think that is very true. Not a bonfire but it smelt like it. He would put on a large bit of wood, presumably shut off most of the air going into the fire and then go out to work leaving a plume of PM2.5 smoke usually trailing over my house and half the town. He was not alone. Australians with their wooden houses seem very reluctant to let a fire roar away. It may be due to the type of chimney used as a lot seem to be the metal flue type that get very hot when a fire is roaring. When I was growing up in the UK we had a brick house and chimney and we would let the Rayburn get exceedingly hot and there was very little smoke except just after lighting it.

I am guessing by your username you are an expert wood burner whose experience would have been very useful in these parts.

The house has now been sold and the new occupants gave a look of horror when I mentioned the woodfire and promptly told me they would be getting ducted air conditioning installed.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

woodburner wrote:
Quote:
Another problem in older (50s to 80s) houses is the inadequacy of the insulation of the structure which leads to cold spots, condensation, mould and then health problems. In these houses the amount of ventilation required to stop mould means that heating is unaffordable.


This seems to be a statement which is either unclear, or written without sufficient care.

I visit many houses, of all ages, including those built in the 1950s to 1980s. I assume you were not referring to the 1850s. I do this to service and maintain the heating boilers. I have not noticed mould growing on the walls, though I do look. Most now have double glazing with sealed windors and doors. Some of those have trickle vents. Some houses still have the original windows.

Some people are well off, some do not have a lot of money, however, since they are able to buy their fuel and they are able to pay me, I think that indicates that heating those houses is affordable.

In general those that live in the draughtier houses have fewer respiratory problems than those who live in the sealed houses.


The problems of fuel poverty, damp and mould growth have been well documented on TV, in the press and trade press. I suspect that you don't get to see the problem because the people who are suffering can't afford fuel let alone your services.

There are problems with upvc and aluminium double glazed replacement windows because they aren't fitted with trickle vents and many aren't fitted with smaller top vents so people are unwilling to open the large window to ventilate as they cannot achieve a controlled rate of ventilation in windy weather. There is also an attitude, because the windows are sold as draught proof and it is one of the main reasons that people buy them, that "I have paid good money for these super new, draught proof windows and I'm not going to open them to let the draught in."

If these windows did have trickle vents it would be possible to achieve a controlled rate of ventilation in windy weather without the penalty of massive draughts. It is a problem of cost cutting and bad design of the windows not one of air tightness.

It is a problem of education of both the window manufacturers and purchasers to get the proper design windows sold and the purchaser using them properly. There is less of a problem in new houses because they are fitted with extract ventilation in wet rooms which often comes on automatically with the light and extracts the major sources of water vapour at source.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritDownUnder wrote:
...Australians with their wooden houses seem very reluctant to let a fire roar away. It may be due to the type of chimney used as a lot seem to be the metal flue type that get very hot when a fire is roaring. When I was growing up in the UK we had a brick house and chimney and we would let the Rayburn get exceedingly hot and there was very little smoke except just after lighting it.


Wooden houses are very light weight with little thermal mass so they heat up very quickly and also cool off very quickly. If you are out all day that can be an advantage as the house will warm up quickly, if well insulated, when heat is applied when you return home. Running a stove at anywhere near full belt in such a house would over heat it very quickly. If the heating is left off all day there could be a damp problem in some weather conditions as the house cools so they may have been trying to address such a problem. Burning wood slowly is never a good idea though as the burning is very inefficient as you have noticed.

A heavier, brick built house with a heavy inner skin can have an oversized fire running for quite a time before it starts to overheat as the walls absorb a lot of the heat from the air. They can then let that heat back into the room when the fire burns down thus ironing out the peaks and troughs in heat output.

A heavy weight house can be a disadvantage in a hot climate if there is no period of cool overnight to reduce the internal temperature of the house which builds up during the day. With no cool period the house then builds up heat and is uncomfortable over the full 24 hours. A timber house would be closer to the ambient temperature all the time so would be cooler overnight as the temperature dropped slightly.

Quote:
The house has now been sold and the new occupants gave a look of horror when I mentioned the woodfire and promptly told me they would be getting ducted air conditioning installed.


Aircon!! The prime indicator of a badly designed building!
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adam2
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friends built a house, a few years ago that was well insulated and had enormous thermal mass.
The internal walls being built of concrete blocks laid the "wrong" way round such that the greatest dimension of the block was the thickness of the wall.
The inner face of the external walls was similar with an outer skin of stonecast blocks and insulation in between.
The structure has given complete satisfaction, though the energy input to warm it up when first occupied was astounding. (large multi-fuel stove run flat out for a month !)

Damp, condensation and mould were troubling to begin with, but non existent once the structure was warmed up and dried out.
The consumption of coal, LPG, and diesel fuel was frightening initially, but subsequent running costs have been very reasonable.

The house is discussed here
http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17297&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=cheap+building&start=0
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BritDownUnder



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think that the house was built around 1920 and it seems that houses in inland New South Wales were built to be reasonably comfortable in the hot summers that occur here. You can get 40 deg C days and 15 deg C nights. They are simply putting in air con because they want a house at 22 deg C year round. Obviously the house was not designed for that. It has 10 foot ceilings to allow hot air to gather in the ceiling area and has air vents in the wooden weatherboard where it would presumably exit the building to be replaced by cold night air coming in through opened windows or through the 'leaky' floorboards (the house is on piles to allow air to circulate under it). On coolish summer nights after a very hot day it is advantageous to have a leaky house.

In winter that design would certainly work against you and that is probably why even in Australia with my house being a similar design I still use more energy to heat than I do to cool. In the 1920s I am sure a roaring fire would have been used on winter evenings. Today I have insulated the loft above the high ceilings and try to seal all the air leaks I can but have not started on the leaky floorboards until I can get vents for use in summer. I have also put some crude secondary glazing based on polycarbonate sheets or shrinkable window film.

Regarding thermal mass I think in a new house it would be useful so long as shading is used in summer. In these wooden, slightly elevated houses you struggle. I have thought of storage heaters running off excess solar during the daytime but the initial $1200+ purchase cost is high. At the moment I elect to run the air conditioners in heating mode during the day using free solar power and close up and seal up during the night. The limited thermal mass will see you past bedtime most nights. I bought bathroom type radiant wall mounted heaters at $12 each that I use in 600 watt setting on the walls of my office and my son's play area simply to 'waste' excess solar generated energy and hopefully to heat up the house a bit too. Well placed underfloor heating may be a possibility, again running on excess winter daytime solar energy. We can get quite sunny days in winter and temperatures around 15 to 20degC. Nights fall to near zero.

I found this link
(requires a facebook log in) that explains how a new build can be made to suit Melbourne conditions with cooler winters than my location.

So far nobody has mentioned heat recovery ventilation systems. They are heinously expensive in Australia as are most things actually.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritDownUnder wrote:


So far nobody has mentioned heat recovery ventilation systems. They are heinously expensive in Australia as are most things actually.

Actually I did back up on page one. They are worth the expense here where winter lows can reach minus 40 C and you can have three months without ever topping zero C. Nothing too complicated about them, just a double duct with the common wall finned for heat exchange on both sides and the ends separated to prevent a loop effect.
Probably not cost effective in Australia with your milder winters.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Single-room units of those are excellent for bathrooms. They burn about 50w when flat-out (5 w when ticking-over) and you can smell the garden when you're standing having a shower. What's not to like?
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BritDownUnder wrote:
....I found this link
(requires a facebook log in) that explains how a new build can be made to suit Melbourne conditions with cooler winters than my location....


I can't seem to get into that for some reason. Any chance of a cut and past of it?
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BritDownUnder



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kenneal - lagger wrote:
BritDownUnder wrote:
....I found this link
(requires a facebook log in) that explains how a new build can be made to suit Melbourne conditions with cooler winters than my location....


I can't seem to get into that for some reason. Any chance of a cut and past of it?


Try joining this facebook group - My Efficient Electric Home.

This is the final part of a series of six. Link to number five and one through to four within.

Houses in Australia are given a star rating out of 10 by an organisation - basically new builds are generally 6 stars and 10 is a passivhaus standard. i think that is organisation was set up by Brenda and Robert Vale of Hockerton house fame.

Raw text below. Note to Adam this is text copied from a pdf file from a facebook group but is verbatim text from a Murdoch owned newspaper so copyright may be an issue.

Quote:
'Tip 6' for Direct Action: Solar efficient no-grid home, built by...?
*This is the sixth part in a series of 'Tips for Direct Action'. Click here for parts one, two, three, four and five.
Could you imagine a house with just one small $500 heater that uses less than half the annual electricity of a fridge?
A house that's so efficient that with a small battery system (now available from companies like ZEN Home Energy
Systems) could operate through winter, even in cloudy Melbourne, without being connected to the electricity grid?
This is a house that we should all be able to own and on Friday last week I visited Ewan, the proud owner of such a
house located right within Environment Minister Greg Hunt's own federal division of Flinders, on Victoria's
Mornington Peninsula.
This home isn't some boutique, architect designed fandangoed building, either, It's a stock-standard volume-built
house that was upgraded (mostly through checking boxes in a 100-page catalogue) from Henley, a large scale house
builder better known for their McMansions than environmentally friendly builds.
In the coldest months of June, July and August this Henley nine-star house required just 385kWh of heating input.
Utilising a standard LG 3.2kW split system reverse cycle air conditioner (COP of 5.42) that monthly winter heating
requirement can be delivered with just 71kWh which due to the thermal mass isolated inside the building can be run
overnight on the off-peak tariff ($8.50 per month).
And what did it cost?
The Henley house had a $220,000 base price and for just 15 per cent ($35,000) more it was upgraded to barely
require a heater (coming in at just under 10-star). However, this cost is offset by not plumbing and connecting gas,
about $5000, and not installing an evaporative swamp cooler and a large gas heater, about $8000.
The current one-off upgrade price would be between 30-50 per cent more expensive than if Henley or any large
volume builder included these features as standard in all their new homes.
Being smarter about your space
One way of looking at the upfront capital cost difference is if the floor area was reduced from, say, 220 to 200 sq m
– then the upgrade would be cost neutral to the customer.
The savings
From $500-1000 per year compared to a paper rated but untested large new development six-star house. And a much
more comfortable house than can be achieved even after throwing a whopping great big heating and air conditioning
system at it as a kludge fix to lack of build quality, draughtiness and poor insulation.
So what was done?
1) Orientation
This bit of the equation didn't cost anything but you have to have a site that will allow you to run the living area and
master bedroom along the north side. There is a problem in many developments that do not have block sizes to allow
for this, and that needs to be fixed up at the local/state government planning stage (though there's always an
opportunity for 'direct action' lurking in every corner).
2) Eaves
The standard volume built house doesn't have much in the way of eaves. Eaves were pushed out all around the
perimeter in order to shade the houses ample north facing glazing in summer, a further saving for the budget
conscious could be had by only opting for the eaves on the north side.
3) Glazing
MATTHEW WRIGHT BUSINESS SPECTATOR 6:14PM September 25, 2013
30/11/2017 'Tip 6' for Direct Action: Solar efficient no-grid home, built by...?
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/tip-6-for-direct-action-solar-efficient-nogrid-home-built-by/news-story/c377668bdda2… 2/4
Glazing was upgraded with Argon filled DGUs (double glazed units) 6-8mm glass 12mm air gap, which cost around
$8000. By using double glaze units its the same in terms of energy losses as halving the amount of glazing while
maintaining solar gain with north facing glazing. If the volume builder could offer triple it would be like reducing
the glazing (again from a losses perspective) to a third. With these savings a large amount of north glazing can be
present maximising the solar gain in wintertime to reduce the need for heating. Southern Victoria is a heating climate
with 80 times the energy used for heating versus cooling.
4) Walls
The exterior bricks were dropped and replaced with Kingspan Kooltherm5 R4.0 phenolic insulation boards which
were then rendered for the final finish. Now in my book this should have saved money rather than cost more as
bricklaying is a very laborious, time consuming and costly task, not to mention that firing bricks is incredibly energy
intensive.
5) Insulation
The Kingspan boards mentioned above are cladding the walls ready for rendering at R4.0 combined with the
standard R2.7batts, between the studs in the walls. The roof has R6.0 batts installed between the ceiling joists
carefully laid to make sure there were no gaps combined with an R1.5 blanket under the rooftop corrugated iron.
6) Air leakage
A very important part of the job was in regards to air leakage. The house was air pressure tested and sealed up in a
way that is standard in Europe and exemplified in the Passiv Haus standard. This was performed by the team at
Victorian based Air Barrier Technologies and cost $1200 and in practice meant that air would not get in between the
slab and kingspan boards, around windows and doors,\ and especially around the penetrations made by plumbers and
electricians behind kitchen sinks, the stovetop and oven. Architraves, kickpanels, light and power switches were also
sealed. Just above the walls between the ceiling and the roof inside the roof cavity was sealed as air movement
across bulk batts significantly derates them.
7) Heat recovery ventilator
Once the house was sealed up to 1.1 ACH50 (about 0.05 ACHnat) a Mitsubishi Heat Recovery Ventilator was
installed (around $3000 and a 40 watt average fan). The unit has four small ducting port holes in the wet areas and
kitchen which draw air and remove it through the HRV's heat exchanger. At the same time fresh air is brought in,
heated up and filtered by the HRV and then delivered to the living areas and bedrooms. The only direct connection
to outside is a rangehood (that includes a damper) located directly above the stove top. The decision was made to
bypass the HRV for the rangehood to avoid the heat exchanger/filters from getting clogged up.
Cool Hot Water
The house has a evacuated tube solar hot water service which the owner may consider coupling with a heat pump
hot water unit to increase the renewable share of hot water from 75 per cent to 90 per cent-plus.
9) Solar photovoltaic system.
The house has a 10kW solar photovoltaic system with 2xSMA 5000tl-21 inverters and LG 250 watt panels which
cost $14,000. Similar sized systems have been installed around Melbourne for up to $2000 cheaper, however the
owner wanted to be comfortable with the company that he engaged for the work. This solar system will wipe out all
the household's daytime energy use and allow for the addition of a battery storage system at a later date when the
costs come down a bit more (costs are forecast to drop 30-50 per cent in the not-too-distant future).
10) Cooking
An induction cooktop obviously. they're quite straightforward and the public is becoming much more familiar with
this technology as being the best cooking platform for aspiring chefs!
The missing ingredients to make it 10-star?
30/11/2017 'Tip 6' for Direct Action: Solar efficient no-grid home, built by...?
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/tip-6-for-direct-action-solar-efficient-nogrid-home-built-by/news-story/c377668bdda2… 3/4
An upgrade from double to triple-glazing and edge slab insulation might get this house to a point where it doesn't
require a heater. Both are attainable upgrades and wouldn't add significantly to the overall build cost. I'm sure there
are other opportunities to improve on the cost equation and comfort level and the best way to do that is to get on
with the job and build 10-star houses, like Ewan's, en masse.
Back to Greg Hunt, business and Direct Action
For business: So Henley (and all the other volume builders out there) what about advertising a nine-star or, even
better, 10-star model front and centre in your standard catalogues?
For Greg Hunt and the Coalition: How about meeting with Henley's sustainability people and visiting Henley's ninestar
home that is sitting smack-bang in the middle of your electorate and find a way for all of our volume built
homes across the country to meet this standard. Can cost of living pressures meet Direct Action for more
comfortable energy and hip pocket saving homes?
Matthew Wright is the executive director of Zero Emissions Australia.
Note from the author: As we all know, the Liberals have been heavy on campaign rhetoric, which is all very well
when you are in opposition. But being absent and underweight in deliverable policy doesn't fly when you're in
government. When it comes to climate rhetoric Abbott and his protégé Hunt are in their element. Every time
Hunt fronts a camera he is mouthing direct action, but now he has to front the house with a deliverable. I know he is
short, so I'm here to help in turning direct action rhetoric into deliverable action. These tips aim to provide
meaningful and measurable infrastructure on the ground that will make a difference and beat Labor and the Greens
at their own game.

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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just before I read through that lot, I don't think most publications have a problem with others publishing their copy provided you give a full acknowledgement of where it is from.
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