Efficiency and Passive Design
The need for complicated and expensive active systems in buildings is minimised in Gale & Snowden designs by the correct and intelligent employment of simple passive design techniques
By employing sound building physics from concept design stage to detailed design we are able to produce simple design solutions that rely on passive solutions. This allows us to significantly reduce Mechanical Engineering equipment which can often be over designed, which in turn enables low running costs and easily maintainable buildings.
Low energy building design:
The emphasis is to ensure that Gale & Snowden’s buildings use as little energy as possible. Current Building Regulations place too much emphasis on low carbon strategies and technologies which is at the expense of low energy building design. By first concentrating on low energy design reducing the need for heating, cooling and lighting the requirement for expensive renewable technologies can be designed out and will only be used to meet the most frugal of demands.
Solar gains are carefully planned as part of the building design. Solar gain is maximised in the winter and inter-seasonal months to heat the building but controlled from overheating in the summer months.
Maximising natural daylight:
Maximising the levels of natural day light enhances well being whilst minimising electrical light demand. This is achieved by the use of appropriately designed roof lights, glazing and windows giving the buildings a light and airy feel. Light coloured finishes on walls, ceilings and floors further help to reflect light. Gale & Snowden can incorporate 3d daylight modelling to ensure optimum daylight levels are met without compromising overheating in summer and heat loss in winter.
Low energy lighting :
As part of the integrated design approach lighting design not only considers the latest low energy light fittings such as CFLs and LEDs, PIR sensors and careful banking of lights, but also takes account space shape and form, colour rendering, daylight design and the function of each space.
High thermal performance:
High levels of insulation, triple glazed timber windows and doors are specified on our current designs to achieve the following U Values with thermal bridge free construction:
- Floor 0.10 W/m2K
- Walls 0.10 W/m2K
- Roof 0.10 W/m2K
- Windows / doors 0.7 – 1.0 W/m2K
Thermal mass is incorporated in the internal walls and general structure which helps to reduce daily and seasonal fluctuations of internal temperatures. Thus assisting in reducing both overheating in summer and heating loads in winter.
Gale & Snowden are experts at constructional detailing that maximises air tightness. Current Gale & Snowden schemes are being designed to an air tightness of 0.75 m³/(h.m²) @ 50 Pa and 0.6 ach/hr @ 50PA to AECB Gold and Passivhaus standards.
Buildings are designed to require minimum space heating and provided they are lived in with some moderate internal gains from people and equipment very little heating is required. During exceptionally cold periods heat loads can be met either by mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR), or a small renewable energy source such as coppiced timber or ground source heat pump.
Gale & Snowden ensure via thermal and ventilation modelling that spaces receive sufficient ventilation for healthy indoor environments. Designs employ a variety of means for achieving this. Passive means, such as stack ventilation or cross-flow ventilation through opening windows and high level openings or simple mechanical means such as low energy mechanical heat recovery ventilation. Ventilation design also incorporates strategies and methods for reducing draughts and cold spots and for reducing overheating such as utilising building mass and night cooling.
Cool larders :
In some of our schemes we incorporate a ventilated larder that is an insulated cupboard kept cool by the supply of air chilled via underground clay pipes. The cool larders can be used to store fresh food such as vegetables, fruit and salads. This should reduce the size of fridge required for meat and dairy products.
Low water use and rain water collection:
Low water use appliances are specified throughout. Typically this might be 3/6 litre dual flush WCs, reduction valves, low water use showers and taps. This reduces the demand for mains water. Specifying low water use showers and taps will also minimise the demand for hot water.
Filtered rain water can be collected in underground tanks. The filtered rain water can be used for WC flushing, washing machines and outside garden use.
Employing water saving and collection strategies should enable close to a 60% reduction in water use for a typical household.
We specify natural, durable and low maintenance finishes. For example untreated green oak cladding which is used in some of our schemes, requires minimal aftercare.