Lodge 11 is an Eco House, in fact nearly PassiveHouse standard, which means the high level of insulation does not allow heat or cold to transfer easily.
There is no boiler, no radiators, no underfloor heating. There is a huge concrete base with a layer of acts as a massive radiator.
The house stays warm in Winter and cool in Summer. It’s quite magical and simple in how it works.
The walls are made of hollow polystyrene blocks, filled with concrete. All the inside walls are clad in a membrane, before the plaster work goes on, with even more rock wool insulation on top for both thermal and sound insulation.
It is very quiet inside as there are no air exits; keyholes in doors do not go all the way through from one side to another, no letterbox, no vent for tumble dryer; as these things would allow the air to escape.
All the windows, doors, glass sliding door and roof lights are triple glazed too. Sometimes you get condensation on the outside. This is normal.
How does it work?
Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery systems continuously extract moist, stale and polluted air from the ‘wet’ rooms of a property such as bathrooms, utility rooms and kitchens. This air is passed over a heat exchange cell which recovers and retains the heat that would otherwise be lost from the extracted air. It takes heat from our bodies too and our pets’ bodies.
This heat is then transferred to incoming fresh, filtered air that the unit is resupplying back into habitable rooms such as bedrooms and living rooms, resulting in minimal heat losses and a more comfortable indoor environment.
Our unit has an additional ComfortCool option, which means in summer it cools the inside temperature to 10 degrees below the outside. Air circulation is around 10 changes a day.
To operate at efficiently, it is best to keep windows shut in summer because it keeps the hot air out and in winter because it keeps the heat in. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a window open – but try not to have windows open front and back at the same time. If you do this in winter, all the warm air escapes and may take some time to get back up to heat again. Having windows open front and back in summer just lets hot air in, which then takes time for the ComfortCool to cool down again. It is just a different way of living.
In summer it is fine to have the large sliding door open as it is on the north side of the house and doesn’t get hot until the evening.
There is nothing to adjust. It just works. What ever you do, do not adjust any of the ceiling vents. The out flow (concave) and in flow (convex) vents are set up for optimum air flow. All door have a gap at the bottom too so air is always moving around.
Power from the Sun
There are 3kW solar panels on both sides of the roof, to make as much use as possible of the sun as the ridge of the house is North-South.
If you are interested, you can see this unit in the Utility Room:
The Green bar shows what we are shipping back to the grid that they pay us for.
The Yellow bar shows what the Solar panels are generating.
The Red bar shows what the house is using.
There is no hot water tank, the water is heated by solar panels when there is enough sun, or by the grid when no sun. The hot water is generated by a SunAmp solar water battery in the Utility Room.
There should easily be enough hot water for everyone to take showers, even at the same time! Having a bath will take a lot of the hot water, but you could have a bath in the evening and the water will be heated for showers in the morning.