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Old houses versus new building

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I have trouble putting much thought to this subject as I am confident that new tech,materials and advances in clean electricity generation will solve this problem long before ever more polluting materials of insulation would, I say polluting in the way of manufacturing and disposal of insulation.

We are better of in the long run to keep what we have and not produce polluting materials like rockwall ect and let the heat escape , as long as we have clean electricity we can waste all that we want? The answer IMO is to concentrate our efforts and cash on generating clean electricity.

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1 hour ago, Woodlover said:

I have trouble putting much thought to this subject as I am confident that new tech,materials and advances in clean electricity generation will solve this problem long before ever more polluting materials of insulation would, I say polluting in the way of manufacturing and disposal of insulation.

We are better of in the long run to keep what we have and not produce polluting materials like rockwall ect and let the heat escape , as long as we have clean electricity we can waste all that we want? The answer IMO is to concentrate our efforts and cash on generating clean electricity.

You make a very very good point, I also dislike the plastic based insulation materials, they are themselves unsustainable.

 

But I think you also underestimate the cost of electrical heating.  Currently electricity is around three times the price of natural gas.  So without insulation an average house with a current heating bill of say £1000 per year (natural gas) will cost £3000 per year with electricity.  Unless of course renewably generated electricity eventually becomes much much cheaper.  And of course you are ignoring the extra comfort in a home which does not get too hot in the summer or freezing cold in the summer,

 

Maybe the solution is vastly improved insulation with natural materials.  For example wool, straw etc.  I am aware this may give rise to problems with mice and other critters, but I assume there are ways around this?  My own house I am toying with the idea of adding 50mm western red cedar external cladding (which I will mill and dry of course).  If I ever manage this I would expect a much drier house and a reasonable increase in insulation.

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16 minutes ago, Squaredy said:

Currently electricity is around three times the price of natural gas.  So without insulation an average house with a current heating bill of say £1000 per year (natural gas) will cost £3000 per year with electricity.

Yes for resistive heating but what about heat pumps?

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7 minutes ago, openspaceman said:

Yes for resistive heating but what about heat pumps?

Usual COP of around 4 in a good instal with low output temps 

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We had trouble in our 1983 built house with air being forced under the six inch layer of fibreglass insulation in the roof via the eves vents

This icynene is a breathable foam and does not seem to be as chemically based as other foams

We took out all the fibreglass and filled the house roof spaces with this icynene and the difference is Fantastic.

Stopping draughts is as important as insulation for heat loss by conduction 

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If we were able to navigate planning in a fairly expedient manner, we'd just go with timber frame and straw bale construction. It wouldn't attain passive standard, but it would be very environmentally friendly, require fairly minimal heating and the vast bulk of the house would have been grown in a small radius of the construction site. I'm lucky to have access to huge amounts of very good quality timber, that I can cut to my own specification.

 

A kit house is however a pretty good compromise, as whilst there are some slightly dubious materials in the walls, they overall environmental impact is minute compared to an older house, and the construction time is only 14 weeks, start to finish. 

 

I do wish that UK planning law would make special exceptions for very green buildings. There has to be something to incentivise green building. 

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If we were able to navigate planning in a fairly expedient manner, we'd just go with timber frame and straw bale construction. It wouldn't attain passive standard, but it would be very environmentally friendly, require fairly minimal heating and the vast bulk of the house would have been grown in a small radius of the construction site. I'm lucky to have access to huge amounts of very good quality timber, that I can cut to my own specification.
 
A kit house is however a pretty good compromise, as whilst there are some slightly dubious materials in the walls, they overall environmental impact is minute compared to an older house, and the construction time is only 14 weeks, start to finish. 
 
I do wish that UK planning law would make special exceptions for very green buildings. There has to be something to incentivise green building. 

What?
A kit house made from local grown high quality timber?
With eco insulation...
Sounds like a business plan J.

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11 hours ago, Billhook said:

 

We had trouble in our 1983 built house with air being forced under the six inch layer of fibreglass insulation in the roof via the eves vents

This icynene is a breathable foam and does not seem to be as chemically based as other foams

We took out all the fibreglass and filled the house roof spaces with this icynene and the difference is Fantastic.

Stopping draughts is as important as insulation for heat loss by conduction 

cancer that stuff, beware.

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1 hour ago, donnk said:

cancer that stuff, beware.

Can you give me a reference for that

It is made from castor oil and does not have chemical formulas as far as I know

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1 hour ago, Billhook said:

Can you give me a reference for that

It is made from castor oil and does not have chemical formulas as far as I know

Everything has  a chemical formulae, even oxygen O, whether it is natural or man made is the difference.

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