Glass South Face – the entire front face opens. Each room is glazed with operable windows for ventilation which sit over the top of trifolding doors. The back skylights and air vents are triple glazed poly carbonate and all vents are gravity operated using yatching cleats. Heavy curtains are used to reduce night time heat loss and a thermal drop down blind is used in the kitchen.
Solar Hot Water – a very large array is installed for heating water directly from the sun. This is mounted on the front of the building. The system uses black silicon tubing to carry the hotwater and a covering of glass tiles fitted to roofing bars. The result is 11m2 of roof which harvests hot water free from the sun. Key to the design is the very large domestic solar hot water tank. At 1000 litres, the tank is 5 many times bigger than a conventional tank – storing plenty of hot water during sunny days, and keeping a supply for cloudy days.
Grey Water and Toilet – we recycle all ‘grey‘ water (water from washing) through a primary straw filter (grease trap), then through a series of reed beds, for final use in watering the gardens. To ensure no water pollution is created by the groundhouse and to return nutrients to the land, we have fitted a dry toilet from Separret in Sweden. This separates urine which enters the grey water system and keeps solids dry and odour free until the collecting chamber needs emptying (around 2 weeks). This is transfered to the toilet composter outside the building. All plumbing is conventional in the groundhouse, and blank pipe runs are fitted for installation of a fosse septique.
Our design aim was to harvest all water needed for washing and and have the option to be off grid for all water
The roof was specifically designed to get as much rain water harvesting going as possible. Rain is pre filtered through a vortex filter, a very clever and simple stainless steel design from our partners WISY in Germany. They also supplied the two side by side rainwater harvesting tanks, giving us a 10,000 litre storage capacity, and the pump. All strong engineering from pioneers in rainwater collection.
The house has a dual water system. It is connected to mains water, permanently available from the small drinking water taps fitted in both the kitchen and bathroom. All other water for washing is, by default, filtered rainwater, making mains water consumption and running costs very low. The rainwater is cleaned by the vortex filter and then, in the utility room, it pass through a secondary filter and then a carbon filter. It is then pressurised into and expansion tank specified for drinking water The whole water system for the house can be switched over to mains water in the utility room. This is a useful back up for cleaning the tanks and if the tanks run dry during periods of low rainfall.