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.
this simply enhances heating efficiency already achieved by earthship ‘glass and mass’ passive solar design
Underfloor Heating – the systems works automatically, and kicks in after the solar hot water from the roof has first brought the hot water tank up to temperature, pumping hot water through the underfloor heating pipes. The suns energy is taken off the roof and ‘injected’ deep into the floor. This performs well and even during mid winter months, when the sun shines, water at 30 degrees C has been warming the floors. No energy is wasted from the roof. It is simply stored throughout the year directly in the thermal mass, warming the floors and warming the home.
Around 150 tonnes of rammed earth is created for the earthship walls
Exterior walls – construction is tried and tested earthship rammed earth wall building – using tyres as formers for the rammed earth. The result is a wall which is superbly engineered and stable. The rammed earth is also enclosed in 100mm of underground insulation which acts as a ‘blanket‘ enabling the walls to act as giant storage heaters for the building. Highly stable foamblown recycled glass insulation board is used for underground insulation. Damp proofing is achieved using an ecomembrane providing a permanent 0.5mm barrier around the wall and under the floors.
Internal Walls – constructed from solid upright timbers bolted to the floor and ceilings. One side is skinned with a dense very strong and stable structural ‘plasterboard’ made form recycled paper. The walls are infilled with lime using a shuttering technique. Although very time consuming, the result is a 90mm thick solid wall that provides both thermal mass and acoustic insulation between rooms. It also provides an attractive timber and lime face to one wall of the bedrooms.
Floors – all floors are ‘warm’ earth cement floors. The floor construction starts with laying of the sand blinded damp proof membrane, followed by the foamglass insulation. On top of this is 175mm of compacted earth topped with 60mm of poured concrete subfloor across the entire building. Before the concrete pour goes down, the underfloor heat pipes are laid, with one loop for each room and separate controls in the utility room.