Archive for July 2010
This morning I’ve met the future tenants at their present house. They live 5 minutes walk from Wood Green tube station in a quiet street. The family is composed of the mother,Angela, her 17 years old son and 13 years old daughter. They live in a 3-storeys block of flat. The flat they’re living at the moment doesn’t fully satisfy their needs as a family, since the children have to share the same room and of course they are looking forward to move in their new house. Angela has kindly agreed to release an interview, supported by her mum.
Talking more informally (with the camera off) Angela’s mum told me she is a bit concerned about her daughter and children having to move during the winter, when the house will be ready because this could cause some problems. But as Angela herself said, she is quite confident to have all the support she needs from the MHT team to make things run smoothly.
I also asked Angela why she thinks she was chosen among all the other applicants and she thinks because of her general interest towards the project and what she does for the environment. She also knows the area well: she lived there from the age of 10 to 21, her mum lives close and her children’s school is close too.
On the 26th July I interviewed Paul Dennett and Helen Wilkins. They both work at MHT: Paul is Senior Building Surveyor, Helen is Relationship Manager. MHT has worked before on other projects of “hard to treat” properties, but this is the first time that they almost achieve the PassivHaus standard.
The fourth interview I made was to Jean Pierre Wack (Eight Associates), who was in charge of the SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) calculations for the Haringey PassivTerrace. He explains well the difference between SAP and PHPP (PassivHaus Planning Package) that was used by Anne Thorne Architects Partnership as main tool to calculate the energy consumption of the house and as a design tool. Jennie Swain and Fran Bradshaw (Anne Thorne Architects Partnership) were interviewed too to talk about the project.
On the 22nd July I interviewed Seb Junemann, Sustainability Officer at Metropolitan Housing Partnership, which Metropolitan Housing Trust is part of. In the first part of the interview Seb answered some general questions about his motivations towards the project and the project itself (the same questions I asked to everybody else). In the second part he talks more in detail about the application process and how the team came together.
MHT’s role in this project is quite interesting because they are the client and the lead of the design team at the same time, so they could follow the project very closely.
The following day I interviewed Richard Garland, Finance Director at Sandwood Design and Build, the contractors for this project.
Works are due to start very soon and I’m looking forward to go on site.
I have prepared a set of questions to interview the key people involved in the Haringey PassivTerrace project. The first questions are more general and are the same for everybody, more specific questions follow towards the end of each interview.
On 13th July I interviewed my supervisor Dr. Ben Croxford, Course Director of the MSc Environmental Design and Engineering who is dealing with the monitoring of the Haringey PassivTerrace.
Another valuable contribution to the diary were the answers given by Neil Clement, Director for King Shaw Associates who are the consultants for the environmental and building services of this project. Neil believes that only when considerable carbon savings have been achieved at the fabric level, should the technological aspects then be considered.
As mentioned by Ben, a change in the design has been to revert to a minor wet heating system which has been required to offset the residual heat losses.
Both Ben and Neil agree that the members of the team have worked well together, allowing open and stimulating debates in order to overcome the possible problems.
I asked Neil which are the most popular technologies in UK in the retrofit agenda. This was his interesting answer:
“There is in my experience no standard solutions as it is totally driven by clients budgets and aspirations as well as the technical ability of the whole of the design team. In the past few years it there has been concern about actual paybacks on renewable technologies as they have often been quoted as giving much greater rates of return than have been achieved in practice. As a consequence some people have become a little sceptical about them. The introduction of the feed in tariffs this year has significantly changed the potential payback periods and we expect to see a lot more people installing at a domestic level. The potential introduction of the renewable heat initiative next year may also provide a stimulus for further products.”
For this project solar thermal collectors were utilised. Some other technologies were considered and then rejected: wind turbines, earth tubes, ground source heat pumps and PVs. Wind turbines were rejected as the site location had low average wind speeds and they would not provide significant energy to the project. Earth tubes and ground source heat pumps were rejected as the land available for them was insufficient. PVs were rejected because of the high cost ( note that since the introduction of the feed in tariffs the payback periods have significantly reduced).
On the 5th July I went to the site for the second time to take more pictures before the works start.
Since my last visit some inspections to the walls and floors have been carried out and the house has been prepared for the build works.
The works will start on 26th July so we are all looking forward to it!