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Passive (or near) House Plans - Comments Please

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  • 02-06-2011 10:18pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭


    Hi,

    My architect has just drawn up house plans for me for a passive or near passive house (see attached). On each drawing it shows the orientation, the large glazed areas obviously to the south. The house would face west.

    This angle shows the view from the road and would be looking at the house from the west so would show the front. The house would be roughly where the cattle are and the northern wall would be fairly well hidden by the hedge.

    Anyway all comments on the internal layout, external looks, orientation, build method or other are welcome.

    Thank you please!

    Barney


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 46,095 ✭✭✭✭muffler


    First thing that caught my eye was the lack of entry to the living room at the back of the kitchen ;)

    4 metres is very long for the ES. Have you considered taking maybe 1.2 - 1.5m off it and use that space as a wardrobe for either bed 3 or bed 4 or split it between the two bedrooms. Or alternatively use this surplus space as a closet opening out to the landing. You can never have enough wee storage areas. Shortening the ES would also leave you a direct external outlet for the WC waste pipe.


  • Registered Users Posts: 39,336 ✭✭✭✭Mellor


    muffler wrote: »
    First thing that caught my eye was the lack of entry to the living room at the back of the kitchen ;)
    I would of though getting out of the porch was more of an issue ;)
    4 metres is very long for the ES. Have you considered taking maybe 1.2 - 1.5m off it and use that space as a wardrobe for either bed 3 or bed 4 or split it between the two bedrooms. Or alternatively use this surplus space as a closet opening out to the landing. You can never have enough wee storage areas. Shortening the ES would also leave you a direct external outlet for the WC waste pipe.

    Agree with this, a landing storage would be my choice


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,546 ✭✭✭✭Poor Uncle Tom


    Your bathroom is going to be very dark, consider some internal high level glass walling, maybe.

    Do you really need two doors into the living room, consider closing off the door from the kitchen area.

    A pantry would be nice off the kitchen.

    Putting doors in the corners of rooms also limits wall usage space, particularly in the kitchen area.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 687 ✭✭✭WhatNowForUs?


    In what way is the house going to be "near passive" do you have any detail for the services that are going to be used.

    The orination seems good on ground floor.
    First floor I havn't looked at


    If you are primarily interested in a passive house I would be thinking of
    • moving the utilities room into a more central location.
    • seperating the toilet from the shower room etc.
    Would I be right in saying that its a first draft and the architect just wants to see if you are happy with the layout?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭sinnerboy


    Take space off the Bed 4 En Suite to locate the HRV unit accessed from the landing . Central location is best as you must clean the filters often .

    Why not give balcony spaces to beds 2 +3 to maximise shading to rooms below


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭sinnerboy


    The living room is tight . Square off the entrance lobby and open up to the stairway . then remove the door between the enlarged living space and kitchen diner. Move the entrance door off the windy West elevation to the south . Buy only a PHI certified entrance door and trust the seals on it rather than chopping your space up here. Consider a wrap around glazed screen to the SW corner. Chase the sun!

    Remove the partition between the kitchen diner and room above and place a window in the East Elevation . Let the morning sun in here.

    Swap the Utility and Toilet over and remove partition and door which now encloses the toilet

    Open the plan up ! You have to live in it .


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭sinnerboy


    Fit a fully glazed double doorset into the Kitchen diner from the enlarged living area. Wide as possible .


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    Thanks all for your very useful comments, it's given me some great new things to consider. Proves the point that 87 heads are better than 2!

    Here's some replies to some of your comments:

    muffler wrote: »
    First thing that caught my eye was the lack of entry to the living room at the back of the kitchen.
    muffler wrote: »

    4 metres is very long for the ES. Have you considered taking maybe 1.2 - 1.5m off it and use that space as a wardrobe for either bed 3 or bed 4 or split it between the two bedrooms. Or alternatively use this surplus space as a closet opening out to the landing. You can never have enough wee storage areas. Shortening the ES would also leave you a direct external outlet for the WC waste pipe.

    Yes good call on both, think I’ll go for this.
    Do you really need two doors into the living room, consider closing off the door from the kitchen area.
    Which door would you suggest? Don’t think I could remove any of them but see your point about too many doors.
    A pantry would be nice off the kitchen.
    Not sure where this would fit?

    In what way is the house going to be "near passive" do you have any detail for the services that are going to be used.
    Sorry, not yet.
    Would I be right in saying that its a first draft and the architect just wants to see if you are happy with the layout?
    Not finalised yet, just getting ideas.
    sinnerboy wrote: »
    Why not give balcony spaces to beds 2 +3 to maximise shading to rooms below
    Sounds like a good idea.

    sinnerboy wrote: »
    The living room is tight . Square off the entrance lobby and open up to the stairway . then remove the door between the enlarged living space and kitchen diner. Move the entrance door off the windy West elevation to the south . Buy only a PHI certified entrance door and trust the seals on it rather than chopping your space up here. Consider a wrap around glazed screen to the SW corner. Chase the sun!
    sinnerboy wrote: »

    Remove the partition between the kitchen diner and room above and place a window in the East Elevation . Let the morning sun in here.

    Swap the Utility and Toilet over and remove partition and door which now encloses the toilet

    Open the plan up ! You have to live in it .
    OK so basically remove the wall behind the sofa? Might work but would be a large area IMHO. Maybe keep the wall directly behind the sofa but have 2 sets of double doors going into the living room from the front hall so they could be open and closed as need be? Plus remove the single door going from the dining area into the living room.


  • Registered Users Posts: 67 ✭✭AMG86


    Keep the focus on getting the fabric right. Later you can go for decoration, furnishings, etc. Talk to your architect about Passive House standards. You may not wish to go that far but keep them in mind. If you get the fabric right particularly in terms of airtightness, insulation and ventilation the future energy costs will be low. This will give you something to play with later on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    AMG86 wrote: »
    Keep the focus on getting the fabric right. Later you can go for decoration, furnishings, etc.

    It's the layout I want to get right at this stage, not the decoration or furnishing.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭sinnerboy


    Pictures are better than words ....


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭sas


    sinnerboy wrote: »
    Buy only a PHI certified entrance door and trust the seals on it rather than chopping your space up here.

    In the interests of fully informed decisions, certified PH entrance doors cost in and around €5000. They are an anamoly even in the PH certified window systems in that it's virtually impossible to determine why they cost that much. Difficult to determine what they are so much more than the windows.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,433 ✭✭✭sinnerboy


    Ooops. Compromise so and seek out the next best. That cost is hard to justify.


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,140 Mod ✭✭✭✭BryanF


    sas wrote: »
    In the interests of fully informed decisions, certified PH entrance doors cost in and around €5000. They are an anamoly even in the PH certified window systems in that it's virtually impossible to determine why they cost that much. Difficult to determine what they are so much more than the windows.

    I understand from doing the PH training that one passive builders/designers up west direction, recommends a lobby with two reasonably good doors to get over this


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭sas


    BryanF wrote: »
    I understand from doing the PH training that one passive builders/designers up west direction, recommends a lobby with two reasonably good doors to get over this

    Can't comment. You don't need to use certified doors though for a PH. Neither of mine are certified, back and front. They are based around the window system components and have the insulated frame the whole way around. I will incur a cold bridge for these but it shouldn't be the end of the world.

    My main entrance door is inside a thermall broken lobby. The outer door being a cheaper door.

    2 reasonably good doors (depending on your definition) bought from a PH window company will cost more than a certified PH door in my experience incidently.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    sinnerboy wrote: »
    Pictures are better than words ....

    Thanks very much for taking the time to do this sinnerboy... your sins are forgiven! Here's my comments on your suggestions starting at the top of your sketch:

    New 'Morning Sun' window
    Had a window here initially and I decided against it. There's a high hedge behind the house here and there would be very little morning sun entering here anyway. I think I'd rather have some wall space instead of more glass.

    Remove wall between top room and kitchen
    Not so sure about this. I would greatly reduce wall space for cupboards, etc and overall I think the area would be too big. Also it would mean I'd have to put the cooker beside the sink.

    Switch Utility and WC
    This looks like a good idea. I'll speak with my architect about this and see if it makes sense.

    Glass Doors
    Yes this might work well. About removing the wall splitting the front hall and the living room I'm not so sure about though. Would it be odd to have a staircase in the living room? If I decide to keep the wall then maybe the existing door from the living room into the kitchen should be moved so it leads into the front hall, otherwise there would be a lot of doors going into the kitchen.

    New Entrance
    Again not so keen on this. It would mean the 'front' of the house wouldn't have a door. Not sure then planners would let me away with this anyway. Just as much of the driving wind comes from thw south anyway so I'm not sure what benefit this would bring?

    Again thanks for all comments, it's good to get ideas from the smart guys!:D


  • Registered Users Posts: 46,095 ✭✭✭✭muffler


    BarneyMc wrote: »
    it's good to get ideas from the smart guys!:D
    When you're around here long enough that may change to "smart asses" ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭sas


    Any plans for a stove Barney?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    sas wrote: »
    Any plans for a stove Barney?

    Yes sir, was going to ask about this!

    Considering the current layout where best would this sit?

    I'd also like to bring the flue up and through the first floor - is this possible and again where best to place it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭sas


    I was thinking the least impacting location is on the North wall of your east living room.

    Followed by the east wall of your east living room. This would require a slight layout change in your master suite layout.

    You can bring your chimney up through the floor, it's how I've done mine. I built with block and have hollowcore floors.

    Word of warning though, the best location thermall speaking is for the chimney to be outside the body of the house. This depends on your build method too though, if you were going with blocks\EWI and this is a real pain and best avoided.

    Go for something with a back boiler too. I'll PM on the stove I've been recommended to go with for a PH.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    I was considering somewhere more central in the house like the dining area, either on the wall dividing the dining area with the hall or to replace the exising door between the dining area and the front living room with a stove. Excuse my ignorance but does a back boiler mean the stove has to sit on an external wall?

    Excuse my ignorance again but is it not possible to just have a flue going up through the house and out through the roof (no need for an actual chimney)? That way the heat in the flue could help heat the house as it rises? If the stove is not lit then I suppose this means that there is a cooling effect?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭sas


    BarneyMc wrote: »
    I was considering somewhere more central in the house like the dining area, either on the wall dividing the dining area with the hall or to replace the exising door between the dining area and the front living room with a stove. Excuse my ignorance but does a back boiler mean the stove has to sit on an external wall?

    Excuse my ignorance again but is it not possible to just have a flue going up through the house and out through the roof (no need for an actual chimney)? That way the heat in the flue could help heat the house as it rises? If the stove is not lit then I suppose this means that there is a cooling effect?

    No, back boiler doesn't affect location of the flue afaik. Locating it (the stove) close to your water tank is a good idea though.

    Sorry, I tend to interchange the term flue and chimney. I have a chimney into the attic space and a flue from there. If you look for me in the live self builds thread this will make more sense!

    Yes, a cooling effect, exactly. You presumably would have a room sealed stove with it's own air supply. When the stove is not lit you have a cold flow of air through this flue up the centre of your house, drawing heat with it. The PH insisted that I install 2 dampers to close off the air intake and the chimney to reduce this effect. If the chimney had been outside the body of the house I wouldn't have needed the dampers.

    Final warning, double skinned metal flues have a predicted life span of 10 years. They are damn bloody expensive to have to replace every 10 years even before you factor in the labour costs of replacing it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭BigGeorge


    The blog I've been doing of our PH self build might be of interest, have learned a lot from the folks in this group/forum over the last year who have been very generous with their opinions & suggestions so the blog might help others get started or get ideas

    http://passivebuild.blogspot.com/


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    I'm considering removing the front porch and just having an outside door lead into the front hall. As the house will be west facing there will be considerable wind blowing at the front. Are there doors available now that'll be "air tight" or would I be better sticking with a front porch to help counter any draft?


  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 10,140 Mod ✭✭✭✭BryanF


    BarneyMc wrote: »
    Are there doors available now that'll be "air tight"
    yes


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    ok, thanks BryanF, will ditch the front porch me thinks:D


  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭BigGeorge


    So the wind did not blow straight into the house ( also west facing) we were able to turn the door 90 degree so that if faced north.

    My understanding is that the BER rewards having a porch / second entrance door, whereas the PHPP does not. If you do then you need to decide if it inside or outside the thermal envelope for PHPP purposes


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    Getting my site plans drawn up now. My architect is proposing to tilt the house just 10 degrees north of due west. This means that the glazed south side will be tilted 10 degrees to the west.

    There is no major reason for this other than the fact that it will face directly into the corner of the field. From an energy performance position will this make much difference rather than keeping the south side facing direct south (plan images attached at start of thread)?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,748 ✭✭✭Do-more


    Hi BarneyMc, has your architect done a PHPP on your design yet?

    I'm assuming he hasn't, as if he had the PHPP would quickly tell you what effect the change in orientation will have.

    It seems like you have pretty much arrived at your layout now, so the next logical step would be to do a PHPP to see how the building is going to perform as it is drawn now and what effect any changes will have.

    The PHPP will give a pretty good assessment of what the energy performance of the building is likely to be and as the saying goes "if you're not assessing, you're guessing".

    invest4deepvalue.com



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,504 ✭✭✭BarneyMc


    Hi Do-more. No, my architect said he will do the PHPP after the plans have gone through the planning process. Should he be doing it before it goes through the planning process do you think?


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