Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Timber frame wins on airtightness

Housebuilder magazine (Oct 2006) has published a short article by Graeme Owen of BSRIA about how new homes are doing in the airtightness stakes. The tests were carried out before the new requirement for airtightness testing came into effect but nevertheless the results are dramatic.

The pass rate, set out in Part L1A, is 10m3 per hour per m2 of heated envelope at 50 Pascals of pressure, which is such a mouthful that it is now being reduced to 10 q50. Energy wonks don’t regard this as very demanding: the best practice low energy homes score as low as 1.5 q50. Nevertheless, many of our new homes struggled to make it through the new hurdle.

All but 3% of timber frame homes achieved a pass and as many as 73% of timber frame homes tested achieve a score of 5 q50 or less. In contrast, 28% of masonry homes failed the new standard and only 6% met a score of 5 or less.

Why the huge difference? Well there is a clue given in the article. Apparently, the masonry build data was further broken down into houses which were wet-plastered and those which were dry-lined, using plasterboard stuck on with dot and dab. The wet-plastered houses achieved a pass rate comparable with timber frame: the dry-lined homes most certainly didn’t. To build airtight with dry-lined walls, you need to seal around all the edges, something that has very rarely been done till now.

If you want to download BSRIA’s guide to airtight building and the new testing regime, click right



Blogger RichB said...

So if a builder wants to be as carbon neutral as possible and installs a wood burner, you need to also install a permanently open vent in the same room to comply with HETAS regs.

To also pass these new airtightness regs, you need to ensure "open flues or air supply openings temporarily sealed", thereby taping up the permanently open vent while the pressure test is carried out. It all seems a bit pointless to me.

11:43 am  
Blogger Energy Consultant said...

The SAP calculation for the DER takes separately into account - planned ventilation through vents and open flues - and unplanned leakage due to poor construction. During the Air pressure test any vents for normal planned ventilation are temporarily sealed so only the unplanned leakage is measured. This unplanned leakage is an additional heat loss which increases the DER (Dwelling emission rate : CO2 calculated in the SAP calc.)

7:28 pm  
Anonymous furniture stores in los angeles said...

Air pressure is also one factor to consider in building a structure. Timber can withstand and is flexible.

3:08 am  
Anonymous residential home builders said...

Check for which material suits your home. Consult with a contractor as well.

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Anonymous woodworking router said...

This is the property that I like about timber. It is very durable and sturdy.

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Blogger George Smith said...

Thanks for sharing BSRIA’s guide to airtight building and the new testing regime. It is very important that residential houses are properly constructed.

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Concrete art is one of the most underrated home designs. It is not commonly used because it can be time-consuming to finish one design alone.

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