1930s Live - work space,Montpelier
Ground up, timber frame, airtight retrofit of former industrial proprty in a conservation area. Featuring stunning light and airy living space.
Adults: 2 Children: 2
Construction: New Build Timber Frame
Type: Live - work space
Not quite a retrofit but a major rebuild within the shell of a 1930s single storey industrial unit. This development separates an existing live/work building into separate residential and commercial properties and adds an additional storey over the entire building.
This ambitious and exciting development was designed by structural engineer, James Walker and built by Bristol construction firm, Earthwise Construction.
The structural frame is almost entirely built from timber and feature 12m long custom curved glue laminated (Glulam) roof beams. The whole 135m2 roof is constructed from 11 lightweight steel sandwich panels that were lifted by crane from the narrow street outside, each one incorporating a 200mm high performance insulating foam core.
The lightweight nature of the new construction meant that minimal reinforcement of the existing foundations was necessary. The entire weight of the new roof and first floor is channels down into two helical screw piles that were installed between the existing under floor heating pipes with minimal intervention.
It has been built to AECB silver standard (a self-certification scheme open to building projects that meet specific design and performance criteria).
James and Poppy bought this light industrial building in 2007 and set about making it their home and work space. In 2013, with the arrival of their first child, they decided to embark on a dramatic renovation project, which involved separating the building units – one residential, one commercial. The residential aspect has now been adapted from a one bedroom flat to a highly insulated four bedroom ‘upside down’ house with an open plan living room/kitchen connecting onto a spacious south facing terrace.
As a structural engineer specialising in timber buildings, James has been responsible for all architectural and structural design. With a keen interest in sustainable, low-emission buildings, James set about making this project as ‘green’ as possible. Whilst working carefully to design a building that maintains the character of its industrial roots. Unit 2B has been retrofitted using cutting edge insulation and air tightness techniques, as well as a range of key renewable technologies.
James & Poppy commissioned Earthwise Construction, a firm of Bristol-based green builders, to carry out the works. The team of four, led by Ben East and Tom McAllister, brought a refreshingly transparent and collaborative approach to all aspects of the construction process. The team maintained faultless positivity, professionalism and integrity throughout this ambitious project and James and Poppy couldn’t be happier with the outcome of the build.
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How this house performs
The chart for 2019 case studies shows the household’s annual energy consumption and generation data compared to Ofgem’s Typical Domestic Consumption Values - industry standard values for the annual gas and electricity usage of a typical domestic consumer. For more info click here.
The aim of this build was to achieve minimal energy consumption; and in this they succeeded. The building now has a heating demand of only 34.5 kWh/m2. This was achieved by creating a highly insulated and airtight envelope with triple glazing, an MVHR system and underfloor heating.
The goal was for solar PV to generate 80% of the electricity demand. In fact it now generates 1,051 kWh more than the home needs.