Welcome to our blog.

This blog will follow the ultimate in home improvement: demolish and rebuild!

This is our starting point: a 1930s bungalow. While not a bad house; it is too small for us with three teenage children so what should we do? A full storey extension versus complete rebuild - ultimately the stronger eco-credentials and more certain finances of a new-build helped to guide our choice.

For a number of years we've been trying to find the right route for us to build an eco-friendly, low energy home. We tried various architects and building companies and have eventually settled with a German prefabricated build. The new house will be nearly to passivhaus standards (but not quite due to budget constraints). In any case, the house will be heavily insulated and airtight.

As a family, we have not built a house before so everything is new and exciting but the risk of making a mess of things is quite high!

This blog aims to outline the day to day steps involved in our build.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Blue Loo

Some drunken souls decided to make use of our portaloo, leaving it sideways on the gravel. We managed to get it back on its feet but then had the dubious pleasure of cleaning it. We hosed it down but didn't count on the Avatar effect of the hose as it ricocheted off the surfaces that were covered in blue disinfectant, landing all over my clothes (thankfully already blue) and face! Needless to say, the loo wasn't the only one to have a hose down.

Behind scenes things are progressing. We would have broken ground if it wasn't for Easter and all the concrete delivery places being shut!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Holes again

Spotted! Small multi-coloured action vehicle.
No this wasn't a digger gone AWOL, it was part of our soil survey.
While my back was turned some holes appeared in the ground. Small rectangular holes. Apparently the water that was chucked in them soaked away quickly - great!
Yes, there was definitely earth down in those holes and it was good!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Appearances can be deceptive

Depending on how you look at it, the plot looks either enormous or small enough for us to wonder if we can fit our house on it!
Lots of people have asked me why things have come grinding to a halt. From the plot it may look like nothing is being done but that's far from the case. Behind the scenes there is much activity. There are more decisions that need to be made: from the choice of contractors to finish the house internally, like carpenters, tilers, plasterers to chosing an air source heat pump and installer (don't mention the wood burning stove) etc. All of these decisions will result in something more visual soon. Honest! Watch this space...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Ecobuild Fun

Ecobuild exhibition opened today in Earl's Court. What a perfect excuse for a day out! I justified it to myself by searching for information about air source heat pumps and to see if there were any new and interesting eco-friendly products.

It was a beautiful sunny day that lifted the spirits as I entered the (lime) green zone. It was packed with lots of enthusiastic people, both visitors and salespeople alike. There were other self-builders and lots of architects wandering around in the sea of green.
There were various seminars/workshops and discussions going on but I only managed to catch some of David Blunkett's discussion about sustainable communities.
The exhibition was even larger than last year. Earls Court 1 was dominated by a green 'Cityscape' cube, an amazing construction; very touchy feely.
I saw many company reps for things I never knew existed and discovered some new allergy-free paint manufacturers. I have to admit that after many discussions with LOTS of air source heat pump manufacturers and installers even I was ready for some light relief. I wandered off to Earls Court 2 and discovered the modular housing display. It was very impressive and apparently can come with any type of roof, even pitched ones!

The next display which caught my eye was the Nottingham H.O.U.S.E; zero carbon and solar powered. It was full of enthusiastic students and I was very pleased to see school students too.
One of the buildings that impressed me most was the straw bale construction one that had walls with U value of 0.13 and triple glazing!
Unfortunately, my time was nearly up as I rushed to go back to be in time for the school run but I did manage to take in the woodburning stove displays...hmmm.
In my hemp ecobag at the end of the day I managed to find a globe stress ball, a save energy with my PC tool and a dynamo torch. It was a fab day and now I can write my blog in the dark while destressing at the same time as saving energy- result!