Want to build a new house in my back garden

I have a 2 acre plot in rural Suffolk. We do not live within the village development boundary. The planning office has already informally said they would not recommend permission for a new house.
However, I might still give it a bash... but I need an angle.
Here are some plus points:
* Part of my back garden is already fenced off and has been for years - it looks like another plot.
* It has seperate access via a track which is well established. Although the track crosses the village green, vehicles *are* permitted along it because it's also used by another cottage.
* There are two unsightly delapidated barns (steel/asbestos) which the house would replace
* If the house was a bungalow, it would probably not be visible from the road.
* I have plans for an eco friendly house using solar water heating, passive solar space heating with thermal storage, wood burning stoves, eco friendly building materials and maybe some photovoltaic panels etc.
* There is plenty of room for more than just one extra house, I could offer a plot to put a couple of low-cost houses on, sold to the council at cost.
What do you think my chances are?
Nick
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NickW wrote:

explain to me how wood burning stoves are eco-friendly?
John
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Because they are fuelled by a carbon-neutral, renewable resource which can be produced on site and hence not subject to fuel expended to discover, extract and transport it?
Wood as a fuel is essentially a long-term storage facility for solar energy.
Neil
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Provided that the fuel is obtained from a renewable forest, it is carbon neutral, unlike fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide. Of course, it isn't entirely carbon neutral, as I'm sure the forestry equipment and transportation uses plenty of diesel, but it is probably better than burning oil directly.
Christian.
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Yep, I have 200 ash trees (arguably the best firewood) onsite which could be coppiced.
If the passive solar heating works as planned, I wont use the woodburners much anyway.
Nick
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Duh, they are not burning a finite resource like oil or gas! Hint: You can grow more wood...
MM
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Mike Mitchell wrote:

Where does oil and gas come from? If you know the answer then you will also know the it is not finite.
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Firstly, seek advice on a planning consultant in your area.
Building a house to replace the existing one is fine. They can't do much there, apart have a say in the style and size. Do you want to have two houses, and keep the existing house?
Pushing an eco house is a great lever to some authorities. They all spout eco credentials and like to be seen doing something in that area (few do). If you state: renewable materials, the house will follow the local vernacular (or made of wood) and all the eco and low to zero energy aspects as you have stated, they may bend towards you. They can then use your house as an e.g., of their eco credentials.
A 100% eco house is what they want in their area. Many of them partially apply eco aspects on building which are not obviously visible. Say that the house will have temperaure sensors to monitor its performance and that local colleges and uni's will be invited along for presentations of the construction and design and the performance data freely given to them. As a bigger lever, see one of the local uni architects depts and get some of their involvement, no matter how minor. All this adds up to someone caring for the environment and the local community, not just a selfish person who wants to save on fuel bills and locks himself up in his smart house.
Speak to them again with some hard outlines of an eco house design and the prime eco functions. But after you have done the above.
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Thanks, sounds like good advice. I hope Mid Suffolk DC is eco mad...!
I could do with some more ideas of eco friendly ideas. The ones I've got so far are:
- Super insulated - insulation from recycled materials - wood frame - ? - passive solar wall space heating - solar domestic hot water - wood burners with onsite ash coppice - low energy lighting throughout
What else? I don't know so much about the eco friendly materials side of things.
Nick
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so far are:

things.
The Building Structure:
- A light framed superinsulated structure (Minimum of 400mm of Warmcell in the roof, 250-300mm in the walls, heavy foam in the floor if a concrete slab). - Face the house south to capture passive solar energy. - Calculate the pitch of the roof for maximum insulation at your latitude. - Calculate the roof overhangs to keep the sun off the windows and walls in summer. - Have the north side with few windows. - Triple glazed with low "e" glass. - Eliminate thermal bridges. These tend to be where the walls meet the ground and the roof, or one material meets another. Use nylon tie bars if cladding in brick - Use SIP panels or TJI "I" beams. The void in the "I" beams can be filled with Warmcell cellulous insulation (re-cycled newspaper). The Warmcell makes the structure air-tight. - Have all of the south facing roof being a solar panel heating water from the sun. That is a large surface generating much heat. - Could have a full width conservatory on the south side. Better if full width and full height. This will help but not essential. Nice to have though as bedrooms could have a balcony opening into the conservatory. - No letterbox in front door. All doors heavily insulated and sealed (the Swedes do the best doors). - Specify a study for home working.
Heating, Vent, Thermal Storage:
- Store the heat in a large thermal store, which would have to be sized to suit. Better have a battery of small cylinders, so if one leaks it is an easy and cheap job of replacing. - The heavy thermal stores can be at ground level. They could even be in a separate building with superinsulted underground pipes between it and the house if need be. The thermal store should hold enough energy to heat the building over 3 or 4 cloudy days. - Use "very" low temperature underfloor heating. - In winter not a lot of very hot water will be generated, but hot enough for very low temp underfloor heating. - This low temperature water can act as a preheat for DHW. - If hot water is generated, hot enough for domestic hot water, then this water should be suitably stored for ready use rather than merging into a large low temperature water store. - The controls will be off the shelf and all be using the odd pump here and there. - A backup heat source can be incorporated when cloudy days extend over 3 or 4 days. - The water system is understandable by any intelligent plumber. - As underfloor heating is being used, bets have an extract only vent system. Heat recovery is expensive. The thermal store should store enough energy for the heating system to compensate for vent losses.
Water reclamation:
- There are large water tanks that fill from the roof available ready made. The BENELUX countries have these as standard in new builds. - The water tank is under the garden. - The water is used to water the garden and flush toilets, reducing water consumption drastically.
PV Cell:
- Don't bother as they are still super expensive with very long payback times. If the hosue done as above then little elecricity will be used.
Low Energy Appliance:
- These tend to be German like AEG, etc. Find out which of these is the most economical in energy and water consumption and put these in the spec.
Comms:
- Wire the place out in CAT 5 to accomodate computers and home working.
The above is the basic concept. Then, depending on site, size of house, etc, it is a matter of applying numbers to size up the thermals store, heat loss, How much energy the solar roof will generate, sizing a "very" low temp underfloor heating system, etc.
Best of luck. I hope you get it and you build the house. We need more people like you around.
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I hope he's got plenty of money, as the kind of spec you just came up with will cost a fortune! Probably half a million to build, I reckon.
MM
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wrote:

people
You reckon? On what do you base this groundless assertion? Zero heating houses cost no more to build than any other. It is primarily design and selecting the correct materials.
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All that kind of stuff is specialist work that doesn't come cheap. This is not Barrat the Builders we're talking about here. I reckon you might get it erected for a bit cheaper, say 495K.
MM
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wrote:

Nonsense! Where do you get that figure? Wet finger in the air. You have no experince of these matters.
Facing a house south with larger windows on the south side and less on the north (passive solar), calculating the roof overhangs to give shading (keeps the house cool), calculating the roof pitch for maximum solar gain (max insolation) is all design only. This costs nothing in materials or labour. The calulations can be done yourself.
The only extra above a normal house is the extra insulation, but this can be negated by using a timber frame or SIP panels. The UFH has to be larger to run at alow temp and will cost a few hundred quid. Many new buillds have UFH as stadard. The roof as a solar panel is offset by not installing tiles and is cheaper to do as a new build. The thermal store is offset by the fact you already need one for the UFH anyway, it just needs to be bigger.
"Sue Roaf's Ecohouse in Oxford is one of the most high profile low energy houses in the country. Sue has had a one-woman crusade to get ecohouse design on the agenda. In 1994 she put her money where her mouth is and took on a huge mortgage to design and build what is still one of only a handful of net zero energy houses in the UK"
She was out build a "low" energy house that cost no more to build than others. She succeeded. It has a heating system of 3 rads and high thermal mass with a PV roof too. It is about 5-6 years old now and if she did it today I'm sure she would do it differently. She does mention what would improve the house.
The economics DO add up. She built a low energy house to the local vernacular (built to last 500 years) and spent no more than building an energy sucking house. Deveci in Scotland has done the same. There must be over 1000 very low energy homes now in the UK.
Just because Wimpy is not building them doesn't mean they are not cost effective. They are.
See ECO-House A Design Guide by Sue Roaf.
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Could it be that people don't *want* them I wonder?

.andy
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wrote:> >Just because Wimpy is not building them doesn't mean they are not cost

What a stupid thing to say. Could it be that no one has heard of them? If there are two similar priced and sized houses and one has no hearting bills, which one do you think people will go for? Now think hard about this and I hope you don't have brain ache in the process.
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Not really.

The problem is that the marketing and designs have been really poor. The impression of most people is that eco-houses are futuristic designs using unfamiliar materials and pushed by the beards and sandals brigade.
One can argue on the merits and demerits of that impression, but it's the case.
For most people, their home is the largest purchase that they will make and also represents, rightly or wrongly, something in which they tie up and hopefully grow a significant part of their capital. With the poor performance of the financial sector, pension schemes and the like, property is seen as a long term safe bet.
In view of this, most people tend to be quite risk-averse when selecting a property to buy. Even in a seller's market, buyers walk away from property that has been underpinned, even though it is probably better than it has ever been because the insurers are conservative.
I think that if you were to survey people in the street, you would find that most look for the conventional, traditional and "safe" bet.
Technical features don't win the argument. If they did, there would be no need to legislate around energy saving. I'm not saying that energy saving is a bad thing, but requiring legislation to create change implies that the market is not in broad support for whatever reason. This could be lack of knowledge, apathy, cost or a number of other factors.

There's no need to think a great deal on this one. This point was discussed a few weeks ago.
Most participants thought that the use of energy issue and its cost was not a major factor in choice of property to buy.
They are far more interested in location, proximity or not to other properties and facilities, whether the kitchen and bathroom are decent; potential for growth.
Another explanation is that the construction companies aren't making eco-houses because they believe that people won't want them for whatever reason. Again that may be for right or wrong, but the effect is the same.
Even at the relatively low numbers of houses being built, a very small proportion dramatically exceed the requirements of the Building Regulations and very very few could be described as highly eco in nature.
That's the way it is. Gradually things will change. It will become more interesting to build eco houses when energy really does become expensive. Without that, there is no economic driver.
The alternatives, to make things change more quickly are education to encourage people to see the merits (slow and not very effective without economic driver) and legislation (usually not popular).
.andy
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wrote:

It was very stupid.

Most people have never heard or seen one. Ab eco hous ecan look much like any other house.

It isn't. The reason why we don't see major developers building them is that like the major car companies, they don't want change. They are making millions by pushing outdated technology which they are familiar with.

There isn't at all.
You should read what was written..
"She was out to build a "low" energy house that cost no more to build than others. She succeeded. It has a heating system of 3 rads and high thermal mass with a PV roof too. It is about 5-6 years old now and if she did it today I'm sure she would do it differently. She does mention what would improve the house."
The house was clad in the local stone and looked pretty well much like all the others around.
"The economics DO add up. She built a low energy house to the local vernacular (built to last 500 years) and spent no more than building an energy sucking house. Deveci in Scotland has done the same. There must be over 1000 very low energy homes now in the UK."
"Just because Wimpy is not building them doesn't mean they are not cost effective. They are."
"See ECO-House A Design Guide by Sue Roaf."
The point is that it does not cost any more to build an eco house than any other, as one poster repeated asserted, who obviously knows nothing of them, not how people perceive matters or how luddite builders view matters.
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That wasn't my point. Of course it *can*, but that is not the impression that people have.

That may well also be true. The effect is the same.

I have, and the details are not in dispute. It only came about because Sue Roaf is an eco pioneer who went out of her way big time to make it happen.
1000 eco homes in the context of several million built over the last five years is a drop in the bucket.

The builders are only going to build them if they can do so quickly and efficiently with the trades at their disposal and if they think that they will sell.
All of those things have to be in place or it won't happen.
Clearly there is not strong market demand because people either don't know, don't want or are not economically motivated. I don't exclude construction companies being conservative either.
It still comes back to the same three things though - education, economics legislation. At present, the government is clearly focussed on the third of these.
.andy
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wrote:

like
Most people have no impressions these homes are out of their experience. If Wimpey stared to build al their homes as eco and they looked much like all others, then the non-existent perceptions will disappear.

making
The car is ubiquitous, how many people have actually seen an eco house? Energy Park in Milton Keyens has people touring it in their cars to see the wonderful homes, which counters your pie in the sky claims.

than
thermal
all
be
And??????? Does that mean they do not work and they are not cost effective, which is what this is really about. If you want to know why Wimpey is not building eco's by the 100s of thousands then go and ask the these people why they are not? There is no reason whatsoever why they should not be building eco homes. The same for the car makers. Why do they persist in using outdated polluting technology when proven alternatives are around.
The only way to charge these large money making dinosaurs is to legislate. The US government in the early 1970s set emission limits which were not achievable at the time. The US car giants spent billions on fighting the government in courts while foreign VW and Bosch cracked it very easily with not much effort.

any
them,
The builders have built expensive to build homes in the Uk for the past 70 years. We are virtual alone in using cavity walls. The Germans think we are mad building two expensive walls when one can do. The British building industry is backward. John Prescott has warned them to catch up or he will make them do it. So your view that if it was feasible they would do it doesn't stand up. They never even looked into other more cost effective ways, just going along doing the same old expensive inefficient thing.

It has to be as certain industries are still in the 1930s. No government wants to legislate unnecessarily. If the private sector was delivering they could just sit back. Unfortunately the government has to intervene.
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